I was thinking and it came to my mind there is a problem with Rivendell and the way it is pictured on our server (yeah, WIP, I know, but still). The thing is, though, it is not really our fault; no, actually the current Rivendell might be one of the, if not the most faithful to Tolkien build of the map. The problem is actually in the lore itself, some kind of apparent contradiction: Imladris is never described as fortified in any way I can think of, nor does it look anything like that in Tolkien’s drawings; moreover, it is more than once called “the Last Homy House East of the Sea”, which does not really scream fortress.
However, Imladris have been twice besieged: the first time during the war in which Sauron destroyed Eregion and the second by the forces of Angmar. The question is thus: how did Rivendell withstand those sieges? Yes, you could simply answer “elven magic, bitch”, but it would be frankly poor thought, lazy and uncreative. Furthermore, it would go against the realism focus of ArdaCraft.
There are in my opinion two ways to solve this apparent paradox. One is to fortify it regardless but to try not make it look too much like a fortress. It’s the path chosen by the movies and, for me, they did a great job; however, in ArdaCraft’s case, I think it would ruin the amazing atmosphere of the place along with its state of almost perfect recreation of Tolkien’s drawing.
The other is to fortify the valley itself. Not necessarily in a “classical way” (walls and gates), it could be done in a more guerilla-oriented approach: put hidden, covered in lush elven shooting posts, caches at every entrance to the valley, in the cliffs along the road, in the woods, in the moors around the valley … in short, wherever you think it would make sense. Add to that the fact the map is not at 1:1 scale (in reality, Rivendell could be way smaller compared to the whole valley, and there could be hundreds of those places) and, yeah, elven magic (nothing wrong with using it, it’s a fantasy world after all, I just don’t think it is a good thing to use it as a 100 % solo logicproof wall-type answer especially in Tolkien’s universe), maybe similar to what was witnessed by Bilbo in Mirkwood, and I think you have the best and most lorewise solution possible to the problem of the Hidden Valley.
On another hand, if I can suggest some simple ideas that, I think, would look cool:
Adding at least one kiosk in the cliffs like the one visible on the freebuild version of Rivendell - I think it looks really beautiful and makes an amazing viewpoint, plus it can also be used as one of those shooting posts. Maybe this one was planned, I don’t know, but just in case.
Making this section into a bridge by slightly digging the cliff under it to the background - I think it would add more majesty to the path along with enhancing its vertiginous aspect.
Maybe adding a horse statue against the cliffs on each side of the Bruinen where it joins the Mitheithel, Argonath-style but way smaller and half covered by vegetation. It would mark the entrance to Elrond’s domain and a symbol of his and Vilya’s power over the river as well as a small nod to Gandalf’s water horses.