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Description from GGAT:
A low mound with traces of a kerb on the W side and a cist in the middle. The mound is well marked on the N side as an earthwork but less so on the other sides. It consists of a slightly raised rim and a raised centre with a more depressed area in between.
It is not possible to determine without excavation whether this is a ring cairn with internal structures, or a badly robbed ordinary cairn. The possible kerb consists of four stones (up to 0.9m across) of which the two middle ones are on the line of the outer side of the rim and therefore probably in situ; the two end stones look as though they have been displaced outwards, especially the N one. The cist is represented by a slit-like hole measuring 2.0m N-S x 0.3m, the E and W sides of which are lined by slabs; only the W side can be clearly seen, and here the lining is a single slab not quite as long as the hole.
In a clearing in forestry at the top of a hill, with a trig point on it and a radio mast immediately to its NE. A N-S path crosses the mound and has eroded slightly into it. Dimensions: Diameter 18.9m, height c0.8m max.
Lovely little Iron Age site in a forestry clearing surrounding by dense conifers giving a sense of seclusion.
The interior also includes two Bronze Age cairns.
Gwersyll is a rampart, roughly semi-circular in plan, standing on a broad ridge in enclosed, but uncultivated pasture within a forestry plantation.
It appears to be an unfinished ringwork; no trace of a marking out ditch appears on the ground but on an air photo a very slight mark completes the circuit. The diameter is about 52m and the enclosed area, if completed, would have been c0.2ha. The defences measure 11m wide by nearly 2m high overall and comprise a bank, ditch and counterscarp bank. The intended entrance was probably at the east end of the rampart where a slight bank curves round the end of the ditch. There is a causeway across the ditch on the south-east, but no corresponding gap in the bank.
Two platform cairns stand within the enclosure. They stand about 0.3m high; the centres have been dug out though no cists are visible. The larger cairn measures 11mx10m, with a displaced coverstone near the centre. It consists of an irregular oval ring of stones, c 1.2m wide. In the middle is a large stone slab, 1x1m. Outside the stones is a bank 1m wide abnd 0.2m high, which is clearly visible on all but the W side.
There was (is?) a further cairn uphill from here, to the NNE. If it still exists it's lost on the verge of a forestry track.
Carn Buarth Maen (SO0269104854)
Possible cairn, appearing as a low indistinct mound entirely covered with thick tussocks of grass; stone can be felt underneath. Edges most clearly marked at S and E; fade out on N and W. On the verge at the S of a forest ride, at the top of an E-facing slope. Dimensions: ?5.6m diameter; c 0.2m high
(1976) Now in a forestry plantation; nothing could be found (RCAHMW)
(1999) Cairn as noted on OS 6 inch 1st edition 1885 map. No visible presence; possibly destroyed by the FE or perhaps it is located within dense tree cover.
Information from the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust RHER:
It [Criccieth Castle] stands within an enclosure formed by the cliffs to the south and an earthen bank to the north which has the appearance of an Iron Age hillfort.The rocky outcrop to the northwest of the castle is called Dinas, although there's no record of any site or finds there.
An urn discovered behind the cottage of the Castle custodian might suggest an Iron Age site. The find occurred at a depth of 2.6m behind the cottage of the Criccieth Castle custodian, and it is suggested that the bank under which it lay is a remnant of an Iron Age earthwork.
Summarised from Gwynedd Archaeological Trust SMR records:
Two stone circles. One is an earthen circle to the north of the other stone circle. Crawford's opinion that there were never any stones on the circumference of the smaller circle does not agree with Pennant's description of it, and the probability is that both circles originally had short standing stones set in a bank of small loose stones, with an external surrounding ditch. They must have been robbed for building stone c.1840 when the mountainside was enclosed, and the only remains visible now are traces of banks and ditches round parts of each circle and a few rough standing stones 2-3ft high. Beaker sherds from the two circles are now in the NMW.
Pennant's description of these two stone circles in 1783 shows they must be embanked stone circles as he mentions that both had large upright stones and a stone bank. The smaller circle surrounded a shallow depression which can be regarded as a grave. Nearby was a scatter of beaker sherds in a fire pit. The "druids circle" Penmaenmawr, Caernarvonshire may be regarded as the type site for this kind of monument.
Not impressive as a field monument any more. Partially excavated by Crawford who found stone holes that represent those standing in Pennant's time. Recommended for Scheduling to protect any remaining archaeological deposits. Area of ridge and furrow to the east also noted.
The entire area has been ploughed at some point, perhaps immediately before the fields were enclosed and improved. However this C19th cultivation largely avoided the interior of the circles, indicating that these may have quite good preservation.
The larger circle appears to consist of primarily an outer ditch enclosing a slight bank that formerly incorporated a large number of stones. Results from the S side of the circle suggests that other elements are present, perhaps an inner stony bank and a second, wider, outer ditch. Both circles have suggestions of at least two phases of construction.
58m in diameter overall with a bank, where discernable, 4 -7.5 m wide which contains a few standing stones situated on a gentle west facing slope.
A very large monument which must be put in the henge class. Not in a prominent or distinctive position but on the hillslope is visible from the S and W, particularly from Carneddau Hengwm and Pen Dinas. A group of clearance stones close by at SW must be remains of the circle, these consist of about 16 large stones c. 1.2m x 1m and 6 smaller stones c. 1m x 0.8m The largest stone is about 2m x 1.2m.
The smaller circle consists of a simple ditch with possible low banks on both the inside and outside. A circle of anomalies indicates the presence of internal features, perhaps a circle of pits or stone holes.
39m in diameter with a bank 2.5m wide the remains of a ditch 1.5m wide.
Remains only as a very low grassy earthwork with only tops of 5 recumbent stones showing.
There is a possibility referred to in the GGAT SMR that Roman masonry was exposed around the well during a flood in 1799.
This suggests that the well may have been in use during prehistoric times and reused by the Romans.
It is the only known thermal spring in Wales.
One hill, two forts.
Tal y Garreg fort crowns the summit of the hill at SH57400358, while Llechlwyd cuts off the lower western promontory. Both look down on the mouth of the Dysynni river.
Tal y Garreg
This is a fortification in an exhilarating position, fronting the sea and exposed to all the winds that blow! Its date is very uncertain, and it may have been occupied at more than one period.
The defences are built on the very top of the narrow ridge. They consist of two relatively low earth and stone banks enclosing a rectangular space about 45m long and 22m wide. At the seaward end there is a much stronger point the base of a tower or small circular enclosure (10m in diameter) fronted by a rock-cut ditch now virtually filed with stone. If this stone comes from the collapse of the tower, it must have been quite high. Beyond the ditch is a curving bank with another deep rock-cut ditch beyond. This ditch is now right at the edge of the quarry take care! The ring of concrete pegs on the tower once anchored a shipping signal. (Extract from G. Smith: A Visitor Guide to the Main Iron Age Hillforts of Meirionnydd (2009)).
Llechlwyd promontory fort
A promontory fort enclosing 1.5 acres, situated on a spur of land projecting SW from Tal y Garreg Mountain. The artificial defences comprise an inner and outer bank, 3.6m and 3.2m high respectively with an outer ditch now only 0.8m deep, constructed across the neck of a steep sided promontory. The outer bank and ditch have been destroyed at their west end by a modern quarry road, which exposes a section showing that the ditch was originally 1.9m lower than the present day ground level. The large inner rampart is mainly of stone. And has an in-turned entrance at the junction of its W end with the natural defensive slope of the hill. There are no traces of any huts within the fort. Surveyed at 1: 2500.
Extensive cemetery of Bronze Age barrows on Park Head, near to an Iron Age cliff fort. In addition Mesolithic flints have been found on the headland.
Details from Cornwall & Scilly HER, north to south:
SW 8481 7157
This is the northernmost of the group of barrows on Park Head; it stands on a cliff edge looking north. It is a bowl barrow 0.9m high and 18m across with sunken top. The barrow is Scheduled and covered by grass.
SW 8478 7150
This is the second northernmost of the group of barrows on Park Head; it stands on a slope looking north. It is a bowl barrow 0.6m high. The barrow is Scheduled and is under pasture.
SW 8479 7148
This is the third northernmost of the group of barrows on Park Head; it stands on a slope facing north, very close to the barrow 21780.2. It has been almost entirely removed, leaving just a small rim about 12m across (h1). It is covered by grass.
SW 8441 7130
This is the westernmost of the group of barrows on Park Head; it stands on a clifftop looking west. It is 1.7m high and 27m across, but has been mutilated by a number of excavations in the sides. The barrow is Scheduled and is under pasture.
SW 8461 7126
This is the one of the group of barrows on Park Head; it stands 200m from the cliff tops. This barrow is in arable land but is under pasture; the plough has bitten into the sides somewhat. The remains are 0.6m high and are Scheduled.
SW 8444 7120
This is the one of the group of barrows on Park Head; it stands on a clifftop looking south-west. It is 0.7m high and 27m across, but has been mutilated by a number of eroded areas of rabbit holes. Parts of the west side have been lost to the cliff edge; otherwise the barrow is covered by grass and is Scheduled.
SW 8447 7101
This is one of the group of barrows on Park Head; it stands 50m from the cliff top. This barrow is in good order, 1.5m high and 18m across. It has been mutilated by a number of small excavations, and was recorded in 1760 as having "just been opened", although it was apparently intact in 1865. The barrow is Scheduled and now under pasture. The barrow may have been used as a beacon.
SW 8454 7084
This is the southernmost of the group of barrows on Park Head; it stands 50m from the cliff top. This barrow was rediscovered by Sheppard in 1978, from the coastal path; it is covered by gorse elsewhere. It was indicated on Thomas's survey sheet and may have been used as a beacon in the early C19.
Theories differ as to whether this was originally one large cliff fort comprising a wide promontory, two separate forts now split into three, or whether there were always three separate promontories each with its own ramparts.
Either way, there are three now, separated by Wine Cove and Pepper Cove.
From Cornwall & Scilly HER:
Winecove Point is a complex site of uncertain development consisting of three promontories each with ramparts of various construction. It is assumed to have originated as one cliff castle, subsequently in part eroded away, but it may have developed as one organisation based on the three promontories. Each part of the site is described below; there has been very little work done on this site and the only finds known are a hearth exposed in a cliff face, and at least one spindle whorl has been found here. Such finds indicate that the site was occupied, but the extent of internal activity remains quite unknown. More work is needed on this site. The site is included in the Schedule.
The northernmost promontory of the cliff castle at Winecove Point possibly is a separate cliff castle in its own right. It is defended from the mainland by a single rock-cut ditch 0.3m deep with an inner bank 0.4m high. The rampart is much eroded and silted, as is the rest of the promontory, which is exposed to the worst of the weather. The rampart is continuous but rather lower in the middle, as if for an entrance. There seem to have been no finds in the area, and no evidence for occupation of the site.
The middle of the three promontories that form the Winecove Point cliff castle is better preserved than the others, and is defended by a double ditch with narrow central entrance. A further ditch is said locally to have originated as a track for a steam engine raising marble from a wreck in the cove below. A hearth is visible in the cliff section at SW 8537 7370, on the north-west side of the eroded cliff. A spindle whorl was found in a small cave at SW 8544 7371, on the sheltered south face of the cliff. The whorl is 4.0cm across, and ornamented by incised lines (now in possession of Mrs Taylor at Whitworth). The extent of occupation is not certain. The site is much denuded.
The southern of the three promontories that form the Winecove Point cliff castle is defended by three well spaced ramparts, two of which are rock cut. Only the middle one has an accompanying bank and has a central causeway. The other two have staggered entrances towards the southern ends of the ditches. It is suggested that the inner ditch is not contemporary with the other two on account of its straightness. There are a couple of depressions within what the OS call the sole rampart that may be hut circles. There is no evidence of occupation from finds etc.
They climbed on, to the line where the green grassy slope met a grey sky. On the downward sweep of the path on the other side, Barney and Jane were crouched beside a small out-cropping of rock, identical with every other rocky scar on the hill but singled out by a neat slate marker like a label. Will came slowly down the path, his senses open and alert as the ears of a hunting dog, but he felt nothing. Glancing across, he saw the same blankness on Bran's face.
"There's a sort of carved-out circle here that's supposed to be the hoof of Arthur's horse trod - look, it's marked." Barney measured the hollow in the rock with his hand. "And another over there". He sniffed, unimpressed. "Pretty small horse."
"They are hoof-shaped, though" Jane said. Her head was down, her voice slightly husky. "I wonder what really made them?"
"Erosion," Simon said. "Water swirling around".
"With dirt rubbing," Bran said.
Jane said hesitantly, "And frost, cracking the rock."
"Or the hoof of a magic horse, coming down hard, " Barney said. He looked up at Will. "Only it wasn't, was it?"
Susan Cooper - Silver on the Tree (1977)
The OS 1:25000 shows two cairns on Mynydd y Llyn in "antiquity" script, one to the west of Llyn Barfog (the NGR for this site) and one on a rocky eminence to the northeast of the lake.
Coflein and GAT only record the western cairn, but the GAT record states "Not visited but will be. This map square seems to have been missed off the database enquiry for the desk top study and this site only found during hand checking of all the map index sheets."
On visiting, the western cairn looks like a definite Bronze Age example, but the northeastern cairn appears to be a modern marker. It would be interesting to know the background to the OS choice of script for this one.
Possibly the most westerly prehistoric site in Powys/Montgomeryshire, this very reduced cairn is alongside the beautiful Afon Llyfnant, which forms the boundary between Powys and Ceredigion. The location is very pleasant and there's a lovely waterfall close by.
A cairn 25m in dia. 0.7m high (max). Built of small packed stone. On the flood plain of Afon Llyfnant. Traditionally said to be quaker preaching mound.
Set in pasture field in valley bottom. Site entirely grass-covered, but with a few small stones visible on surface. In its present state this is not obviously a burial cairn although it appears to be associated with field name Dol y garnedd.
The site is within open access woodland managed by The Woodland Trust.
Access details and location from the management plan:
General Location: approximately 1 mile east of Crickhowell.
Approaching Crickhowell from the Abergavenny road (A40) you will see the health centre sign pointing right. Take the next turning right, Greenhill Way, where a blue car park sign is shown. The car park itself is on the first left, and this is the location of the nearest toilets.
Continuing up Greenhill Way, you pass allotments on your left and then quickly come to a mini-roundabout. Turn right and keep on this road; a little further along you will see it named as Bellfountain Road with a sign saying Llanbedr 2, Llangenny 2 ¼. This narrow lane climbs the hillside. After 0.9 miles from the car park, a wood appears on your left. You pass the entrance to Bellfountain Park (unnamed as such) on your right and as the road turns to the left, the entrance to the Woodland Trust car park is off to your left.
General Overview of Entrance and Paths
The entrance is a squeeze stile to the right of a padlocked five-bar gate.
The main paths consist of broad earth tracks with not too much ascent and should be manageable by most: paying attention to the tree roots in places. Horses are forbidden. There is an unstable veteran beech tree towards the back of the wood, around which the path has been diverted. There are two significant old stone quarries within the wood which could be dangerous should visitors stray off the established paths.
The Woodland Trust car park has room for about 4 vehicles.
Crickhowell is on X43 service running between Abergavenny and Cardiff.
CPAT lists a number of hut circles and enclosures in Cwm Crew, plus a burnt mound on the slopes of Cefn Crew above.
It's also a lovely, peaceful way to get up into the mountains without seeing a load of people.
Not shown on the OS 1/25000, this site wasn't recognised as a probable Clava cairn until the 1990s. It's on higher ground than the main Clava sites down in the Nairn valley below. Canmore has the following:
The remains of a previously unknown Clava cairn were first identified during a University of Reading fieldwalking project in 1994. While the cairn's presence had remained unknown to archaeologists, subsequent enquiries revealed a local awareness of the site.
The monument is on the S side of Strathnairn at a height of c 200m above sea level. The site was surveyed and a contour plan produced. The cairn exists as a low, almost circular mound which occupies the crest of a natural pear-shaped rise at the edge of a field.
A major diagnostic feature of the site is the ring of well-defined kerbstones which are graded in height towards the SW - a distinguishing feature of Clava cairns. A wide gap on the W side between two large and well-embedded kerbstones was possibly an entrance, and a depression in the top of the mound may represent collapsed internal features. This would concur with local beliefs that the mound once possessed a 'doorway', and it seems reasonable to suggest that Culdoich South is a passage grave. A large, partially buried stone nearby to the E may be a fallen monolith from a surrounding stone circle, although no other candidates were located in this survey.
Culdoich South is intervisible with the Leanach and Culchunaig Clava cairns across the valley, and there are wide views across Drummossie Muir to the Black Isle and the mountains beyond. It is located within 2km of the greatest concentration of Clava cairns which focus upon the Guardianship site of Balnuaran of Clava. It seems remarkable that the cairn should remain unrecognised given such close proximity to this notable concentration of monuments.
A Watson and N Clarkson 1998.
Scheduled as 'Culdoich, chambered cairn and standing stone 620m S of...'
If you like your chambered cairns obscure, this one's for you. From Canmore:
This Orkney-Cromarty, Polygonal, round chambered cairn, truncated by a field wall, has had almost all the cairn material removed - though an indefinite edge can be traced for about 30 ft. from the chamber on the S. and W.
Nine stones remain of the chamber, whose entrance was in the E, and of these 5 represent what was formerly 3 pairs of transverse slabs spaced 3-5 feet apart and probably indicating a very short passage and ante chamber.
The main chamber, once oval and about 11 ft x 7 1/2 ft, is represented by only 4 slabs 1ft 9ins. to 3 ft. high - rather taller than the transverse slabs.
In "Prehistoric Preseli - a field guide" (2001 Atelier Productions) NP Figgis mentions the missing capstone from the eastern chamber is "known to have been used for a bridge".
At the western end of the Cerrig y Gof field is a stream, and the road crosses it over a small bridge with an interesting name: Pont Heb Wybod ("bridge without knowledge"). Dyfed HER pages mention that it was recorded earlier as Pont y Wibod ("bridge of knowledge")!
Anyway, there are lots of stones next to the bank of the stream, including one large slab. Potentially of more interest though is a further slab built into the embankment next to the bridge structure. Could this have been the missing capstone?
The accident that saw the stone knocked over and broken in 2011 did at least have the effect of confirming the prehistoric origin of the stone.
From Dyfed HER:
A standing stone 2.2m high x 0.9m x 0.45m wide at its base situated on the roadside verge next to a pasture field. The stone bears an inscription and an Ordnance Survey bench mark on its east face. The inscription indicates the boundary between the parishes of Llanychlwyddog and Newport and the stone is utilised thus as a boundary marker.
In October 2011, the scheduled Bedd Morris standing stone broke and toppled over, probably having been hit by a vehicle. The upper part of the stone was subsequently removed from the site for safe keeping. A small-scale excavation in February 2012 recovered the snapped-off base of the stone, and established that the stone had probably been originally erected in the prehistoric period. Several hammer stones and stone flakes from dressing the stone were discovered in the stone socket. Two Bronze Age radiocarbon determinations from charcoal from the stone socket are strong supporting evidence for the stone having been erected in the prehistoric period and not moved until hit by the vehicle. In November 2012 the stone was repaired and reset into its original socket.
K Murphy October 2013
Immediately east of the fort is a collapsed sea cave called Pwll y Wrach (known in English as "The Witch's Cauldron").
It's a great place to see seals, although I've not been able to find any folklore associated with the name.
Coflein has some aerial shots of both the fort and the Cauldron.
There are two possible prehistoric sites on the headlands either side of Aber-west beach.
Dinas Fawr (SM812230) is a very prominent headland on the south of the cove, thought at one time to be an Iron Age cliff fort, but current opinion is that this may not be the case. Both Coflein and Dyfed HER are not convinced. The setting is ideal and very typical for a cliff fort, with a narrow neck cutting off a wider headland. However, the spine of the headland is very rocky and sharp and there is little in the way of a flat surface area anywhere, reducing the scope for occupation.
Porth-y-Bwch (SM81212336) is the smaller headland on the north side of the cove, narrow and crumbling. Coflein records:
Three curvilinear building platforms, the largest 5.0m in diameter, set upon an isolated summit area, some 20-25m across, of a cliff-girt promontory, where a shell-midden is also recorded, connected to the main by a narrow isthmus, across which a fragment of bank & ditch has been observed.
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"The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal. Always there will be the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest; always there will be the exhilaration of the summits. These are for the seeking, and those who seek and find while there is still time will be blessed both in mind and body." Alfred Wainwright