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An ancient Welsh ‘Sunken Kingdom’ Revealed After A Storm

A storm has managed to reveal a 4,500-year-old lost kingdom in the sea. High gusts of winds have exposed an ancient forest. These trees were thought to have been inspired by legend despite no one actually coming in contact with it until now.

A Storm Reveals

The miraculous discovery occurred on the 27th of April as Storm Hannah struck Wales. Despite the devastation which resulted in felled trees, sand being gushed from beaches etc. Not everything turn out bad as the legendary “prehistoric forest which was buried under water and sand more than 4,500 years ago” was discovered says the Daily Mail. 

This legendary kingdom, which dates back to the Bronze Age , almost to the time when Stonehenge, was being constructed. Welsh legend has it that there once stood a forest by the name Alder near the village of Borth, on the shores of Cardigan Bay in central Wales. The forest was known to have stretched for up to three miles along the shore between Ynys-las and Borth” according to the Daily Mail .

When the sea level rose, the forest was unfortunately lost from civilization, buried under layers of peat, sand and saltwater for over three millennia. The fauna remained submerged but were preserved by the layers of peat.

The submerged forest has been visible for years but much more of the remains of the sunken kingdom, Centre’s Gwaelod was uncovered during a recent storm. (Badgernet / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

The Forest Rises from the Ocean

Parts of trees have been noticed by locals over the years and at exceptionally low tides, and archaeologists have been long aware of the Bronze Age forest under the surface. Some tree stumps about 1 foot high (0.3 meters) were revealed in a storm during 2014, according to Infosurhoy “but locals said they were soon mostly recovered by sand.”

Storm Hannah, which managed to blow away large amounts of sand, which revealed trunk, tree stumps and roots networks. The storm, which devastated the Welsh coastline was so strong that locals believed it tore out some of the ancient trees from the sand. This and the extremely low tides of the country allowed the prehistoric trees to emerge from Cardigan Bay.


The ancient trees were captured on camera by local photographer Wayne Lewis when strolling down the beach near Broth. Lewis who was amazed at the sight naturally ended up taking plenty of photographs. According to Infosurhoy, he is quoted as saying “the trees really are stunning.”

The reemergence of the sunken kingdom and forest was discovered by amateur photographer walking on the beach. (Badgernet / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Archeologists who have conducted excavations in the area in the past have found some items of historical importance. Fossilized footprints and tools were some of the discoveries mentioned. It is evident through these discoveries that there once was a civilization that settled and resided within the forests.

The Legend of the Sunken Kingdom

The locals claim to have known about the sunken forest for centuries. This according to the Daily Mail “led to the local legend of the mythical Sunken Kingdom of Wales, called Cantre’r Gwaelod ” in Welsh. This submerged kingdom is also popular as the Sunken Hundred or the Lowland Hundred in English.

Several versions of this legend have been passed down over the centuries. The most popular according to BBC “There was once a rich and fertile land sunk beneath the waves of Cardigan Bay. It was a very large area and it stretched for up to 20 miles (35 kilometers). The submerged land was held to be the location of powerful kingdom which had its own capital and was ruled by a powerful ruler. It also had many rich farms, churches, and strongholds.”

The deluge of the sunken kingdom, Cantre’r Gwaelod. (Jason.nlw / Public Domain )

The stories about the sunken kingdom all agree that during some mythic period it sunk beneath the waves. The land was low-lying, and it was protected against the sea by a dike or causewayand a network of sluices.

In one version of the myth, a watchman got drunk and failed to close a sluice gate and this allowed the sea to flood the kingdom. In another version of the tale, a drunken prince failed to close the gate, and this led to the realm of Cantre’r Gwaelod being lost beneath the waves. Then there is the tale of a fairy who allowed an enchanted well to overflow and this led to the kingdom becoming submerged.

There is no archaeological evidence for the existence of the kingdom of Cantre’r Gwaelod or the Sunken Hundreds. The locals are very fond of the legend and there are many stories about the submerged kingdom . One well-known tale is that the sunken bells of a church from the kingdom will ring out if the area is in danger.

Map showing position of Cardigan Bay off Wales’ west coast location of the sunken kingdom, Cantre’r Gwaelod. (Wereon / Public Domain )
Top image: Close up of the revealed ancient trees of the sunken kingdom. Credit: Stuart Herbert / Flickr

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