Brecon Beacons National Park
What is it?
An ancient Roman road which winds through the Brecon Beacons, it was built to link Roman forts in North and South Wales around 2,000 years ago.
Why it is special?
It’s a remarkably well preserved section of Roman road – areas of cobbled stone are still visible – which was part of a major north-south route. The finest stretch is on a windswept hill in the Geopark and dotted along it are burial cairns and isolated standing stones.
Some of these stones are more than 13 feet high and were erected well before the Roman occupation. No-one knows whether they were Stone Age signposts or gravestones marking burial caverns.
Sarn Helen is in a peaceful but remote spot in the Western Beacons, in the section of the National Park that has been designated the Fforest Fawr Geopark. It’s part of the ancient route to Neath (Nidvm).
Tell us something we didn’t know
Lying adjacent to Sarn Helen is the Maen Madoc stone which bears an ancient inscription: “Dervacus, son of Justus. Here he lies”. It is 11 feet tall and is perfectly aligned with a bronze age standing stone two miles away, Maen Llia, the largest standing stone in the National Park and shown in the image at the top of this page.