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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.
Information from the Clwyd Powys Archaelogical Trust HER:
The earlier settlement complex occupies the E.-facing outer slope of the cwm between 402 and 442 m above O.D., and measures 160 m (E.-W.) by 140 m (N.-S.) It comprises a group of hillslope-set scooped enclosures including hut circles and associated embankments.The setting is part of a beautiful nature reserve, below some of the most striking cliffs in the Brecon Beacons.
The most norwesterly is a pair of roughly circular hut platforms set upon a natural, boulder-strewn semi-circular rush-grown terrace to the N. of the stream which now drains the cwm. The hut embankments recognised here by the O.S. in 1976 were difficult to distinguish with confidence in 1981 and 1991. This hut group lies immediately outside, which is a subrectangular enclosure embanked by rubble walls up to 3 m wide and 0.4 m high, the longer axis aligned N.N.W.- S.S.E. (of c. 35 m by 23 m). This is bisected unequally by the stream, leaving a smaller, more incomplete enclosed area on the N. bank, whilst an internal E.-W. dividing bank makes a full enclosure of the steeply-sloping southern part, which is entered through a gap about 2 m wide about halfway down the E. side. Protruding from the S. terminal is a linear outwork curving away a few metres to the N.
From the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust HER:
Large impressive cairn measures c.16m E-W x 13m N-S. The actual height of the cairn is difficult to determine as it is sited on a natural rise or terrace on an east-facing slope above Afon Tarrell. On the north and east sides the height appears to be 2m, but on the upslope side only 1.2m. The cairn is turf-covered and in good condition, but there is a north-south scar on its summit, c. 1.7m wide x 3.5m long x 0.25m deep, which is probably the result of an old excavation trench. (CPAT 2005)
There is another substantial cairn higher up the same field, which CPAT record as a post-medieval clearance cairn (Afon Tarell W Cairn II).
The map of Penwithian round barrows in Cheryl Straffon's revised "The Earth Mysteries Guide to Ancient Sites in West Penwith" (2010) shows a coastal barrow at Roskestal.
There's nothing listed on Pastscape or the Cornwall and Scilly HER, although there have been various finds of stone tools on the cliffs here, as well as a prehistoric field system.
Three or possibly four barrows on the rocky headland of Pordenack Point. The most easterly appears to have the remains of a retaining kerb or circle. Descriptions from Pastscape:
SW 34622417 (Russell No 8)
A mutilated or gutted turf-covered mound approximately 6.5m in diameter and about 0.7m high. Its centre is hollow and a few squarish boulders and stones are evident (almost at ground level) forming a crude structure which is approximately 2.0m by 1.2m internally and about 0.3m high. Spoil from the centre has been piled up on the sides thus heightening parts of the mound. The structure is almost certainly not the remins of a lookout hut as suggested by Geary because, again, all vistas, except to the north-west, are blocked by outcropping rock. It has the appearance of a crudely excavated mound with perhaps, as suggested by Russell, the remains of a cist in the centre. If this is the case it is odd that Henderson did not note the fact and also the existence of the adjacent mound in 1917 (c.f. SW 32 SW 5).SW 34632417 (Russell No 9)
An amorphous earth and stone mound built on natural outcropping rock with three large contiguous retaining slabs on the east side. It is approximately 6.7m by 6.3m and up to 1.0m high. The largest of the three slabs is 1.1m high and has two drill holes in its outer face. It is probably a barrow but it may also be associated with the adjacent buried OS triangulation point. SW 34632418 (Russell No 7)
An extensively mutilated turf-covered mound approximately 6.0m in diameter and up to 0.6m high; two large boulders protrude through the turf. There is no evident trace of a kerb and if it is a barrow it is in a very poor SW 3468 2417
The mutilated barrow occupies a prominent cliff-top position on a heather-covered headland. Sadly the suggestion that the path be re-routed and barrow scheduled has not been taken up.
The remains of the incomplete kerb circle which measures approximately 11.0m in overall diameter comprises a total of nine exposed slabs and boulders. The largest standing slab is 0.9m high and 1.8m wide; the surviving part of the disturbed turf-covered mound averages 0.9m high.
The grave and possible small cist are as described although only the tips of the slabs protrude through the turf.
The south-west side of the mound has been completely eroded away by the coastal footpath which has cut through the kerb. The end stone of grave is now almost completely exposed and further damage will occur if the mound is not consolidated and the parth re-routed.
Published 1:2500 survey amended.
It is suggested that this barrow be scheduled.
Salakee Down Stone Circle (SV9250 1032)
Vivien and Robert Seaney, writing in Meyn Mamvro 84 (Summer 2014), refer to a book they found in the Archives at St Mary's library: "Antiquities Historical and Monumental of the County of Cornwall" (1754) by William Borlase and its reference to a lost stone circle on Salakee Down, together with a plan of the site.
Part of the circle is formed by a "Great Stone" with "13 basons" on its top. Borlase depicts the stone in an engraving and describes it as over 7 feet tall, with a girth of 40 feet. The Seaneys located this stone and next to it found a flat area of exposed rock, which they believe is the location of the lost stone circle. They commented that the smaller stones shown in Borlase's plan have disappeared, leaving only larger earthfast stones.
Full details of their findings are set out in Meyn Mamvro 84. Meyn Mamvro
Descriptions of the cairns at Pentire Point East from the National Heritage List for England:
The monument, which falls into three areas of protection, includes three round cairns situated on the coastal headland dividing Fistral Bay from Crantock Beach. The cairns are arranged in a west to east linear alignment and survive as circular stony mounds, two with retaining kerbs. The westernmost is on the tip of the headland and has an outer retaining stone kerb measuring up to11.4m in diameter; an inner cairn of up to 0.8m high; and a possible stone-lined cist to the north east defined by three large slabs of slate. A concrete platform, bench and the base of a signpost have been erected on the mound and are excluded from the monument although the ground beneath these features is included. The central cairn mound has an outer retaining kerb and measures up to 12m in diameter and 1m high. On the centre of the mound a bench has been erected, and there is the base of a signpost on the east side by the kerb. These features are also excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included. The eastern cairn mound measures up to 23m in diameter and 1.5m high.
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