The road winds ever on, passing through a series of tedious gates and below the lovely-looking Waen-Bant stone. After this we turn north, descending a steeply sloping lane to park up at the end of the Llys Bradwen track. Postie knows what’s in store, but I have no idea. The map is inscrutable, merely showing “stones” in non-antiquity script. A short walk along the track brings us to a lovely clapper bridge, which could happily grace chocolate boxes the world over. Over it we go, noting the square footprint of a (presumably medieval) building next to the path. We head straight up the hill, where the wrecked remains of a very large cairn come into view.
On reaching the cairn (definitely wrecked), Postie points towards the stones. And I’m hooked instantly by the huge blob of quartz, before I even see the other stones, arranged in a ring. Sorry, arranged in a line. No, it’s a ring. And a line. I have no idea what it is. Apart from the quartz block, none of the stones are anything special in themselves. But the arrangement is so weird and inexplicable that the site is a complete winner. My own view is that the locals decided to try something different, an abstract piece, modern art. They would have invited the neighbours round, to inspect this addition to the area’s megalithic creations. “Oh yes, I can see what you’ve done there, very thought-provoking (aside: what the hell is it meant to be?)”. I’m entranced. This is the highlight for me, today.
I had wanted to come for quite a while ever since I saw Kammers pictures who by the way had provided absolutely spot on directions, looking at the map it's not really clear just where and how to get there just follow the directions.
I really wanted to add a picture of the megalithic bridge it's very pretty but presumably not ancient.
The stones are barely ten minutes from the car and well worth the little walk.Conundrum ,that just about sums Llys Bradwen up but after the glut of single standing stones in the vecinity this little mystery was most welcome, more people should come here,but not whilst I'm here.
P.S approach down the road from the north, in Arthog the lane is well tiny and very steep.
Visited 24th November 2002: This is a really enigmatic site, in a beautiful location. There are ten stones remaining, and an identifiable hole where an eleventh once stood. Even though this site is now thought to be the remains of a ring cairn, it doesn't neatly fit the bill. Six of the stones form a semi circle (this is the bit that looks like a ring cairn), and three more stand in a row (like a tail to the ring) to the east. Slightly to the north of this tail is a big quartz boulder. All in all it ends up looking like a question mark in plan, which is very appropriate!
Apparently the farmer who owns the field has reported two or more fallen stones coming to light nearby in ploughing. Also worth looking out for (difficult to miss really) are the remains of a large cairn about 20 meters to the west of the Arthog stones.
I don't get the impression that many people visit the Arthog Standing Stones, which is a shame because they're rather splendid. I'd certainly recommend a detour if you're in the area.
The walk to the Arthog Standing Stones is pleasant, but a bit convoluted. From the road (SH648138) head west through the white metal gate and along the track. Keep going to the point where a pretty little stone footbridge crosses the river. Cross here, and once over on the other side of the river keep heading east (diverging from the well trodden path to Pant-Phylip). Continue along the north bank of the river following a muddy rutted track. Where the track crosses back across the river at a ford, the footpath heads north through a gate (held shut with bailing twine). Go through this gate and follow the perimeter of the field north (this is pretty steep). The field perimeter curves around to the east (great views to the west), and if you keep going you'll arrive at the stones which are in the far corner of the field.
The only founder of a noble tribe ascribed to this county [Merionethshire] is Ednowain ap Bradwen, who flourished in the 12th century. He has sometimes been styled "Lord of Merioneth," but in the MS. published in the Cambrian Register, i. 153, which contains the best account of him extant, this is questioned, since the Welsh princes and their issue were always Lords of Merioneth; but it is conjectured that he might have held Merioneth in fee from the princes, and thus have received the title of lord of it. It is held as certain that he was possessed of all the comot of Talybont, except Nannau, and for the most part of Estumaner.
His castle, called Llys Bradwen, was situated below Dolgelley, between Cader Idris and the estuary. Not a stone of it remains at present, although the foundations can be traced.
From 'Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales' by Thomas Nicholas (1872).
It's rather nice that the RCAHMW record says "It is possible that this is an enclosed settlement such as are characteristic of the later Prehistoric, Roman and early medieval periods, albeit one of an unusual form. However it is not possible to advance any interpretation with any degree of certainty. It may be that this is the actual court of a legendary chieftain."
Frances Lynch ("A Guide To Ancient and Historic Wales - Gwynedd" 1995 HMSO) has this to say about this fabulously enigmatic monument:
The circle is probably the remains of a Bronze Age burial monument rather than a ceremonial circle, but so little remains that certainty is impossible. Four stones less than 1m high still stand on the arc of a circle 4m in diameter, and the two stones outside the arc may have been moved when the monument was incorporated into a field-wall (now largely removed). The large block of quartz on the north-east is of uncertain date.