Venta Silurum – click any image for full size
Venta Silurum, a homestead region by Tally (Tallyesin) and Kiana (kiana Jarman), takes its name from a small town which once existed in the Roman province of Britannia (Britain), the remains of which now lie in the village of Caerwent, Monmouthshire, south-east Wales. It also, in part, reflects its physical world namesake, in that it includes a number of ruins open to the public to explore, while part of the landscape pays homage to the more rugged parts of Wales.
However, a facsimile of ancient Venta Silurum this most certainly isn’t; as the About Land notes state, this region is a place for adventure and exploration – and it offers one or two unexpected surprises along the way.
An explorer’s visit commences on the west side of the region, atop a grassy plateau fronted by jumbled rocks dropping sharply to the waters below. A lighthouse stands at this small headland, while behind it are the narrow fields of a small farm, watched over by the whitewashed tower of a windmill. Caught in the spell of a forever dusk, the region inspires and immediate air of mystery, which is heightened by the distant line of ruins and a single finger of a folly standing before the eastern sky.
How one reaches these may not immediately be apparent; wooden steps offer a way down between the rocks beneath the lighthouse, and thence out across the reedy waters that cut into the land, pointing the way to a lone farmhouse to the north. However, a careful examination to the south and east, over the still waters of a flooded quarry, will reveal stone steps winding their way up the ridge on which the ruins sit, and which are reached by following the rutted track past the squeaking sails of the windmill.
Following the track will bring you, by way of a narrow gorge spanned by a covered bridge and a gated fence, to the foot of the stone steps. These in fact lead both up and down – up to the ruins, and down to a secluded southerly beach with ramshackle bar and places to sit and cuddle or lie quietly on the sand. Beside these stone stairways sits one of wood, dropping away into the heart of the region.
Climb the stone stairs and you’ll find your way through ancient walls of square-cut stone and flgstone floors to the folly, now apparently the lonely sanctum of someone interested in the sciences – or perhaps magic. Take the wooden steps and you’ll be led under rock to where more mysteries await beneath the boughs of trees, and onward and northward to where more ruins sit under the shoulder of the sheer ridge, a stone bridge spanning a channel of water, leading the way back to the small farmhouse first glimpsed from the landing point. Venta Silurum
Set beneath a marvellous windlight, filled with ambient sounds and rich in opportunities for photographs, Venta Silurum offers an intriguing and delightful visit, sure to conjure up stories about its various sights and offerings, ancient or more modern.
- Venta Silurum (Aisling Myst, rated: Moderate)