From Merthyr Tydfil take the minor road east at the A4102 / A4060 roundabout. Continue a short distance along this road (opencast workings on your left) and take the first turning on your right along a progressively poor ‘road’. If you have a 4x4 it would be possible to drive all along this ‘road’ and straight to the Cairns. If, like me, you have an ordinary car you can drive as far as the electricity pylons. Then it’s a case of walking south along the ‘road’ until you reach the Cairns.
The O/S map shows that there are many Cairns scattered either side of the road leading across Merthyr Common. There were several ‘lumps and bumps’ I saw which I suspected of being Cairns but there was only one which was definitely the real thing. This was very close to the road (on the left when walking/driving south). It was a small grass covered stone pile, approximately 0.5m high x 5m across, and dug into in the centre. Several Scottish thistles were growing in and around it.
By the time I reached the common (6.30pm) the light was starting to fade so I didn’t have a huge amount of time to go exploring but I could see no other definite Cairns.
What I could see plenty of was of course the local tradition in these parts of fly-tipping.
I have gone on more than once about this and I would love to have not brought up the subject again but it was so bad here that I have to pass comment. I have never been to a site where there was so much rubbish dumped. Along with the usual items there was a mound of tyres, worryingly a pile of asbestos sheets, old kitchen units, masonry, sofa, mattress and the back of an old BT van. Although the van was graffiti and litter strewn it was clearly a popular place to visit judging by the ladies pink thong I found discarded next to it. When I use the term lady or course it is in the loosest possible context. Ironically enough also discarded was a nice leather bound book on early earth history / dinosaurs – now wrecked of course due to the weather. The fact that the people who do this fly-tipping would throw away such a book probably says a lot more about them than I can. I really do despair of people sometimes.
Despite all this there was plenty of wild life. Scabby looking sheep (blended in nicely with the surroundings), cattle with their calves, friendly mountain ponies and several birds of prey. If it wasn’t for the rubbish and open cast mining this would actually be quite a nice place to visit. As it is I am afraid it is am embarrassing eye sore and not to be recommended.
I bet the Cairn builders could ever imagine that their special place would ever end up looking like it does today. Pity for them – shame on us.