The Modern Antiquarian. Ancient Sites, Stone Circles, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic Mysteries

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Carn-y-Pigwn (Round Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 11.7.14

This is a real ‘pig of a place’ to visit – an O/S map is definitely required.

Upon reaching the former mining village of Ferndale (on the A4233), I eventually found the correct minor road heading north, then east out across Cefn Gwyngul. I shortly arrived at a small parking place which is (optimistically) marked as a ‘viewing point’ on the O/S map. I decided to leave the car here and continue on foot along the road until I reached the track on the left which leads to the aerial transmitter. It is in fact possible to park at the gated entrance to this track.

Although the sign on the gate states vehicular traffic is prohibited, there was no mention of walkers/public, so in I went. My O/S map shows this as a track running through forestry so I was looking forward to a pleasant walk through the trees. Unfortunately, since the map was printed the trees have been ‘harvested’ and the area is now one of destruction. Although to be fair the whole area has been re-planted with conifer saplings, so in time it will recover.

The track is well made and fairly flat, it takes about 20 minutes to reach the end of the track where a second gate blocks the way. This information sign on this gate is a little more interesting. It warns that when the red flag is flying clay shooting is in progress and you must keep to the path. I of course wanted to go off-path and there were not one but two red flags flying! However, judging by the state of the flags it looked to me that they were left flying at all times. Also, there was no one about so I decided to take a chance and go through the gate and head off-path and up hill.

At this point I had the choice of heading up hill either to the left or right of the barbed wire fence. I chose the left side (mistake) and it was a long, difficult walk through the spiky grass. Luckily the weather had been fine recently and although the ground was spongy it was pretty dry. In wet weather it would have been a complete bog. As I rose higher it became increasingly difficult to make my way through the grass / gorse. Towards the summit I came to another barbed wire fence which I had to carefully climb over. At this point I could see the trig and I headed directly for it as the O/S map shows it has been built directly on top of the cairn.

The weather was hot and the sky blue. I was hot/bothered/sweaty by the time I arrived at my destination and was grateful to sit down with my back resting against the trig. I must have smelt a bit at this stage judging by the number of flies taking an interest in me!

As for the cairn itself, there is very little to say. A very low stony mound mostly covered in spiky grass. It is one of those places that you would walk right past if you didn’t know it was here. COFLEIN state: ‘A plough damaged cairn, 11.3m in diameter and 0.6m high, structural features have been suggested’. This short description pretty much sums the site up. The only other thing to add is the view.
To the south, the valley scarred by both old industry (mining) and new industry (wind turbines) The view to the north however is far more pleasant. There are good views out across the valleys and the distant Brecon Beacons beyond.

After eating my well earned banana it was time to head back to the car. As it was such a difficult walk up the hill I decided to walk down the hill on the other side of the fence. This proved much easier as there was a ‘path’ most of the way and I didn’t have to climb back over the barbed wire fence. Again, in wet weather, this would have been a complete nightmare as it would have been no more than a bog.

I quickly reached the proper track and headed back to the car. I then made my biggest mistake. Instead of continuing the way I came I decided to come off track and head directly through the newly planted trees to the car, which I could see far below me. At first all was fine but as I approached the car the dreaded gorse was much more in evidence and I then walked into a bog. Knee height in black, stinking water! It was too late now so I squelched my way through and, after climbing over another barbed wire fence, reached the safety of the road. It was a nightmare. I had to drive home in completely soaked, stinking boots. Just as well this was the ‘last hurrah’ for the boots as I was planning on buying a new pair before my Scottish adventures next week anyway. When I arrived home I stopped the car, took them off, and chucked them in the bin!

Why do we do what we do? Was it worth it? 50 mile round trip, 2 barbed wire fences, up to my knees in bog water and all to see – well, very little at all as it turned out. Still, I am sure I will feel a lot more upbeat when I am heading to Scotland on Saturday!

Carn-Y-Pigwn is not one to recommend, unless you are an obsessive and/or a masochist or TSC!.

Garth Hill (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Dafydd had been asking me for some time if I could one day take him to watch the sun go down. Well, the summer solstice was as good a day as any! Although feeling tired (we had been at the beach all day – Dafydd was delighted to have found a fossil amongst the rocks and a sherd of pottery during an ‘archaeological dig’ he undertook in a sand dune) we headed for Garth Hill.

Upon arriving at the small parking area we had to squeeze in as four cars were already parked up. We headed up the hill, taking the path through the high ferns, and soon arrived at the largest barrow with the trig on top. There were two groups of people sat upon the barrow and we quickly joined them. Everyone seemed happy and made up feel welcome.

There was a large cloud bank high in the sky but luckily the horizon itself was cloudless. The sun shone bright and clear. The sky starting to turn to orange as the sun sank deeper over the skyline. Dafydd was captivated as I explained how the sun rose from the east at different points throughout the year before setting again in the west. From this wonderful vantage point I also pointed out places of interest that could be seen. Cardiff, Flat Holm, Steep Holm, the English coastline – you can see for miles from up here.

It was almost like a party atmosphere as we watched the sun slowly disappear. Everyone had a smile on their face and there was lots of happy chatter. It is quite amazing how such a simple thing as watching the sun rise/set can bring so much happiness to people.
I guess it has always been this way?

The sun now gone, the sky darkening, it was time to head home.
‘Can you take me to watch the sunrise one day?’ asked Dafydd.
‘Of course’ I replied ‘It would be a pleasure’.
I can think of a lot of worse places to do this than sat atop the Garth barrows.

St. Lythans (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

A rare event – the solstice falling on the weekend and no cloudless sky forecast!

I got up out of bed at 3.45am and (fallowing a quick cuppa) was out of the house by 4.00am. Driving past Tinkinswood I noticed two cars parked so knew there were people there. Was there anyone at St Lythan’s? In a word – no.

I parked up and took the short walk from the gate towards the dolmen. The grass was heavy with dew and my boots were soon sodden. The weather was beautiful. Not a hint of a breeze, clear blue skies and no sign of the ‘wild dog’ warned about by Evergreen Dazed!

I looked all around the chamber before standing inside to watch the sun come up. The strange thing is how much warmer it felt inside the chamber compared with outside. As the weather has been so hot over the last few days it must have heated the stones up which then radiated the warmth back out when the air cooled. It really was quite noticeable the difference in temperature.

At this point I realised that the sun would be coming up from behind trees, something I hadn’t expected. I was hoping for a clear horizon. Perhaps the people at Tinkinswood knew something I didn’t? I decided to head to there instead.

I squeezed in next to the other cars and quickly made my way across the field. Two people were stood at the entrance of the chamber and a third chap was stood on top of the capstone. It looked like he had been there all night as a tent had been set up. We acknowledged each other and I stood and watched and waited. The sky was starting to brighten and I knew it wouldn’t be long before the sun came up. However, much to my dismay, the sun was going to come up right behind an electricity pylon – nightmare! This certainly wasn’t how I wanted to watch the solstice. I decided the only thing for it was to go back to ‘Plan A’ and rush back to St Lythan’s – I still had time to make it. Also, (no offence chaps) but it felt better watching on my own.

I arrived in time to watch the sun slowly rise behind the trees. The good thing is the trees filtered the brightness of the sun so I could comfortably watch it without hurting my eyes. After about 5 minutes the sun rose above the trees and it became too bright to look at. A short while later, two of the people I had seen at Tinkinswood arrived and we had a quick chat. One of them commented on how he was feeling cold. I suggested he warm up by standing inside the chamber!

Not unexpectedly, the sun did not line up with the entrance of the chamber but I wondered if it lined up with the winter solstice? If it did, there would be an unobstructed view of the sun coming up. Weather permitting, I will return to this lovely little dolmen at the winter solstice to see if it really does line up?

All in all, a good (if early) way to start the day. Now, where to watch the sunset from?

Gray Hill (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 17.6.14

This was the primary site I wanted to visit today and the main reason for having an early finish from work. After my earlier, somewhat disappointing visit to Lanmelin Woods, it was with great anticipation that I parked the car in the large car park overlooking the shimmering waters of the reservoir. The first thing I noticed was that the information board had been vandalised, one bin destroyed and the other overflowing with rubbish.
This is South Wales after all.
There was only one chap in the car park (bird watcher) and I said ‘hello’ (as you do in the countryside) as I headed up towards the bridleway opposite.
He ignored me – miserable bugger!
Unperturbed I carried on my merry way.

The track starts off being well made and not too steep but once you reach the last house, and go through the gate marked Grey Hill Common, the track becomes a path. From here the path becomes progressively narrower and steeper – although the views get better, out over the reservoir and beyond.

It is a 15 minutes walk from the car park to the top of the hill. Until reading TSCs notes I hadn't realised that the stony soil at the top was the remains of a cairn. Great location for a cairn.

I had brought my previous direction notes with me but to be honest, at this time of year with everything in full growth, I didn’t find them much use.
Perhaps these are better directions for finding the standing stone and circle?
(Note – they cannot be seen from the path along the ridge of the hill)
Once you reach the top of the path and come out onto the top of the hill, take the path to your left. Follow this path for a couple of hundred metres until you pass (what appears to be) two small quarry pits – one each side of the path. A little further along the ‘main’ path you will see a ‘minor’ path heading off to your right – down the hillside and through the ferns/bushes/trees. Take this path and it will lead you straight to the standing stone and the circle just beyond.

10 minute walk from the top of the hill / 25 minutes from the car park way down below.

Despite the new growth the stones were easy enough to see. The inside of the circle was free of ferns etc. I had forgotten that the southern edge of the ring was made up of a continuous row of stones. The rest of the circle was more fragmented.

The tall outliner is a fairly impressive stone in its own right. Between the outliner and the circle I spotted several 'suspicious' looking recumbant stones. One in particular looked very much like a fallen standing stone. The small oak tree next to the circle had a couple of clooties tied to its lower branches.

What is most impressive about this site of course is the view.
Sweeping views over the River Severn, along the coast and out over to England. Flat Holm and Steep Holm just about visible in the summer haze.

The centre of the circle was free of ferns etc and, using my t-shirt and the leaning/fallen stone as a pillow, I lay down on the cool grass and watched the clouds drift by high above me. The sun was beating down and the surrounding ferns acted as a wind break. It was very warm and I nearly fell asleep. All was well in the world. A sense of contentment came over me. All my cares (for a while at least) ebbed away.

Before long however I had to rouse myself as it was time to pick the children up from school and return to the ‘real’ world. It is important that every now and again you get the chance to visit such a site and de-stress.
It is certainly cheaper than a psychiatrist!

Llanmelin Wood Lesser Enclosure — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 17.6.14

The enclosure is in the trees next to the minor road, a short distance east of Llanmelin Hillfort.

Unfortunately there was no way into the trees to have a look as the way was blocked by a sea of head height nettles (I am not joking) and bushes.

Definitely one for a winter visit!

COFLEIN state:
‘A roughly oval enclosure, about 52m by 32m, banked, ditched and counterscarped, the circuit is not preserved on the south-east. The site lies 235m north-east of Llanmelin Wood hillfort, trenched across the defences, in 1930-32, produced Iron Age pottery from the banks, overlain by deposits containing 12th C AD material.

Llanmelin Wood (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 17.6.14

A lovely sunny day and the chance of a half-day finish from work – result!

It has been a few years since I visited this CADW site and I was eager to return.
I parked, as before, on the verge near the entrance to Coombe Farm and made my way through the trees opposite. There is a large area to park in the trees but there are CADW warning signs that state you are not allowed to park here as it is private and in use by the farm.

Out the other side of the trees and over the wooden field gate. This is where things started to get tricky. The field was full of head high crop (rape I think?) so I skirted around the edge. Unfortunately the edge of the field was choked with chest high nettles – clearly no one had been this way for quite some time. It was difficult to hack my way through the nettles - particularly when wearing shorts – and they got the better of me a couple of times. Luckily there were plenty of dock leaves about!

I eventually reached the other side of the field and crossed through the woods. This was not only a lot easier but also a very pretty walk. The sun was shinning through the tree tops and the birds were singing. Once out of the trees I arrived at the field where the hillfort resides.

This time of year is not best suited to visiting this site. The hillfort is completely covered in wild grasses which are between waist and chest height. Despite this the banks and ditches are easy to make out; the outer bank is about 3m high (from the bottom of the ditch) whilst the inner bank is about 5m high (from the bottom of the ditch). From the top of the inner ditch you can see across most of the site.

Due to the long grass I didn’t bother exploring any further as I doubt I would have been able to see much. You would think that a CADW site (the public are encouraged to visit) would be better maintained than this. Better access is certainly required and a flock of sheep would do wonders to keep the grass down. A few sign posts would help too. Without an O/S map and a knowledge that it was here you would not find this place. I have previously raised these issues with CADW – why advertise / encourage people to visit a CADW site when the average person would never be able to find / access it? Predictably, the reply I had was less than satisfactory.

Still, I would recommend a visit by TMAers but best done in the winter months when the grass / nettles / crop wouldn’t be so much of an issue. For most people I would say you would be better off visiting the hillfort at Lodge Wood.
Easier to access and a lot more to see.

Falkner's Circle (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 14.6.14

Park in the lay-by at the end of the remaining stones of the Avenue.
There is a wooden sign directing you across the road and along the edge of a cultivated field. This takes you straight to the remains of the circle – 5 minute walk.

This is another one of those sites that I have wanted to visit for some time. When visiting Avebury I usually get sucked in by the lure of the stone circle / Silbury Hill / WKLB etc but this time I was determined to visit Falkner’s Circle – or more to the point, what remains of it.

I headed down the side of the field with Sophie and Dafydd in tow. The edge of the field was a sea of nettles and as all 3 of us were in shorts we had to tread carefully. On the way both myself and Sophie got our legs stung. Dafydd was far too sensible for this to happen to him as he beat the nettles back with a stick!

We soon reached the remaining stone from the circle which is next to a hedge and an old wooden gate post. Such were the mass and height of the nettles around the stone that we could see, but not touch the stone. A winter’s visit would be easier on the legs.

It may not be much to look at but it felt good to have finally visited this site.

Whitefield Farm (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 14.6.14

From Ogbourne St George take the minor road north which runs parallel to the A345. Shortly after passing Herdswick Farm you will come to a bridleway which runs both east and west across the road. The barrow is next to the road/bridle path on the eastern side of the road.

There is plenty of room to park at the bridle path. The hedgerow is thick but access to the field can be sought via the muddy bridle path.

Unfortunately I could see nothing of a barrow – just an overgrown corner of an otherwise ploughed field. The site is marked as ‘tumulus’ on the O/S map but E.H. have nothing to report. Neither do I. Not one to bother visiting I’m afraid.

Alton Priors (Christianised Site) — Fieldnotes

Visited 14.6.14

In the village of Alton Priors. Due south of Avebury.

Ever since my previous visit, when I didn’t get to lift the trap doors to see the sarsens, I had been itching to come back At last, today was the day.

Karen stayed in the car while myself, Sophie and Dafydd walked through the wooden turnstile (yes, it’s still there!) and across the field to the church. At first I feared we had had a wasted journey as the church doors were closed but it was relief to find they were closed but not locked. Earlier in the day I had visited the church in Tockenham (to see the Roman sculpture embedded in the wall) but that church was locked – not a problem as the sculpture is on the outside. A sign on the door said that the church is open during daylight hours from May to September and access can be had via a local key holder between October and April.

Unlike my last visit, this time the church was empty. I looked to my right and saw the first of the two trap doors – it is approximately 1m x 0.5m. The organ which stood on top of the trap door last time I visited had been moved over to a small recess. The handle to lift the door was broken but I was able to put a finger in a ventilation hole and prise the door open. There below me was a stone about the same size as the trap door, broken in two, with a hole drilled into one end.

The second trap door is near the step leading to the altar. This one is the larger of the two. Approximately 1m x 1m. The little brass handle made this a lot easier to open. Upon lifting the door the whole of the space is filled by the sarsen stone. Dafydd quickly jumped down onto the stone but Sophie wasn’t keen and wanted the trap door closed. I assume she was afraid of what may come up out of it!

I picked up a leaflet issued by the Church Conservation Trust which gave a detailed history and contents of the church but strangely makes no mention of the trap doors and sarsen stones. Perhaps the church is embarrassed of its origins?

As far as I know this is the only church that has trap doors in order to be able to see the stones. Top marks to the person who was thoughtful enough to put them in when laying the floor. This is an excellent place to visit and well worth the detour when visit Avebury. From the church you get a good view of the white horse and Adam’s Grave.

I am surprised more people don’t visit intriguing place.

Falkners Circle Mounds — Fieldnotes

Visited 14.6.14

Whilst walking along the field edge to the see the remains of the stone circle I looked to my right and could (just about) make out two very low ‘bumps’ in the recently sowed field. The crop was only just sticking its head above the ground. If the crop had been any higher I would not have been able to make them out. Had I not been on so many ‘barrow hunts’ in the past (and become fairly good at spotting these minor ‘bumps’) I wouldn’t have spotted them in the first place.

I had no idea beforehand that they were there and so was feeling quite pleased that I had spotted them. Upon checking TMA I assume they are these barrows?

E.H. have this entry which could also explain what I saw:

Name: Bowl barrow 900m SSE of Green Bank
National Grid Reference: SU 10992 69202
The monument includes a bowl barrow situated 900m SSE of Green Bank at the south east end of a slight ridge, located on the north east facing slope of West Overton Down. The barrow has been reduced in height by cultivation and is only visible at ground level as a slight spread of chalk c.35m in diameter and 0.3m high. From previous records it is known that the barrow mound originally stood at least 1.2m high. Surrounding the mound is a quarry ditch from which material was obtained during its construction. This has been infilled over the years by the spreading of the mound, but will survive as a buried feature c.2m wide.

Manton Round Barrow (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Just to say that you cannot see the barrow from the ever busy A4 to the south.

I doubt if it can be seen from the minor road to the east.

There is no public access to the barrow
There is nowhere to park on the A4 for a ‘sneak’ visit. Perhaps there is from the minor road?

Lockeridge Dene (Natural Rock Feature) — Fieldnotes

Visited 14.6.14

In the village of Lockeridge – just south of the A4 – halfway between Avebury and Marlborough. Drive through the village and you will come to it.

It’s strange how your memory can play tricks on you. I remembered the erratic stones of Lockeridge Dene as being much larger and more plentiful. On this re-visit, after a number of years, I was slightly disappointed to find that my memory was indeed playing tricks. (No doubt that is why you should always have a second viewing when buying a house)

There are a couple of large stone here but most are much smaller than I remembered – and not as plentiful. At this time of year the thistles were much more prominent.

What was definitely different was that this time there was a herd of cows in the field which meant you had to be more careful where you stepped!

The cottage facing the fenced off ‘field of stones’ was as idyllic as I remembered.

Despite not quite living up to my memories, Lockeridge Dene is still a fine place to visit and you certainly won’t find the masses of visitors here that you do at Avebury.

You can park on the roadside and entrance to the field is via a wooden gate.
There is a small National Trust information sign.

Avenue stone with axe grinding marks (Carving) — Fieldnotes

Visited 14.6.14

I followed Chance's directions and before too long was at the stone in question. The strange thing is it ‘felt’ like you were walking in the ‘wrong’ direction walking away from Avebury. The Avenue ‘feels’ right when walking towards the circle/henge – make of that what you will?

As stated, the marks are on the fence-side of the stone, about 1 foot above the ground.

I spotted 3 fairly deep groove lines and possibly another 3 slight grooves.

The grooves are not that obvious unless you are looking specifically for them.

Worth looking out for if walking along the Avenue.

Avebury (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 14.6.14

As we were booked in on baby-sitting duties on Father’s Day itself, Karen suggested we go out for the day on Saturday instead. Sounded good to me.
‘What about a trip to Avebury for Father’s Day?’ suggested Karen
My reply was somewhat predictable!

I was amazed/horrified to discover that the National Trust now wanted £7.00 to park – yikes! Fortunately, as CADW members, it was free for us. The strange thing is it was free for coaches to park. How does that work?

After not paying this extortionate fee we walked along the path and headed straight for the National Trust café next to the museum. The weather was warm and fine and myself and Karen sat on the grass while the children played with the outside toys provided. Dafydd got into a debate with a woman over the rules of Connect 4 whilst Sophie ignored them both and put the discs in any order!

After finishing our drinks and ice creams we went into both museums to have a look around. There is a lot of interesting things to see and, again thanks to our CADW membership, saved even more money on entrance fees.

After this we decided to walk the full circuit of Avebury.

We soon came across a group (should that be a coven?) of ‘White Witches’. Two of the witches were hugging a stone whilst the others looked on. The head witch had a wooden pole with bells and ribbons on it. A bit further on we came across a family who were looking intently at a stone. Mum had her hands stretched out in front of the stone and was explaining to the others how she could ‘feel’ its power. Her teenage daughter looked on less than impressed!

We then came to the clootie tree; its lower branches festooned with ribbons and cloth and messages and trinkets. You certainly see some sights at Avebury! I guess that is one of the reasons it is such a special place?

After completing our circuit we went to the Red Lion for a meal. As the weather was so nice we sat outside. It was nice to be able to sit and drink and chat whilst looking over at some of the mighty standing stones.

A quick visit to the Henge Shop and it was then time to walk the Avenue.

Yes, Avebury is indeed a special place.

Pentre Ifan (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Visited 8.6.14

Although I know some people have had trouble finding the mighty Pentre Ifan I found it easy enough. I did have my O/S map with me but it wasn’t needed as the site is signposted all the way from the A487.

Dafydd had recently made a model of Pentre Ifan for school and I was keen for him to visit the site in person. This was something that he was also eager to do. Karen stayed in the car with Sophie who was sound asleep after playing on the beach.

Even though I had been here before it was with a sense of excitement that I walked from the parking area, along the path, towards the dolmen.

It was whilst walking along the path that I noticed how many large stones there are scattered about. This was something I hadn’t paid much attention to on my previous visit although I am a bit more experienced in these things now so I guess I am more likely to take notice of such things.

What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this site? It is quite exceptional.
It was just as I remembered it. In saying that this is one of those places that you are never likely to forget visiting!

Dafydd was also impressed. I took photos of him stood in front of the stones. Something he can take to school to show his teacher and later keep next to his model which takes pride of place in his bedroom!

Pentre Ifan is one of the outstanding prehistoric site in Wales and should be on everyone’s ‘must do’ list. If you are planning a trip ‘way out west’ make sure to also visit nearby Castell Henllys – it makes for a good day out.

St Nons (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 8.4.16

Dafydd has been doing a bit about St David in school so I thought (while in the area) it would be a good idea to show him where (allegedly) St David was born.

If you have never been to St Non’s it is a pretty place with dramatic coastal views.

I don’t think the people staying in the religious retreat were getting much peace with Sophie bellowing away with her usual gusto!

Whilst visiting the well and chapel remains it gave me the chance to have a look at the four standing stones in the field. The one nearest the bank I missed last time I visited as I wasn’t aware it was there. They are not very big but are there nonetheless.

I didn’t get chance to have a look at the stones in the higher field this time.

If you are in St David’s this is well worth the extra short drive to visit.

Bickney Beacon (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

A short distance east of the Llanrhian standing stone, along a minor road

Not much to see here, just an overgrown mound right next to the hedge/road.

The road is very narrow although you can stop at the open field entrance.

The field was in crop but in the middle of the field I could see a large stone/boulder.
Don’t know if this is relevant to anything?

COFLEIN state:
A ploughed down mound crossed by a hedge bank, 24m in diameter and 0.5m high. When opened by Fenton (19th C) revealed a large cist sealed by a capstone 2.6m long, containing a holed ‘axe-hammer’ and traces of a possible inhumation.

Llanrhian (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 8.6.14

From St David’s take the A487 north-east. When you reach Croes-goch take the turning north for Llanrhian. Park at the church. To the left of the church is a farm and minor road.
The standing stone is easily seen at the back of the farm, next to the road.

As I approached the stone two farmers were busy ‘encouraging’ a herd of cows across the road and into the farm for milking. They both looked over but ignored me.
I assume the patch of open ground the stone stands on is theirs but it is not being used for anything as far as I could tell.

This is a fine stone, over head height with a pointy top.
One side of the stone was covered in moss.
In the distance coastal views could be seen.

This is a really easy stone to access (just drive up the road if you don’t even want to get out of your car!) and is well worth seeking out if you happen to be in the St David’s area.

Castles (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 8.6.14

Had a quick look on the way to Pentre Ifan.

You can see what is left of the barrow from over the hedge; at the top of the bank next to the road. It has now been reduced to a very minor ‘bump’ in the field.

Don’t bother going out of your way to see this.

COFLEIN state:
A ploughed-down but otherwise undisturbed barrow, 26m in diameter and 1.2m high (not now it isn’t!). Said to have been strewn with quartz in 1964.

St Govan's Well and Chapel (Sacred Well) — Fieldnotes

Visited 7.6.14

When in this part of Pembrokeshire a visit to St Govan’s well and Chapel is a must.

The last time I came here Dafydd was a baby and Sophie not even a twinkle in the eye. Karen had visited here years before me.
Where does the time go?

This time all four of us headed down the steep stone steps from the car park to the chapel. Sophie didn’t like the inside as it was too dark for her and she was a little frightened – not like her. The little well was dry.

We walked out the other side and were at the top of the rock strewn beach. I had a quick look at the tiny stone cell and scrambled down to the rocky shoreline. The waves were crashing in and I made my way towards the arch in the cliffs on the right. It was a surreal experience standing near one side of the arch and watching the water hurtling towards me from the other side – before quickly moving out of the way!

The sky was blue overhead and the gulls were shrieking from their nests, high up on the cliff face. Dafydd was happily throwing stones into the water whilst Sophie and Karen watched from higher up the beach.

St Govan’s is a special, unique place. It is one of those sites that everyone should visit at least once in their life. Once visited, never forgotten.

Penlan Stones (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

A view from the road 8.6.14

On our way home after visiting Pentre Ifan we opted to travel along the B4329 through the lovely Preseli national Park. This gave me the opportunity to have a quick for the Penlan standing stones along the way.

The minor road running past the stones is very narrow with no parking or passing places. As is common in this part of the world the banks either side of the road are very high, with a hedge running along the top. I have often wondered why the hedgerows are like this in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.

The two stones next to each other on the northern side of the road are the easiest to spot, although you have to climb to the top of the bank to see them. There is no public access to the stones so a ‘sneak’ visit would be in order if you wanted a closer look. Something I didn’t have time to do. As far as I could tell the feeding trough is no longer between the stones.

Continuing a short distance along the road I (eventually) spotted the solo stone on the opposite side of the road. Again, you have to climb up the bank and it is trickier to see as it is next to a hedgerow. At first I couldn’t see it but the sun came out and it became more pronounced, previously it blended into the hedge. Again, there is no public access to the stone.

The stones are certainly worth looking out for if you are in the area but you will need to be able to climb the bank to see them. There are good views out along the valley to the south-east.

St Elvis (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Visited 8.6.14

When you see the sign for St Elvis Farm on the A487 turn down the track to the parking area. From here it is only a 15 minute walk to the burial chambers.

I had wanted to visit this site for a long time (it was ‘always on my mind’) and as I was in Pembrokeshire I knew that it was ‘now or never’.

Karen wasn’t interested (she can be a ‘hard headed woman’ at times) so she waited in the car whilst myself, Dafydd and Sophie headed towards the dolmen which was ‘way down’ the farm track. Despite previous reports the track was dry and free of mud so my ‘blue suede shoes’ didn’t get dirty.

In the distance we could hear a dog barking which left them ‘all shook up’.
I reassured them that it was only an old ‘hound dog’.

Dafydd complained that Sophie was making too much noise and wanted ‘a little less conversation’ but I explained to him that ‘she’s not you’.

On the way we saw a dead young fox which (unsurprisingly) the children took great interest in. Doing what children do they started to poke the poor animal with a stick. I told them to stop and ‘don’t be cruel’.

We arrived at the burial chambers and entered through the wooden gate.
From the outside the wooden fencing made it look like a ‘jailhouse rock’.

A couple of farm workers looked at us with ‘suspicious minds’ and this caused us to do some ‘rubberneckin’ but nothing was said. After all, there is a public right of way.


Seriously, this is a great place to visit.
The two capstones are quite large. One was covered in a dark green/black moss whilst the other had a foxglove and a small pretty purple plant growing on its surface. There are quite a few large stones scattered around in the vicinity.
I wonder how many/if any originally came from the dolmen?

If you are heading towards St David’s this is well worth stopping off to see

Thank you very much…………………………..!

Twlc y Filiast (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Visited 7.6.14

A weekend away in Pembroke – hurrah!

On the way I just had to show the children this wonderful site.
This is one of those places that you know you will return to again and again.

We parked as before and before long we were heading down the path towards the burial chamber. Since my last visit the path had become quite overgrown in places and the nettles were winning the battle with my bare legs!

I lifted the children over the fence and we soon at this magical place.
If there are such things as magical places – this is one of them.
Particularly on the weekend when the quarry is closed and all that can be heard is birdsong and running water.

The babbling water of the stream, the boulders and trees heavily laden in a matting of green moss. And of course the wonderful burial chamber itself. It was damp here today; judging by the amount of moss around I imagine this is the norm.

I could go on and on about this place but I won’t.
All I will say is if at all possible please try to visit.
You won’t be disappointed.
Even little Sophie (not renowned for her prehistoric interests) asked ‘can we come back again one day?’
What better endorsement could you wish for?

Corston Beacon (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 7.6.14

From the nearby Dry Barrows continue about 1 mile west along the B4320.
The barrow is near a building on the left (southern) side of the road.

There is room to pull in at the field gate and from here you can see the barrow.
It is now little more than a ‘bump’ in the field.

COFLEIN state:
A barrow, 28m in diameter and 1m high, opened in 1927 revealing a large ‘sub megalithic’ cist set into the old ground surface, containing an extended skeleton accompanied by a bronze knife/dagger’.

Wallaston (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

Visited 7.6.14

From Corston Beacon barrow continue for about ½ mile west along the B4320.
Take the first turning on the right (north) and the barrows are in the field on your right.

There is room to pull in at the field gate and from here you can see the barrows.
Of the four barrows shown on the map only one remains of any significance.
The other three are minor ‘bumps’ in the field.

COFLEIN stste:
‘A barrow, 35m in diameter and 1.7m high in 1975. (More like 1m high now) One of a group of four’

Dry Burrows (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Miscellaneous

‘Drive by’ 7.6.14

From Pembroke take the B4320 west. Shortly after passing through Hundleton, where the road takes a sharp turn to the right, you will see the barrows.

I had planned to stop and have a proper look at the barrows but my request was declined as Karen exclaimed ‘I can’t, I have a car up my arse!’
Now, I am sure this is uncomfortable so I had to settle for a ‘drive by’.

The barrow most obvious is the one closest to the road.
It is seen as a large grass covered mound.

One for next time, when Karen is sitting more comfortably……

Bowett Wood Camp (Enclosure) — Fieldnotes

Visited 7.6.14

From Pembroke take the B4320 west. After about 1 mile the road goes through a wood. On the left hand side is an entrance track to a disused quarry – park here. Walk up the muddy track and then head up the short but steep rise to your right. Be careful not to get too close to the edge of the quarry – it’s a long way down!

The defended enclosure (O/S has it marked as a fort) is at the top, as you would expect. The walk is steep but pleasant through the trees. Judging by the number of paths through the trees and the rope swings this is clearly a place where children play – although I had the place to myself today. I even found a home made bow and arrow, I remember making those when I was a nipper!

Of more concern was a spent shotgun cartridge I saw lying on the ground. Probably left by the same people who left several beer cans at the bottom of the slope. Still, this is South Wales and it seems compulsory to leave litter left to spoil things.

There is a bank/ditch on the southern and western sides, well over head height when stood in the ditch. They are not too easy to access/view due to the overgrown nature of the site. Nothing in the way of views due to the trees.

Not a great site by any means but the woods are pretty and if you happen to be in Pembroke and looking for something to do there are worse places to visit.

COFLEIN state:
‘A sub-rectangular enclosure, 60m by 48m, set on the N end of a spur, defined by steep natural scarps to the NW and NE, and elsewhere by a bank and ditch. 150m to the NW, across a minor stream valley, is the larger Quoits Wood enclosure’

Devil's Quoit (Burial Chamber) — Fieldnotes

Visited 7.6.14

From Pembroke take the B4320 west. The burial chamber can be seen in the middle of a field to your left just before the road takes a sharp turn south towards Castlemartin.

As Kammer has said, there is no public access to the chamber and it is two fields over. I couldn’t see the unfriendly message or barbed wire on the field gate but you are sure to be seen if planning a ‘sneak’ visit.

Best bet is to either ask for permission (from whom I don’t know) or do what I did and have a look from the road. Even without the aid of binoculars the fallen/slanting capstone was easy enough to see.

Worth a look when in the area.

Groddwr Bank (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.5.14

See notes for the Rhiw Porthnant barrows. A short distance further north along the minor road. The barrow is on the right hand side.

This is an area of open moorland and you can park pretty much where you like on the verge. The barrow is only a short distance from the road.

COFLEIN state:
A barrow, 12.5m in diameter and 0.9m high

Windy Hall (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.5.14

See notes for the Rhiw Porthnant barrows. A short distance further north along the minor road. The barrow is on the right hand side.

This is an area of open moorland and you can park pretty much where you like on the verge. The barrow is only a short distance from the road.

COFLEIN state:
A barrow, 21.3m in diameter and 1.2m high

Rhiw Porthnant (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.5.14

From Llandrindod Wells take the A483 north. When you reach Llanbadarn Fynydd come off the A483 and take the minor road north towards the B4355 and Dolfor. The 3 barrows are next to a crossroads of minor roads just before you reach the B4355.

The most southern of the barrows (on the right hand side if the road) has the peculiar name of ‘Dicky’s Stool’. Who Dicky was and why he needs a stool I don’t know?
There is a public footpath which takes you to the barrow but it is very, very muddy. The top of the grass covered barrow is flattened. The barrow is easily seen from the road.

COFLEIN state:
22m in diameter and 1.4m high, disturbed to the south.

The other two barrows are next to each other on the opposite side of the road. Both are grass covered mound and had sheep/lambs on top. There is no public access to the barrows but, again, they are easily seen from the road.

COFLEIN state:
16.5m in diameter and 1.3m high / 17m in diameter and 1m high

This is a very rural location and I liked it here. It is only a short distance off the busy A483 but you could be a million miles away from it. I doubt there is much traffic along this road. Worth the minor detour if you happen to be in the area.

The Rossett (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.5.14

Near the road on the northern side of Brompton Hall at the A489 / B4385 junction. It is to the right of the B4385 when driving north.

There is a handy field gate from which you can see the barrow.

It is a low grass mound next to a field hedge. It is approximately 0.5m high x 15m across.

Not worth going out of your way for.

*** Thanks to TSC for putting me right! ***

Brynar and Riddle (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.5.14

From Newtown take the A489 east. When you reach the village of Kerry take the minor road north at the church. The barrows are immediately on the right hand side. There is easy access via a field gate. A public footpath goes right past the barrows.

These are two very large grass covered barrows. I am surprised they have not been reported on before?
I wonder where they get their strange name from?

The barrows are also very prominent from the main A489.

These are a very impressive pair of barrows and well worth seeking out when in the area.

COFLEIN state:
A pair of Bronze Age round barrows.
Barrow 1 = 50m x 40m x 3.6m high
Barrow 2 = 50m x 40m x 2m high

Hundred House Common (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.5.14

From Builth Wells take the A481 east. When you reach the village of Hundred House you will see a pub on your left. Opposite the pub there is a small public footpath sign and a metal gate. Go through the gate, across the field and through a second gate. The barrow is now visible to the right.

The centre of the barrow has been scooped out and it has a large hawthorn tree growing out of the top of it.

COFLEIN state:
A barrow, 22m in diameter and 1.7m high, opened in 1875, revealing disturbed urn fragments and burnt bone.

A second barrow lies next to the minor road running north of the pub but the land is rough, open moorland and I was unable to spot the barrow.

COFLEIN state:
A mound, 7m in diameter and 0.3m high, possible the barrow recorded to have produced 2 urns before 1905.

Glascwm Mill Cottages (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.5.14

From Builth Wells take the A481 east. When you reach the village of Hundred House you will see a pub on your left. Just past the pub (on the same side of the road) you will see the barrow in a field. There is no public right of way to the barrow.

The barrow is visible from the road as a grass covered mound.

COFLEIN state:
A mound, 21m in diameter and 0.9m high, thought to be levelled in 1835, revealing, a stone kerb, a circular arrangement of 8 pits and a central cist ‘resembling an oven’, containing 9 urns.

Llanfihangel Nant Melan (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.5.14

From Builth Wells take the A481 north-east. When you come to the junction with the A44 turn right towards Radnor. You will shortly come to the hamlet of Llanfihangel Nant Melan. On the left hand side of the road (north) before you reach the church and pub is the barrow.

The barrow is no more than a small grass ‘bump’ on top of a conical grass mound.
Not one to go out of your way for.

COFLEIN state:
A mound, 9m in diameter and 0.5m high, set upon a knoll.

Church of St Michael (Christianised Site) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.5.14

From Builth Wells take the A481 north-east. When you come to the junction with the A44 turn right towards Radnor. You will shortly come to the hamlet of Llanfihangel Nant Melan.
The church is on your left, next to a pub with a large car park.

I saw this entry for the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust:
The 20th-century Radnorshire historian, WH Howse, claimed a round barrow in the churchyard and commented on the tradition that a stone circle surrounded the latter. If correct this would be a remarkable and exciting coincidence. These identifications have, however, not been confirmed by later writers, and some consider them to me no more than mis-sitings! Nevertheless, the church surmounts a prominent platform which may have coloured Howse’s view, while the stone circle tradition has been confirmed by a householder in New Radnor who mentioned two stones in the churchyard and a third in the adjacent inn car park. The tradition remains to be verified.

I also found another reference to ‘an ancient stone embedded in the hollow trunk of one of the yews’.

I am very fond of ‘church sites’ so just had to visit this one.
You can park in the pub car park and you are soon in the churchyard.

It had been a long day and Sophie was playing up. Karen was tired and the light was starting to fade. In all honesty I didn’t have as long as I would have liked to have had a good rummage around.

The church was locked (not surprising given the time of day) so myself, Dafydd and Sophie walked around the outside of the church.
The churchyard is quite small.

The tall, old yew trees were unmissible although I didn’t spot any stones sticking out of any of them! Neither could I spot any obvious standing stones amongst the headstones or a stone in the car park. There didn’t appear to be any suspicious stones used in either the construction of the church of the boundary wall.

The church has been clearly built upon a raised and levelled platform.

In saying all that I was rushing and it is entirely possible I missed something.

This is a place I will definitely re-visit for a proper look when I am in the area.

One for the ‘disputed category’ section me thinks.

Dolebury Warren Hillfort — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.5.14

From the village of Churchill take the A38 south. After about 1km you will see some houses on your left and a bridleway sign. You can access the Hillfort from here. Alternatively, continue south along the A38 and take the first turning on the left (east). There is a small passing place on this minor road where you can park. A public footpath is signposted which runs along the base of Dolebury Warren.

I wasn’t planning on visiting this site but as we were passing the place on the way home and, despite the grey skies, it was still dry, I thought to myself ‘Why not?’

In hindsight what I should have done is approached the hillfort from the bridleway to the west. However, (as I wasn’t planning on a visit) I hadn’t brought my notes with me so approached via the minor road to the south – big mistake!

Karen sat in the car while myself, Dafydd and Sophie too the muddy path down through the trees. Sophie complained bitterly about the ‘stink’ of the wild garlic! At the bottom of the valley we crossed a small stream thanks to a wooden bridge and continued along the path. After a bit, in my infinite wisdom, I decided it was time to head uphill to the hillfort. I was hoping to have encountered a path up to the site (not realising that the footpath to the hillfort runs east-west not north-south).

We came off the path, through some trees and over a barbed wire fence. We were then confronted by a very steep, very high hillside. I had severe doubts that I would be able to get up there with two children in tow – all three of us in wellies! I took the children by the hand and we very slowly made our way up. It took a long time to get to the top and had I known how difficult it was I would never have attempted coming this way. They certainly knew how to pick a place to build a hillfort!

It was with a great deal of relief that all three of us made it to the top without major incident. Once we recovered the first thing to strike you were the all-round views. You could see for miles in all directions – in the distance even Brean Down, Steep Holm and, through the mist, the South Wales coast – home!

This is a large hillfort. A herd of cows were happily munching away in the middle of the site. Although we didn’t have time to walk all the way around we did head for the highest point. This is near the eastern entrance where there are multiple banks and ditches some of which are above head height.

Near the highest point iare the remains of a stone structure. A short section of walling comprising of a couple of layers was visible. I have no idea of the age of this. Judging by the many outcrops of stones scattered around the site there was clearly no shortage of building material.

Before long it was time to head back to the car. It had taken much longer than expected to climb up the hill and Karen was sure to be getting restless.
We all managed to get back down the hill without too many problems; except for when Dafydd fell backwards with his legs up in the air – much to Sophie’s amusment.
On the way back up the muddy path Sophie fell face down in the mud. It was now Dafydd’s turn to have a laugh!

Dolebury Hillfort is well worth the effort of visiting when in the area.

E.H. state:
The monument includes Dolebury Camp, a large univallate hillfort and associated and later earthworks, on Dolebury Warren, a carboniferous limestone ridge on the edge of the Mendip Hills, overlooking the Somerset Levels. The hillfort has a sloping sub-rectangular interior 487.5m east-west by 200m north-south. The eastern end of the fort is c.60m higher than the west and the interior contains at least four medieval pillow mounds aligned north-south and ranging from 50m to 150m in length and 0.5m high. Surrounding the enclosed area is a single rampart comprising an inner bank c.4m high and c.12m wide. This is bounded by a terrace c.5m wide on the south side of the fort where there is a scarp slope, and elsewhere by an outer ditch c.10m wide and c.1m deep with a counterscarp beyond. The main entrance to the fort is located at the western end. Additional earthworks, immediately beyond the western entrance, may be of later date and include a hollow way linking the entrance with Dolebury Bottom immediately to the west. To the north-east of the hillfort is a series of outworks visible as earthwork banks and depressions. The depressions are likely to represent rakes or quarries. Beyond them is a slight linear bank c.0.3m high and c.1m wide with an accompanying ditch c.1.2m wide and c.0.3m deep which runs north and then west for a total of c.550m. This earthwork is interpreted as an outwork of the hillfort, possibly unfinished, and encloses an area likely to contain evidence for contemporary settlement and land-use. Finds from the site demonstrate an extensive period of occupation, and include Palaeolithic flintwork, Bronze Age pottery, a bronze spearhead and Roman coins and pottery. In the post medieval period a series of pillow mounds were constructed within the fort representing a rabbit warren. It was this that gave Dolebury Warren its name.

St Lawrence Church (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.5.14

Next to the church of St Lawrence in the village of Priddy.

I can’t resist a church site so I had been wanted to visit these barrows for quite a while. There are two barrows near the church. Worth a look.

The first is 130m west of the church, next to a football pitch. It can be easily seen as a large grass covered mound from a metal field gate which gives access to the field.

E.H. state:
The barrow mound is 24m in diameter and 2m high.

The second barrow is 25m north of the church. It can be seen over the hedge at the back of the church. There was a handy compost heap to stand on! The barrow was covered in long grass and several sheep.

E.H. state:
The barrow is known as Priddy Glebe Barrow. It is 25m in diameter and 1.5m high. The barrow was partially excavated in 1894 by the Rev T Palmer, then vicar of the parish of Priddy. Finds from the site included a bronze knife, a bronze awl and some worked flints – now in Wells Museum.

Bristol Plain Farm (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.4.14

From Draycott on the A371 take the minor road north-east towards Priddy.
The barrows are to the west and east of the farm on either side of the road.

The barrows which can be seen from the road are no more than slight ‘bumps’ in the fields.

Not worth going out of your way for.

The O/S reference for the other barrows are:
ST49419 51291 ST51036 51629 ST50742 52157 ST50252 51353

Eastwater Farm (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.4.14

South-east of Priddy

Yet another grass covered mound

E.H. state:
The barrow mound is 22m in diameter and 1m high. The barrow was partially excavated by BM Skinner in 1816. Finds included a cremation burial, a flint arrowhead and charcoal fragments 0.6m from the top of the mound.

Rowberrow Farm (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.4.14

North-west of Priddy on the northern side of the B3135

There are three barrows close by each other along the northen side of the road. All three can be seen as grass covered mounds.

The most western of the three:

E.H. state:
A barrow mound 17m in diameter and 1m high. A slight central depression may mark a previous excavation although no details are known.

The two a little to the east:

E.H state:
Bowl barrow 70m northwest of Hill View. The barrow mound is 22m in diameter and c.2.5m high at its highest point. ST 52180 52320

Bowl barrow 90m northeast of Hill View. The barrow mound is 18m in diameter and c.2m high at its highest point. ST 52299 52388

Don't go out of your way.

Wellington Farm (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.5.14

1km west of the King Down Farm Barrows.
Where the road forks for the B3135/B3371.

All that can be seen is a grass covered mound.

E.H. state:
A bowl barrow located on level ground 400m southeast of Wellington Farm. It is visible as a mound 18m in diameter and 10 high. The site is thought to be that which was partially excavated by A. Shelly in 1904. Finds from the excavation included two amber beads and a flint arrowhead.

King Down Farm (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.5.14

On the B3371, at the junction south of the hamlet of Charterhouse – either side of the crossroads.

My O/S map shows five Barrows here – three west of the crossroads and two on the eastern side. You cannot see the three to the west from the road but you can see the other two.

The Barrow nearest the farm buildings is a grass covered mound.
E.H. state:
A mound 18m in diameter and 0.5m high when viewed from the south. The barrow mound has been spread by cultivation.

The Barrow a little further to the north-west of it is easy to spot and is covered in trees
E.H. state:
A mound 21m in diameter and 2.5m high. The barrow mound was planted with trees on 12.5.1937 in honour of the coronation of King George VI

Swan Inn (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.5.14

Just south of Dolebury Warren Hillfort; on a minor road west of the Swan Inn.
Park at the pub and walk along the muddy track opposite (alongside the beer garden). You will shortly come to a metal field gate on your right. From here the Barrow is easy to see in the field.

The Barrow is quite large - approximately 1.5m high x 15m across – and is well defined.

For some reason E.H. have nothing to say about the Barrow

Ashbridge Farm (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

A short distance south of Tyning’s Farm Barrow cemetery. Right next to the northern side of the minor road. Access to the field is via a metal field gate.

The barrow is now a rough grass covered mound right next to the hedge / road.
The most prominent feature is a large moss covered stone sticking out of the top.
I have no idea if this is part of the barrow construction or field clearance?

E.H. state;
A bowl barrow located on sloping ground 250m south west of Ashbridge Farm. The barrow is 20m in diameter and 1m high. The southern side of the barrow has been levelled b road construction. Encroachment on the barrow by cultivation has exposed part of the stone kerb, the largest stone of which is 2m in length. The barrow was excavated in 1966 by D.J. Tomalin. Finds included a cremation burial which was later than the construction of the monument.

Tyning's Farm (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.5.14

From the village of Shipham take the minor road east towards Charterhouse.
The Barrows are next to the road when it takes a sharp left then sharp right.
An O/S map would be useful.

There are 3 Barrows on the eastern side of the road and a single Barrow on the opposite side of the road. All are grass covered mounds.

The group of 3 Barrows are prominent and easy to see – they look in good condition.
The single Barrow opposite is ploughed down and trickier to spot. It is near a stone wall.

Worth a look when in the area.

E.H. state:

The three barrows:
The barrows form part of a dispersed round barrow cemetery. The northernmost barrow is 20m x 2.5m, the central bowl barrow is 17m x 1.75m and the southernmost bowl barrow is 20m x 1.75m. All 3 barrows were partially excavated by R.F. Read in 1924 and by H. Taylor in 1932. There were finds from all 3 barrows including cremation burials, small ceramic cups, flint arrow heads, saddle querns and a spindle whorl.

Single barrow:
A barrow mound 14m in diameter x 0.25m high. The barrow has been spread by cultivation. The barrow was partially excavated by R.F. Read in 1924. Finds included a cremation burial in a cist 1.2m long by 0.8m wide. The barrow mound was constructed with a retaining kerb of limestone blocks.

Aveline's Hole (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.5.14

From Burrington (on the A368) take the B3134 south and look out for the ‘Rock of Ages’ car park (free) which has an information board and a toilet block. This will be on your left. Directly across the road is the famous rock in question. The cave is on the same side of the road as the car park, just around the bend to the south – two minute walk.

After having a look at the ‘Rock of Ages’ and standing in the ‘cleft’ to see how much shelter it provided (not much) I walked across the road and around the bend to Aveline’s Hole. This is a delight – if you like caves of course!

The cave is large enough to walk upright in although it does angle down quite steeply and it is slippery underfoot. I was surprised by how far the cave went back. Despite not taking a torch with me there was enough light (once my eyes had adjusted) to enable me to make my way right to the back of the cave. The small chamber at the back is fenced off – presumably to stop the more curious visitor from becoming stuck!

Stood at the back of the cave and looking out towards the light at the entrance you couldn’t help but try to imagine what it was like to have stayed here all those years ago.

I don’t know why the Rev. Augustus Toplady chose the cleft in the Rock of Ages to shelter from the storm when he could have walked around the corner and sheltered in the cave instead – which would have been far more sensible.

Just think, we could have had a very different hymn to sing:
‘Cave of Ages, hole for me,
Let me hide myself in thee;’

Well worth a visit when you are in the area visiting the famous Cheddar Gorge.

Lodge Wood Camp (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 21.5.14

The weather was again beautiful; the chance of an early finish from work, four days rain forecast and booked in for DIY duties on the weekend. Time for a quick bit of ‘old stoning’ - while I can! I needed somewhere local to go and as I work in Newport it is only a short drive to the Roman stronghold of Caerleon. But it wasn’t the Roman remains I planned on visiting, rather the impressive Iron Age Hillfort of Lodge Wood.

Caerleon is a bit of a maze and operates a one-way system. Head past the Roman Museum and the Amphitheatre / car park. Continue past the post office then go left. Keep an eye out for Lodge Road and then Lodge Hill. At the top of the hill you will see a sign for Lodge Farm Church – you can park here. From the church there is a signposted footpath which leads to the hillfort, via a metal kissing gate.

As soon as you pass through the kissing gate and walk along the (in parts) muddy path you immediately become aware of the high bank on your right. This forms part of the outer defences.
The path continues and eventually leads you to the western entrance of the hillfort – and very impressive it is too!

Three sets of ditches/ramparts, getting progressively larger. When standing in the ditches they are way over head height. The inner rampart is at least 5m high, probably more in places. From here you can either follow a path which continues around the outer defences or you can enter the centre of the hillfort.

The whole site is overgrown with trees, bushes, nettles etc. I am sure that if the site was cleared it would afford extensive views over Caerleon and the surrounding countryside. As it is, due to the trees, views are extremely limited. When I last came here I was part of a small group who were tasked with helping to clear the site and using the cut branches to make shelters for small animals. The hillfort is now more overgrown than I remember it back then, which is a shame. The shelters are now long gone - judging by the number of fires I saw evidence of someone probably set fire to them! Speaking of which, several trees had been set alight in the centre of their trunks. Fortunately most had survived although at least one had come crashing down as a result. What is wrong with these people? Why do they do it? Haven’t they got anything better to do? I like trees and there are many large (and presumably old) specimens here. There are a couple of superb oaks to see.

Despite this, I sat and contemplated. The sun was filtering through the trees; the gentle breeze was swaying the last of the bluebells. Birdsong was all around. Several squirrels and blackbirds were scurrying through the leaves; a rabbit scampered along the path. All was well with the world. I sat and wondered what the inhabitants of the hillfort thought when they look down and saw the Roman army approach? What they feared when the mighty Legionary fortress was being built? How their lives would be forever changed by these unwelcome invaders?

It was now time to head home to pick the children up from school. I certainly felt a lot more relaxed following my visit to this pretty place. If you happen to be in Caerleon to visit the Roman remains and museum please make the effort to visit the hillfort. It is only a short drive and well worth the effort. This is one of the easiest to access hillforts you are ever likely to visit.

COFLEIN states:
‘This is a great Iron Age hillfort crowning a hill overlooking the Roman legionary settlement of Caerleon. It encloses an area of some 2.2ha, roughly 280m by 50-100m, and is defined by three lines of massive ramparts and ditches with entrances to the west and east. There is a smaller enclosure at the western end.
Excavation in 2000 indicated that the hillfort was established in the fifth century BC and that it continued in-use, with periods of abandonment and modification, into the later Roman period in the fourth century AD’.

Pontsticill ring cairn — Fieldnotes

Visited 17.5.14

From Merthyr Tydfil follow the brown tourist signs for Brecon Mountain Railway. Once you reach the station continue north along the road until you reach the village of Pontsticill. You will see a chapel with a phone box outside – park here. Walk up through the cul-de-sac, through the gate and onto the open moorland. The cairns are a 5 minute walk to the north east.

I was on my way home after a great days ‘old stoning’ and was feeling tired. However, it was a beautiful evening and as I was in the area I couldn’t resist a quick visit to Pontsticill.

The O/S map shows four cairns in a line running north/south and all four are fairly easy to find.

The first one you come to (and the easiest to spot) is Bryn Glas cairn III.
It consists of a low mound of grey stones – easy to see in the grass.

The next two cairns are very similar – low stony mounds with spiky grass sticking out.

The most northern cairn is the ring cairn.
This is the trickiest to spot but once you get your eye in it soon becomes apparent.

This is a pretty bleak area with the only decent view being over the valley to the east.

These cairns are easy to access and worth a quick look if you happen to be enjoying a visit to the Mountain Railway.
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I have visited both historic and prehistoric sites for a number of years but since 'discovering' this website my visits have spiralled out of control!
I am now out 'exploring' as often as possible and have been to many wonderful places I didn't even know existed before using this website.
Having visited all the CADW sites I am now trying to visit all the E.H. sites and as many H.S. sites as possible.
In trying to achieve these goals I get to travel all around the country and with it the chance to visit as many sites as possible mentioned on this fine website. I hope some of you find my contributions a little helpful?
I have certainly found the contributions made by others to be both very informative and often quite amusing!
I must also mention the lovely Karen whom without her help, encouragement and understanding I would not be able to visit half of the places I do.
I am forever grateful.

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