Cil Ifor was a fort on the summit of Cil Ifor Hill dating from no later than the 1st century BC. ‘Cil’ means ‘retreat’ in Welsh – suggesting the site may have been constructed for a defensive purpose. It was the largest hill fort on Gower, occupying around 3 hectares of land (8 acres) and providing an important focal point for Iron Age communities.
The fort is oriented north east to south west and would have had extensive views over the saltmarshes, lowlands, the Loughor estuary and Cefn Bryn. Its location, together with the three large earth banks that surrounded it (still visible today), would have provided very strong defences.
Cil Ifor was what’s known as a ‘terrace camp’. Flat terraces downhill of the fort would have been used for farming, whilst the inside of the fort contained up to three large timber buildings, where its inhabitants would take refuge when under attack. The significant size of the fort suggests that it was of great importance and would have held influence over much of Gower. As such, it almost certainly would have been site of many battles fought over its prime location.
Cil Ifor continued to be occupied throughout the Roman conquest and into the Middle Ages. This is evidenced by a Medieval track (‘holloway’) and fortifications (‘ringworks’) that were built here sometime after the 5th Century.
During the 12th century, the fort was associated with the manor of Landimore, which was in the possession of the Tuberville family. The Tuberville castle has never been located and many believe that Cil Ifor is the site of this missing castle.