The further we drop, the steeper the climb up Moel Arthur starts to look. By the time we get to the parking area between the two hills, it's clear that there will be a pretty sharp uphill to come, and so it proves. But it's the last climb of the day and the ground levels out a little before it reaches the fort. A track leads off The Path to the fort itself, at which point G/F decides to stop while I go for an explore.
This is a lovely fort, roughly circular and surrounded by multiple lines of banks and ditches in the style that characterises these Clwydian forts. Once into the fort's interior, the views open out on all sides, taking in Moel Famau to the south, Penycloddiau to the north and the extensive vale of Clwyd to the west. At its highest point (456m) the fort is higher than its northern neighbour. A quick tour of the concentric heather-clad ramparts reveals a very steep drop away to the south, making this small, compact fort a much more defensible proposition than the much larger site to the north. Unlike its neighbour though, there's no obvious water supply within the fort itself – perhaps the North Walian rain provided enough!
A woman robed in grey formerly used to frequent a spot on Moel Arthur, overlooking the Vale of Clwyd, in North Wales. Under a rock near which the grey lady was chiefly seen, treasure was concealed in an iron chest with a ring handle. People said that the place of concealment was illuminated by a supernatural light. Occasionally in the evening, or soon after dawn, men dug for this treasure; but their efforts were rewarded with fearful noise and they were driven away by thunder, lightning, and rainstorms. One man found the grey lady beckoning to him as he ascended with pickaxe and shovel. He went to her, and she gave him some peas in a pod, and whispered, "Go home." He did so, and the peas turned to gold in his pocket.
From Mary Trevelyan's 'Folk-lore and folk-stories of Wales' of 1909.
The site is also rumoured to be Queen Boudica's burial place.( J+C Bord's 'Atlas of Magical Britain')
The name of Moel Arthur (bare hill of Arthur) was recorded before the 17th century (so at least it's not a romantic fabrication of the Victorians). (mentioned in Grinsell's 'Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Britain')
Local tradition points [the encampment] out as the residence of a prince, and as a spot charmed against the spade of the antiquary.
"Whoever digs there," said an old woman in Welsh to some of the men going home from their work after a drenching wet day, "is always driven away by thunder, and lightning, and storm; you have been served like every body else who has made the attempt."
Then there is a current belief that treasure, concealed in an iron chest with a ring-handle to it, lies buried within the camp, and I was told that the place of concealment was often illuminated at night by a supernatural light; several had seen the light, and some, more fortunate than the rest, had even grasped the handle of the iron chest, when an outburst of wild tempest wrested it from their audacious hold, and blasted their aspiring hopes of wealth.
To such stories I think there are two solutions. They may have been grounded upon the fame of some celebrated chief who, while he held this spot, acquired some degree of power and renown; or they may have been fabricated by those who, having really discovered treasure here, devised them as a means of securing it to themselves; and, from stories told me when examining these Clwydian camps, I think there is reason to believe that treasure has been discovered on these hills, and made away with by those who were lucky enough to find it.
from p181-2 of 'A record of the antiquities of Wales and its marches (vol 1)' by the Cambrian Archaeological Assoc. Published 1850 and now online at Google Books.