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

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Garn Fawr (Llangynidr) (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 17.5.14

Directions:
From Tredegar take the minor road north towards Mynydd Llangynidr. You will come to the village of Trefil where the road turns into a private road for quarry traffic only. Park here. Continue (on foot) along the road until you reach the point where a side road leads to the quarry itself. Come off the road and head east for the highest point. When you reach the summit the cairn will come into view.


I didn’t know about the road being private and I had planned to drive to the point where I needed to head east across the mountain. I parked at the locked metal gate and sure enough a sign stated that the gate was locked after 5pm and on weekends. Two local boys who had also parked up and were taking their mountain bikes off the roof rack told me that it was safer to park here as sometimes they lock the gate outside of these times and cars have been known to be locked in!

I had a quick chat to the boys who said they were looking for the Chartist’s Cave. They also stated that they had been told of a path which led from the quarry track directly to the cave (and therefore near the cairn). I said I would look out for it and I did feel a little jealous as they sped off on their bikes. I plodded slowly behind.
After about 1 mile I reached the point where I originally intended to park / next to the quarry track. It came as no surprise that I couldn’t see any path and instead I trudged east through the heather towards my target.

Every time I thought I had reached the high ground, another ridge would come into view. After my exertions from the morning my poor legs were starting to ache and the cairn continued to refuse to show itself. I was beginning to despair.

At this point I climbed the slope and there, right in front of me was the large cairn of grey stones – bull’s eye! It was with some relief I sat inside the shelter/cairn and had my refreshments. While I rested three mares and their foals came close by. Two were brown and the other a dappled grey. I wonder if these were the same ones Mr G saw?

I took in the scenery and smiled as I watched the two boys I had chatted to earlier struggle through the heather towards me whilst carrying their bikes.
Perhaps visiting on foot wasn’t such a bad idea after all?
The boys had been over to the cave and upon seeing me came over to the cairn. They asked me what I knew about the site and explained as much as I knew. It was nice that two of the younger generation took such an interest – there is hope yet!

The boys asked which way I had come and when I told them they were surprised that I hadn’t taken the path they had told me about.
‘What path?’ I asked ‘I didn’t see path’.
‘It’s not easy to spot from the road’ they replied ‘but it is more obvious when you get out onto the common’.
I took their word for it.

We said our goodbyes, they headed for home and I headed for the Chartist’s Cave.
When visiting the cairn it is well worth the short walk over to the cave. It is not far but you cannot see the cave from the cairn as it is down in a hollow. The cave had an information sign on the wall and is fairly large. It looked a bit like a grotto with ferns growning down from the walls – quite pretty really. I am sure the ancients would have made use of this cave for something or other.

From here I visited the nearby smaller cairn.
COFLEIN has this cairn recorded as Llangynidr West IV -
‘The circular cairn is constructed of small easily-portable stones forming a dense pile and measures 10m by 10m and 2m high. Original cairn possibly altered to make a shelter with an entrance on the southwest side’.

On the way back to the car I spotted a group of ramblers heading the same way. I decided to follow them. To my surprise (and delight) they had found the ‘path’ which the boys had told me about and led straight to the quarry track! I was pretty knackered by the time I got back to the car – the heat and walking were taking their toll.

It was mainly due to Mr G’s field notes that prompted my visit to Mynydd Llangynidr.
I am glad I did. Not sure my legs would agree though!

Cefn Cil-Sanws (Ring Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 17.5.14

From the Coedcae’r Gwarthog cairns I headed south to the ring cairn. The stony circuit of the cairn can be seen from a fair distance so finding the cairn was straight forward.

Upon reaching the cairn the first thing you notice are the lines of stones laid out across the centre. It reminded me of the spokes on a wheel.

I sat and pondered and enjoyed the view.

I am currently reading a book by the late, great Alfred Wainwright and there is a quote in there that seemed apt at this time:

'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.'
A Wainwright

I am sure we can all relate to this.
In particular the TMA ‘mountain men’ – Mr G, Postie, TSC etc.
This is why they do what they do.
I am grateful for the few opportunities I get.

COFLEIN states:
‘A ring cairn consisting of a swath of stones around a slightly raised interior. No evidence of a cist. Approx 15m in diameter x 0.6m in height. Modern linear pattern in centre’.

Cilsanws Mountain (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 17.5.14

From Darren Fach Ring Cairn I continued south and headed for the trig point which can be seen from the ring cairn. The ground leading to the cairns was boggy, despite the fine weather, and in wet weather I imagine it would be very wet.

The weather was getting warmer; the sheep sheltering amongst the rocks and crags, out of the sun, as best they could. The air was clear and I could see for miles in all directions – the high peaks of the Beacons being particularly alluring.

I entered the walkers’ shelter built into the larger of the two cairns and discovered an empty tin of luncheon meat. I decided that this wasn’t an ‘offering’ and put it in my bag to take back to the car. I am sure the sharp edges of the tin could have caused injury.

It was so warm in the shelter, out of the wind, that I went back outside to cool down.
The views are indeed fine. The only blots on the landscape being Merthyr Tydfil and some wind turbines on the distant hills.

After a while I headed back down the steep slope towards the car. I passed a large rock outcrop which some Muppet had sprayed their name in green paint – at least it wasn’t the cairn that had been vandalised.

I ended up on a 4x4 track which led back to the point I had started my ascent. But this time it came to the gate on the right and not the gate on the left I had started from.

All in all my visit to Cilsanws Mountain had been a great success and I was very pleased that I had finally visited these cairns.
Well worth the effort if you are able to do so.

Coedcae'r Gwarthog Summit cairns (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 17.5.14

A second successive day where I get a ‘pass’ to go out ‘old stoning’ for the day – yippee!

The cairns on Cilsanws Mountain have been on my ‘hit list’ for a long time.
Every time I drove up the A470 heading towards Brecon I would think of them but I must admit the sight of the scree and rocky cliff faces would always make me think twice. It did look really steep and perhaps a little dangerous? It certainly looked a difficult place to access. However, after re-reading Postie's fieldnotes I decided today was the day to go for it!

I parked in the lay-by near Llwyn-on village, crossed the road and headed up hill over the gate on the left as recommended by Postie.
It was a hard, 20 minute slog up hill, over a couple of gates. I huffed and puffed my way to the top. As I rapidly approach the ripe old age of 50 one thing is for sure – any plans I may have to visit mountain-top sites will need to be carried out sooner rather than later!

The sun was warm on my back, the breeze helping to keep me cool. Pity I had left my water bottle in the car! As I reached the summit I sat on the grass and viewed the surroundings to get my bearings. By chance I had come out right next to the Coedcae’r Gwarthog cairns – result!

Although my O/S map showed 4 cairns along the summit I could only spot 3 of them for certain. All three are easy to spot – grass mounds with stones poking through the surface – in a line along the ridge.

Although you need to be reasonably fit and mobile to visit this site (it is a steep climb) it was far easier to access than I imagined it would be and was well worth the effort.

Carn Llechart (Ring Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 16.5.14

‘Save the best to last’ as they say – and I certainly did.

I hadn’t planned on re-visiting the mighty Carn Llechart but as I was driving past the temptation proved too much. As before I parked up near the yellow grit bin and headed across the moorland towards the stones. Despite not having visited this site for a few years I had no problem finding it. Isn’t it funny how you can return to site years later and remember exactly how to get to it and at the same time be unable to remember where you just left your ‘phone / pen / cup of tea etc!

The place is just how I remembered it. This has to be in the top 10 sites in South Wales. It is fantastic. If you have never visited please try to do so – you are in for a treat. The weather was beautiful and I happily sat down with my back against one of the stones to have my lunch. In front of me was the large cist (bigger than I remembered) and beyond that fine views into the distance. The only sound was of birdsong and the occasional bleating of lambs – bliss!

I could have stayed here all day but I knew before long I would have to start the journey home to pick the children up from school and return to the ‘normal’ world. I stayed until the last possible moment before leaving with a heavy heart.

One thing of possible concern was the tractor / 4x4 tracks running very close to the stones. Very close indeed. The other thing was the kitchen units dumped next to the stone wall alongside the track leading back to the car. Why do people go to all the effort to dump things way out here when it would be far easier to take to a council dump? Still, I suppose it wouldn’t be a South Wales site with some rubbish being dumped in/next to it. I continue to despair……………

Nant Moel (Kerbed Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 16.5.14

Directions:
From Carn Llechart continue north-west along the minor road. Continue through the crossroads and you will shortly see a tarmac track on your left leading to a farm. There is room to park here. Walk down the track and you will see a ‘path’ on your left (south). Walk along the path and at the point it crosses a stream and turns, continue walking straight up the slope. The cairn is at the top of the incline. Not visible from the path. It is only a 5 minute walk.

As you walk down the track you will see the cairn ahead of you.

Although the cairns I had visited earlier in the day had been disappointing, this more than made up for it. What a cracking cairn – small but perfectly formed!

There is a ring of stones on the outside and a stone filled cist in the middle. The site has obviously been dug into at some point in the past. What looks like the capstone is now earth fast and lies to one side – approximately 1m x 0.5m – covered in lichen.
I sat on the possible capstone to write these notes.

When visiting Carn Llechart, this is well worth the minor detour to view.

Cefn Celfi (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 16.5.14

Directions:
In the village of Rhos on the A474 halfway between Neath and Pontardawe.
Driving north into Rhos you will see the Ebenezer Chapel on your right – park here. Walk to the side the chapel and into the graveyard. In the left back corner of the graveyard there is a ‘path’ going through the trees - you come out onto the edge of a sports field and a brick built building (changing rooms?). To the right of this is a rough field of marshy ground with spiky grass. Enter this field and then cross over the barbed wire fence to the field on your left. This (also marshy) field is where you will find the standing stones hidden amongst the spiky grass.


I had to take the day off work in order to do the ‘school run’ but on the plus side this did mean I had several hours to myself to be able to do a bit of ‘old stoning’!
After the madness of dropping the children off it was with great relief that I was able to hit the road and head out into the countryside. The sun was shining, the birds were singing – bliss! My first port of call was the standing stones in Rhos.

Despite the dry weather the fields were still bogy and I imagine in wet weather it would be a ‘wellies job’. However, the weather today was glorious and it was nice to see the pretty butterflies fluttering in the long grass.

The stones are quite difficult to spot. Head for the field bank on the left and then follow it north. You will see the first stone hidden in the spiky grass on your right about 15 metres away from the bank. It is squarish in shape and covered in moss.
COFLEIN records the stone as being 0.8m by 0.5m and 0.5m high

The second stone is embedded in the other side of the bank. There is a barbed wire fence running along the top of the bank and you will need to cross over it for a proper look. This is another (very similar) squarish stone although this time is covered in pretty orange lichen. It is next to the field drainage ditch.
COFLEIN records the stone as being 0.6m by 0.45m and 0.7m high.

Before visiting the stones I was surprised that no TMAer appears to have previously paid them a visit? Following my visit it is perhaps not that surprising!

One for the keen only.

Carn Lwyd (Llanguicke) (Round Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 16.5.14

Directions:
When you reach Rhyd-Y-Fro on the A474 take the first turning on the right (just past the turning on the left you would take to visit Carn Llechart). The road is very narrow, very steep and has no passing places! The cairn is next to this road further north.


You eventually reach a house where the road is blocked by a locked gate.
The only place to park would be in the house’s parking space.

I hadn’t expected this and didn’t have time to make the long walk north to reach the cairn – which may, or may not be prehistoric in origin.

There was just enough room to do a 3 point turn and trundle back down the hill.


COFLEIN states:
‘A perplexing monument, perhaps best described as a cairn. Described in 1819 as ‘three concentric circles of flat stones’ with a cist at the centre. In 1899 as a circle of 15-22 stones, enclosing traces of an inner ring, and finally a cairn. The description of the ‘filling-up’ of the monument with large pebbles from the common, in 1819, sounds uncannily like cairn construction and it is tempting to classify this as a 19thC ritual monument. There are clear traces of robbing/excavation at the centre of the cairn’.

Bryn-chwyth (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 16.5.14

Directions:
From Carn Llechart continue north-west along the minor road. Continue through the crossroads until you see a converted church (with graveyard) on your left. The cairn is right next to the road at this point.

The cairn is no more than a very low ‘bump’.

Don’t bother.

Mynydd Gellionen (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 16.5.14

Directions:
From Pontardawe take the minor road west out onto Mynydd Gellionnen.
Follow the little brown signs for Gellionnen church. The Cairns are on top of the mountain shortly before you arrive at the church.
Look out for the very rough parking area with information board.

I parked in the parking area (trying to be as kind as possible to the suspension) and went over to look at the info board. Lots about flora and fauna but nothing of a prehistoric nature.

Immediately opposite the info board (the other side of the road) is the southern of the two cairns. It is little more than a very low, gorse covered stony mound. To be honest if you weren’t specifically looking for it you wouldn’t know it was there.
However, I was and I did! The outline of the cist can just about be made out. A small gorse bush is growing out of the centre of it. I hate gorse.

The northern cairn is back across the road, through the parking area and up the hill. The cairn is not at the summit but on the higher part of the southern slope. There is a ‘path’ leading up the hill. The cairn is to the left (west) of the ‘path’.
It was a pleasant walk up the hill in the warm sunshine. A cuckoo was doing its thing in the distance. There are good views to be had. In the far distance Mumbles Head could be seen. I bird of prey was hovering overhead. The nearby white walled church and adjacent graveyard continues the traditions of our ancestors in this place.
All in all, not a bad place to be laid to rest.

As for the cairn, it is a fairly large, low stony mound covered with rhododendrons
(better than the evil gorse I suppose!).
So spotting it is made rather easier. I wonder who planted them here? And why?

On a day like today this is quite a pretty place to come but one for the keen only I would say.

Gelli-bwch (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 16.5.14

Directions:
From Junction 42 of the M4 take the B4290 north (via the A483).
The Cairns are to the west of this road; the other side of trees, up a very steep slope.


I headed up the B4290 and thought my luck was in. Just about where I wanted to park was a large lay-by. There was also a convenient hole in the fence and I started to make my way up the steep slope. However, I didn’t get very far!

The brambles at the bottom of the slope were quite short and, even in shorts; I was able to navigate my way through them. As I ventured up the slope the brambles got bigger and were soon chest height – no chance of access this way.

I returned to the car and continued up the B4290.
However, there were no other parking places to be had and the road was surprisingly busy.

Probably the best way to visit would be via Gelli-bwch Farm to the north.

There is no public access to the Cairns and therefore permission should be sought.

Warren Hill (Enclosure) — Miscellaneous

Just to say that (due to the fencing along the motorway) you cannot see over Warren Hill from the M4. Perhaps you can get a view from the A48 immediately to the north?

Either way, not sure how you would access this site?

Wet Withens (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.4.14

The idea for an Easter break in Chesterfield was in order to knock several English Heritage sites off the list (I have now visited just over half of the 400 or so sites). Due to time constraints I hadn’t intended to visit the Wet Withens stone circle but each day I looked at the map the little blue square surrounding it called out to me. In the end it all became too much and I just had to somehow squeeze a visit in.

The chance came one evening as we were heading back to the Travelodge. Although it was still quite early (about 6.30pm) it was already starting to get dark. The sky was filled with black clouds and it was obvious a storm was on the way – confirmed by the weather forecast.

We parked at the point where the road out of Grindleford takes a sharp turn to the south towards Eyam. There is plenty of room to park here. The rest stayed in the car as I tried to work out the best way towards the site. There is a stone stile leading to a path which runs to the north-west and another path which leads north-east. I opted for the north-west which in hindsight was a mistake. The path runs parallel to a drystone wall and after walking for a bit it was obvious I was going way off course and I had to climb over the wall in order to head in an eastern direction towards the circle. It would have been better to have approached via the other path and have avoided the wall altogether.

Despite previous TMA site reports I could find no path which lead to the circle.
All I could see was a sea of knee-high heather. Luckily it had been dry for several days and the dry bracken crunched under my feet. In wet weather I am sure it would be quite bogy. With compass in hand I headed for where I thought the circle should be. I could see nothing but heather. I headed further east but again nothing.

All of a sudden a bolt of forked lightening made me jump as it struck the hilltop opposite. A loud rumble of thunder quickly followed. The sky was black and the storm was clearly heading my way. I looked around – it dawned on me that I was the highest point on this open moorland hilltop. Not the ideal place to be in a lightening storm! Time to get a move on.

To my relief not much later I spotted the tops of several stones sticking out just above the heather. In all honesty the circle was a disappointment. Perhaps it would have looked better had the heather been cleared away? The tops of some stones sticking out of a sea of heather did not seem much of a reward for the effort it took in getting to the circle. Although the views are pretty good to be fair.

The Cairn slightly north of the circle was easier to make out.
I could not spot any of the cairns shown on the map south of Wet Withens.

At this point large raindrops began to fall. Time to get back to the car.
I had been gone for over an hour and the gang were restless by the time I got back.
As we drove down into Eyam the heavens opened. We had to pull over as it was like driving in a power shower. The road turned into a stream and all was black. After about 10 minutes the cloudburst had run its course and things started to dry up.

I was glad I had made the effort to visit the stone circle but in all honesty I thought it was a lot of effort to see not much.
Why this circle appears on a ‘normal’ AA map when many other better (and more accessible) stone circles don’t, I don’t know.
I prefer the AA map to others produced as I find it clearer and easier to use. I do however wonder what criteria they use when deciding which standing stones / circles / hillforts etc to put on the map. You would expect to see the Stonehenge / Avebury type sites but Wet Withens? I would say your average holiday maker would have no chance of finding this site and even if they did, would be very disappointed with what they found.
Perhaps I will E-Mail the AA to ask them?

Park Gate Stone Circle — Fieldnotes

Visited 2.5.14

Directions:
Follow the track that skirts the edge of Hell Bank Plantation.
Where the track turns sharply to the south-west a ‘path’ continues to the north-west. Here you will find a small wooden sign pointing to Hob Hurst’s House or to Robin Hood’s House. Take the path towards Robin Hood’s House. As the path takes a slight turn to the right come off the path and head to the right (east). Although the circle can’t be seen from the path you shouldn’t have too much difficulty spotting it.


The walk only takes about 15 minutes from where you park the car.

The stone circle is actually quite circular! The circle is about 8m in diameter.
Nearly all of the stones have fallen. One is leaning at an accute angle and only one is upright. This stone is about 1m high.

In the centre of the circle are lots of large stones.
The surroundings are of bleak (in a nice way) open moorland with good views.

I liked this stone circle (much better than Wet Withens!) and would highly recommend a look when visiting the more famous nearby Hob Hurst’s House.

Despite the fact that several cars were parked up I saw no one else at either site.

Beeley Warren (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 2.5.14

Although the moor is covered in knee/waist high heather this Cairn is easy to spot for two reasons.
Firstly it is quite large and secondly it is right next to the track skirting Hell Bank Plantation. This is the track you take when visiting Hob Hurst’s House / Park Gate stone circle.

The Cairn is also covered in heather but its size gives its location away.
I did not spot any of the other nearby Cairns – although to be fair I wasn’t going out of my way to look for them!

Worth a quick look when passing when visiting the other sites

Hob Hurst's House (Burial Chamber) — Fieldnotes

Visited 2.5.14

Following the difficulty I experienced in finding the Wet Withens stone circle I approached the visit to Hob Hurst’s House with a little trepidation. As this is an E.H. site I did not want to fail to find this one! As it turned out there was no need to worry as this site is very much easier to find and to access.

Rather than make directly for Hob Hurst’s House I chose to go via the Park Gate stone circle. I would certainly recommend this route as the walk takes about the same time, has a clear ‘path’ to follow and of course takes in an extra site – two for the price of one!

As before, I suggested the children stay with Karen as I think they are still a bit young for open moorland type walks. In hindsight Dafydd would have been ok for this visit.

I walked along the track which skirts the edge of the cheerfully named Hell Bank Plantation (actually quite pleasant), passing the Beeley Warren Cairn on the way. Where the track turns sharply to the south-west a ‘path’ continues to the north-west. Here you will find a small wooden sign pointing to Hob Hurst’s House (north) or to Robin Hood’s House (north-west along the path). Is Robin Hood’s House another name for Park Gate stone circle?

I carried along the path and shortly came to the stone circle (see other fieldnotes).
From the stone circle there were tyre tracks leading north towards the trees next to Hob Hurst’s House. I followed the tyre tracks and re-joined a ‘path’ near a small wooden walkway over a burn. The path continued north running parallel to the trees, up an incline. When you get to the highest point you will see a tall white metal pole which is painted red on top. Walk to the pole and you will then see Hob Hurst’s House to your right – behind a protective fence. This is crossed via a stile.

Reading previous fieldnotes I wasn’t expecting too much from this site but (probably because my expectation levels were so low) I was pleasantly surprised. The site occupies a prominent position on a ridge affording decent views. Hob’s House isn’t very big but it is in pretty good condition. The bank/ditch has been thankfully kept free of the ever invasive heather. The edges of the site have been marked out with small concrete posts.

The information board states this site was one of the first monuments to be taken into state care in 1882. I was surprised that such a small and remote site would have been one of the first to be protected.

I sat inside the inner depression (out of the wind) to write my fieldnotes and contemplated for a while. I knew I couldn’t be too long as the others had already been waiting a long time for me. The outer ditch is about 1.5m deep and the inner depression about 0.5m deep. The inner depression is lined with stones.

I headed back the way I had come but once I reached the little wooden footbridge I took the path south back to the car instead of the path west to the stone circle.

It takes about 15 minutes to walk from the car to the stone circle and then another 15 minutes from the circle to Hob Hurst’s House. If you walked direct to Hob Hurst’s House it would take about the same time – 30 minutes each way.

I was very pleased to have knocked this E.H. site off the list as it is one of the most awkward to visit. I think Hob Hurst’s House is well worth the effort.

Cleatham Hall Farm (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Directions:
North of the village of Kirton in Lindsey – along the B1400.


We parked near the public footpath sign and I walked up the muddy track which skirts around a small lake. There is no public right of way to the Barrow but it can be seen on the opposite side of the lake from the water’s edge – a grass mound in a field.


E.H. state:
‘The barrow is 1.5m high and 45m in diameter. The barrow has twice been investigated by antiquarians. The first investigation (1867) found a layer of partially cremated bones and two urns in the centre of the mound. The second excavation (1911) found a layer of burnt earth’.

Creswell Crags (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.5.14

This was the highlight of the week for me.
I was looking forward to visiting Creswell gorge and I wasn’t disappointed.

We parked in the car park and myself and Dafydd headed for the visitor’s centre. Karen stayed in the car with Sophie who was asleep.

A sign said that there had recently been a fire and some of the exhibits had been temporarily removed. Because of this the entry fee was reduced to a bargain £2 for me and £1 for Dafydd. This caused me some alarm but I needn’t had worried as the bone engravings of the horse and ‘Pin Hole Man’ were still on display.
My face lit up as I was actually able to see these famous engravings in real life!

After spending a fair bit of time looking around the other exhibits we headed out across the meadow towards the caves. The escorted tours only run on the weekend which was disappointing but we were still able to walk around the gorge. We stopped at each information board and looked through the metal bars into the caves. Some of the smaller caves were not barred and Dafydd had great fun ‘exploring’ these little recesses.

It was the only non-sunny day of the holiday. The weather being still but foggy. This only added to the atmosphere.

This is a great place to come and I would heartily recommend a visit if you are ever in the area. I certainly plan to come back one day (on a weekend) when I can have a tour of the caves and see the cave art for myself.

Cwm Bach Enclosure (Cliff Fort) — Fieldnotes

A ‘view from afar’ 4.5.14

Directions:
East along the coastal path from Dunraven Hillfort


I would say that the creation of the coastal path around Wales is one of the best things the Welsh Government has done. It really is a great place to walk although you do have to take care as the path is often very close to the cliff edge and there is very little in the way of protective fences etc.

We passed through two kissing-gates and eventually came to a stone wall, where the path continues down through a gorge and then up to the Cwm Bach site. Dafydd had been moaning most of the way and said he was too tired to walk any further and no doubt he wanted to get onto the beach – which was fair enough. He said that I should go on alone and come back for him. Given that he is only 6 and we were on top of a cliff this was clearly not an option! I would have to admit defeat on this one.

However, on the plus side, the single grass covered curving bank of the enclosure could be clearly seen in the distance. It was difficult to determine the height of the bank from this distance but I would guess at about 1 metre.

One for another day perhaps?

On the way back we walked through the pretty Dunraven walled gardens.

Funnily enough as we reached the beach Dafydd’s legs suddenly got better and he was even able to manage a jog – spade in hand of course!

Dunraven (Cliff Fort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 4.5.14

Directions:
South of Bridgend off the B4524.
There is a large car park at the entrance to Dunraven Estate £3.00 all day.
There is also a small shop selling ice creams, tea bucket and spades etc.


It has been a few years since I was last year. I had quite forgotten what a nice beach this is – especially on a day like today. There were plenty of people about enjoying the sunshine.

I had taken Dafydd out for the day and we had earlier visited the renovated Galilee Church in Lantwit Major which now houses a fine selection of early Celtic Crosses / stones and graves – well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Although Dafydd was itching to get onto the beach I ‘persuaded’ him that a walk up the headland was required first in order to have a look at the remains of the Cliff Fort.
The double ditch/ramparts were a lot larger than I remembered and are still fairly impressive. The ditches were over head height when standing in them.

Obviously, there were good coastal views to be had.

From here we headed east along the coastal path towards the Cwm Bach Enclosure.

Beacon Hill (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.4.14

Directions:
In Gringley on the Hill – on the A631

All I could find was the underground reservoir!

E.H. has nothing to say.

Castle Hill (Ingbirchworth) (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.4.14

Directions:
From Holmfirth take the A635 east. Then take the A629 south.
The site is marked as ‘earthwork’ on the O/S map – a short distance west of High Flatts.


Called in for a look after visiting Sid’s Café in Holmfirth (you just have to!)

There is nothing to see.

Go and see Nora’s and Compo’s house instead!

Woodend Farm (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.5.14

Directions:
From Bolsover take the A632 east.
When you reach Cuckney take the A616 north.
The Barrow is easily seen from this road on the left (east) just north of the drive to Blue Barn Farm


The fields surrounding the barrow had all been ploughed but thankfully the Barrow itself is surrounded by an old wooden fence to protect it.

The barrow is covered in rough grass and scrub.

Worth a quick look when driving along this road.

E.H.state:
A Bronze Age bowl barrow situated on level ground to the north of the River Poulter. The barrow survives as a 30m diameter circular mound standing up to 1m high’.

Langwith Basset Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.5.14

Directions:
From Bolsover take the A632 east.
When you reach Langwith Junction take the loop-road south.
Park outside the Holy Cross Church and walk along the footpath to the side of the church. The cave is amongst trees in the field on the opposite side of the valley.
The footpath does not lead to the cave – you have to cross over a barbed wired locked metal field gate.


Karen and Sophie stayed in the car while myself and Dafydd headed up the muddy path. After crossing a stile we were met by a herd of cows. Sophie doesn’t like cows (bit too big for her) but fortunately Dafydd is made of sterner stuff. The cows were reluctant to move and we had to walk right through the middle of them in order to cross the small wooden ‘bridge’ over the stream. The cows proved to be friendly.

Once we reached the gate I lifted Dafydd over the barbed wire and climbed over myself. Visitors not welcome I assume?

We quickly walked over to the trees (out of sight) and immediately saw the cave.
It was much larger than I expected, approximately 3m high x 7m across. Walking inside was easy – at least it would have been had it not been for the rubble dumped inside – why do people do this?

This is a pretty spot and a visit to the cave is well worth the effort – as long as you are ok with climbing over gates with barbed wire on top!

On the way back up the path (and once more through the cows) we met a chap coming the other way.

‘Been to see the cave?’ he enquired
‘Yes’ I replied.

Clearly other people do visit this site – despite the barbed wire / padlocked gate.

The King Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.4.14

When visiting the stone circle this is an obvious ‘must-see’. Fortunately, as per the stone circle, I had the place to myself.

This was the clearest day I had visited the King Stone and the views over Long Compton were lovely.

I was looking forward to seeing the ‘wooden witch’ statue but unfortunately it has now been reduced to a pile of wood; still tied together by various bits of wire.

Despite having previously visited this site I didn’t realise (until reading the information boards) that a Bronze Age Barrow was discovered very near the stone.
I am not sure if the information boards are new or I hadn’t previously read them properly!

The Rollright Stones (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.4.14

It was Karen’s birthday.
‘Where would you like to go’ I asked?
‘The Cotswolds’ she replied.
This came as no surprise as Karen loves the Cotswolds – who doesn’t?

After spending the morning in the delightful Stow-On-The-Wold we ended up in Long Compton for a birthday lunchtime meal.

Obviously, given the close proximity of the Rollrights, a visit to the stone circle was a ‘no brainer’ as the awful American saying goes. Particularly as I had recently been reading about this site in Burl’s book – Great Stone circles.

There were several cars parked in the lay-by (no surprise) but what did surprise me was that when I reached the circle I had the place to myself! I could see in the distance that the other visitors were all at the Whispering Knights – result!

The weather was lovely and I walked around the circle in my usual anti-clockwise direction. Why I do this I do not know, but it always ‘feels’ the right way to walk?
It really was great to have the place to myself on such a nice day.

Whilst walking around the circle I noticed that many of the holes in the stones had coins placed inside them. The information board stated that some of the lichen on the stones was between 500 and 800 years old – that is something to ponder.

The only other thing to add is that there is now a locked, metal honesty box as you go through the gate to the circle. £1 for adults, 50p for children – free after dusk!

Idbury Camp (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.4.14

Directions:
From Stow-On-The-Wold take the A424 south. Take the turning left for Idbury.
The camp can be found in the field on your left at the junction.


Unlike Ginger tt I couldn’t get very enthused about this site. There is little to see other than slight undulations in the ground. The site covers a fairly large area and occupies a local high point.

Each unto their own I guess but (for me) there isn’t a lot to recommend a visit – other than the ease of access.

Wyck Beacon (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.4.14

Directions:
From the lovely village of Stow-On-The-Wold take the A424 south. Then take the minor road south towards the ‘picture postcard’ hamlet of Wyck. The Barrow is very easy to spot at the junction where you turn right towards Wyck. There is a trig point at one end of the Barrow.


You can park outside a ‘garage-type’ place next to the Barrow. The Oxfordshire Way public footpath runs right alongside the field where the Barrow lives but there is no public access t o the actual field.

The field was in crop and surrounded by a barbed wire fence. I therefore settled for a view from the footpath and this was fine as the Barrow is very close to the fence. It is large, for this part of the world, approximately 2m high x 10m across. In addition to the trig point it also has 3 large trees growing out of the top of it.

This is another easy site to visit and, like the Salperton Park Barrow, I am surprised that I am the first TMAer to write any field notes on it?

Anyway, this is a very nice Barrow to see and well worth checking out if you happen to be visiting the tourist hot-spot of Stow-On-The-Wold.

Salperton Park (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.4.14

Directions:
From Cheltenham take the A436 east and then the minor road south towards the village of Hazelton. Take the first turning right (west) and the Barrow can be found in the trees, next to the road, on your right – near the junction.


The Barrow is easy to spot in the trees and quite a large one it is too. I would say it is about 1.8m high x 10m across. It is quite overgrown with the usual bushes / brambles etc. At least there are no large trees growing out of it!

On a day like today this was a very peaceful place to be. The sky was blue, the sun shining, not a breeze and the only sound to be heard was birdsong. Some of the trees appear to be very old and the floor was carpeted with patches of bluebells. This was indeed a good place to be.

This is an easy Barrow to find / see and quite substantial for this part of the world. I would certainly recommend a visit if you happen to be in the area.

Oddly enough E.H. has nothing to say about the Barrow

The O/S map shows an enclosure opposite the Barrow but again, I can’t find anything on E.H. to say what period the enclosure is from etc.

Paviland Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter) — Fieldnotes

Visited 18.4.14

Being such an iconic site, Paviland Cave is a place I have been desperate to visit for a number of years. My ‘close but no cigar’ visit of last year had only made me even more determined to finally gain access to the cave.

The opportunity for a re-visit was both unexpected and very welcome.

It was a beautiful spring day but I had been earmarked for painting duties! Sophie was out for the day and before long Karen could see I had itchy-feet and was less than happy at the thought of being stuck inside on such a lovely day. Karen then asked if there was anywhere I fancied going for the afternoon? I checked the tide times and found that low tide on the Gower was approximately 3pm. Now was my chance.

Karen knew about my previous failed visit and also knew how much I wanted to visit the cave. By 12.30 we had all piled into the car (Owen came with us in Sophie’s absence) and we were soon on our way – I was so excited!

I was a bit concerned about the traffic we would hit on a sunny bank holiday and sure enough the first bottle-neck was at (the less than delightful) Port Talbot. Once through that we again ground to a halt in Swansea. Clearly we weren’t the only people intending to visit the Swansea area today. The shop car parks we passed were full to over flowing – haven’t people got better things to do on a beautiful bank holiday than go shopping? It seems not.

I kept checking my watch and remembered how I had misjudged the tide last time. But what can you do when stuck in a traffic jam? After what seemed like an age we got through Swansea and onto the quieter roads of the Gower itself. To be fair to Karen she drove a quickly as she could (within speed limits of course) and we eventually arrived at Pilton Green.

Myself and Owen jumped out of the car (Dafydd wanted to come with us but I didn’t think it would be safe for him - given the sharp rocks I knew we had to cross) so Karen and Dafydd drove on to the car park / café / shop in Rhossili.

We jogged through the fields and down towards the rocky gorge. With great relief I saw that the tide was still out – hurrah!

We slowly and carefully made our way across the sharp rocks down onto the flatter part of the beach. I looked back to realise that the last time I visited and sat on the rocks (and was tempted to try to wade out to the cave) the depth of water would have been way over my head – so I am glad I didn’t try it!
We walked around to the right and there it was, up in the cliff face – Paviland Cave!

From the beach the cave didn’t look as big as I was expecting and we wasted no time in clambering up the rocks to get to the cave entrance. Outside the cave the sun shone in a dark blue cloudless sky and it felt like summer. Inside the cave it was much cooler which was welcomed after our jog and clamber.

I went straight to the back of the cave to take in the famous view of the teardrop shaped cave entrance looking out onto the (for today anyway) clam blue sea. I looked all around the cave and was appalled to see that someone had scoured the words ‘Myke and Christie’ onto the cave wall – I hope they are very proud of themselves? :(

I then tried to climb up to the high 'upper chamber' on the right. I was in two minds about attempting this as the cave wall is vertical and I didn’t want to fall and injure myself in here! However, there were very tempting natural hand-holes so I went for it! I managed to get up to the edge of the cave but I couldn’t find a final place to hold to get up into it. I did however get high enough to see that the cave sloped upwards to the left and that there was light coming in from the end of the cave – another entrance perhaps?

I then spotted the sanded over section towards the front of the main cave, presumably where the skeleton was found? The sand covered a Hessian sheet which I assume is to protect an archaeological dig?

We sat and pondered and I was explaining to Owen the importance of this cave and why I wanted to visit it so much. I also explained how the view out of the cave would have been very different to what we saw today! He found this fascinating – as did I.

At this point another family arrived, two adults and a boy of about 11. We said ‘hello’ and I had a quick chat to the lady. It was clear that she was the main reason they were visiting today! Myself and Owen went outside to explore the many rock pools and sea anemones and to leave the family have their turn alone in the cave.

The tide began to turn and we all made our way back up the rocks to the safety of the gorge. It wasn’t long before flat part of the beach became submerged and the cave once again cut off. I felt both elated and relived to have completed my ‘pilgrimage’.

We walked back up to the road (about 1 mile) and I ‘phoned Karen to pick us up.
One problem – there was no signal in Rhossili.
Only one thing for it – a 4 mile walk along narrow country lanes, in the blazing sun, to Rhossili. To say that Owen was unimpressed would be putting it mildly!

It goes without saying that this is a ‘must see’ site for all those able to do so.


A few tips when planning your visit to Paviland:

1. Despite my initial reservations it appears to be ok to park alongside the farm track opposite the public footpath sign in Pilton Green. There were several cars parked there and as long as it isn’t too muddy you should be ok.

2. The walk from the road to the cave is easy, through a couple of fields / kissing gates. However, once you get to the gorge the rocks are very sharp and quite difficult to cross safely. It is only suitable for those who are mobile and fairly agile. The rocks from the beach to the cave present the same problems.

3. There is no ‘phone signal in the area around the cave and I would advise you take someone with you. I would dread to think of the consequences if you had a fall and injured yourself / knocked yourself out when the tide turned.

4. It is obviously vital you check the tide times and make sure you don’t get cut off.

Faenor Gaer (Enclosure) — Fieldnotes

Visited 15.4.14

Directions:
From Narberth take the B4313 north. The site is close the road on the eastern side, a little way past Pont-shan. It is just about visible from the road.


There is a newly laid tarmac track which leads from the metal field gate towards the site. I hopped over and strolled up the track – only a short distance. The first thing you notice is the old quarrying into the side of the slope which is now home to several storage containers. The path then continues around to the left and onto the actual enclosure, which was home to a herd of cows.

Unfortunately, there was a farmer in a tractor in the next field so I felt uncomfortable exploring the site as much as I would have wished. There is no public right of way to the site. I had to settle for a view from the edge of the storage area (which kept me out of sight of the farmer). I could just make out a low grass single bank – about 0.5m high.

Not a lot to see here although the views are pretty good.

COFLEIN states:
‘The earthworks of an oval enclosure at Faenor Gaer, Llawhaden, are defined by generally concentric banked and ditched circuits, about 95m and 126m north-east to south-west by 65m and 100m respectively. It is set on the butt of a south facing ridge, or spur, having a north-east facing entrance. Indications of occupation have been observed in the interior, where 'burnt earth and daub' were observed after ploughing in 1960’.

Bryn Dwyrain (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 15.4.14

Directions:
To the north-east of Narberth on the A40, take the A478 north. Then take the first turning on the right. The Barrow is next to the house on the right about 1.5 miles along this lane. You can’t miss it – it’s the only house!


Not much to report – a long grass ‘bump’ in a field.

Not one to recommend.

COFLEIN states:
‘A ploughed-down round barrow 34m in diameter and 0.9m high’

St Canna's Stone (Natural Rock Feature) — Fieldnotes

Visited 15.4.14

Directions:
Take the minor road north out of Whitland. Drive through Cwmfelin Boeth and then take the first turning on the left. Continue straight on at the junction. At the point the tarmac road turns to gravel is a house on the right – park here.
Opposite the house is a gated entrance to a dilapidated church. Walk down the overgrown path and just before you reach the graveyard St Canna’s Stone can be seen on the other side of a barbed wire fence on your left.


Karen didn’t feel comfortable parking outside the house but I assured her it would be ok. I undid the rope tying the gate closed and looked around for the stone. After an initial unsuccessful search around the graveyard I spotted the stone in the field next to the church. It is just the other side of a barbed wire fence; keeping in a flock of sheep and their lambs.

The stone is small (not much of a chair!) and it appears to have been turned around since the photo was taken. It was a bright, sunny day and I was unable to make out the engraved name on the stone. It really isn’t much to look at.

At this point I noticed a lady coming out of the house and going over to Karen who was still sat in the car. I headed back in case there was any ‘bother’. There was no need for concern as the lady was very pleasant and it turned out that she owned the field where the stone / sheep / lambs were. She informed me that she knew about the stone and that many lambs had been born next to it as it is in a sheltered spot. She said that she originally came from Maenclochog to the north. I told her that I had been there whilst visiting the nearby Gors Fawr stone circle. She seemed impressed!

I said that it was a shame that the old church had been neglected (I tried to have a look around inside but it was locked) She said that someone had bought it in 2000 to turn into a home but has never visited it since! She added that now only one old lady visited the church to tend the grave of a relative. I found it sad that such a fine church / graveyard could be neglected in such a way. It would make a fine home and afford good views. The Preseli Mountains could be seen in the distance.

I am glad I visited this site although in all honesty the stone isn’t much to look at.
Perhaps if you happen to be in the area and have some spare time it may be worth a look?

Hangstone Davey (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 15.4.14

Directions:
From Haverfordwest take the B4341 west. After a couple of miles the stone can be found next to the road on the left. It is just before a house called Lamber Forge.


Although it being mid week and on a B road, the road was very busy and parking difficult. Karen parked outside the large wooden gate, opposite a house, and I carefully made my way back along the road towards the stone.

The stone is a little less than 1m high. It looks old. It is covered in moss and patches of white lichen. Ivy is starting to grow over the top of it.

I have doubts about the folklore regarding the ‘hanging by sheep’ as I have visited another stone in the Gloucestershire/Oxfordshire area (I can’t remember the name) with exactly the same story attached to it. Bit of a coincidence I think!

Worth a quick look if you happen to be in the area but take care with the speeding cars.

Carreg Maen Taro (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.4.14

Directions:
From Blaenavon take the B4246 north towards Abergavenny. When you reach the top of the mountain you will see a lake and car park on your right. Directly opposite there is a road to the left – turn here. Drive down the road and after about 1 mile you will see a pub on your right (Lamb and Fox) and a rough car park opposite – park here. From the car park walk up the track until it splits into several ‘tracks’. The track leading to the highest ground (above the workings) and the stone can be seen in the distance to your right. The walk only takes about 15 minutes.


It was a quiet day in work and the chance was to be had for an early finish.
I would have been a ‘fool’ not to take advantage of the opportunity!

It was a warm, sunny day as I drove up through the World Heritage Site of Blaenavon and out onto the open mountainside. There were a couple of ‘likely lads’ hanging around the car park so I made sure the car was locked as I headed out onto the hillside. Judging by the amount of fresh lorry tyre tracks I saw this area is still being used for some reason or other?

Now, I often refer to these moorland sites as bleak. But there are two types of bleak; bleak in a nice way i.e. the Brecon Beacons or bleak in a horrible way i.e. old industrial area (South Wales Valleys). Unfortunately this site falls into the latter category – unless industrial history happens to be your thing of course.

Carreg Maen Taro is about 1 metre tall and the ‘M’ + ‘B’ markings are obvious. The stone is covered in lichen of various shades of green. There are many large stones scattered around the base of the stone.

I then walked over to the nearby fallen stone which made a handy place to sit and write these notes. Oddly enough this stone was covered in white lichen.

All was quiet here except for birdsong – which is always nice. The only company I had were a few scraggy sheep and a lone horse in the distance. The sun was warm with only a slight breeze. The views would have been very good had it not been for the haze, although the Sugar Loaf and the Blorenge were easy to make out. I sat a while and was well with the world. It was certainly better than being in work!

On the way back to the car I managed to collect a bag of horse manure for the vegetable patch – always a bonus!

This is an easy site to visit and worth the effort if you happen to be in Blaenavon visiting the famous iron works.

Pleasant View (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
North east of the Barrow at Crosshands – about 1 mile away.


The O/S map shows three Barrows at the crossroads.

Two of which are shown at the back of farm buildings – which I couldn’t see.
The third is in a field on the other side of the lane – seen as a grass ‘bump’.


COFLEIN states:
‘One of four barrows laid out along the summit of an east-west ridge. A circular mound about 22m in diameter and 0.4m high. Excavation produced evidence for a primary, uncontained cremation deposit and a secondary inurned cremation’.

Cross Hands (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
On the western side of the crossroads at Crosshands.


Two Barrows marked on the map – both no more than grass covered ‘bumps’.

COFLEIN has these named as the southern and northern tumuli.


COFLEIN states:
Southern – ‘A mutilated round barrow, 17m in diameter by 0.5m high, bisected by a garden hedge. When excavated two BA inurned cremations were recorded’.
Northern – ‘A ploughed down round barrow, 16m in diameter by .05m high. A central inurned cremation, set within a small cist-structure was recorded in excavations’.

Cefn Brafle (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 19.3.14

Directions:
On the eastern side of the crossroads at Crosshands.
You will need an O/S map to find this place!


I parked up on the grass verge at the back of the house and tried to spot the stones – I couldn’t.

I then decided to hop over the metal gate giving access to the field at the back of the house for a closer look. At this point 2 or 3 dogs came running out of the house and barked noisily at me. Although I doubt they could have got out of the garden they were making so much noise that it was only a matter of time before someone came to see what was happening.

I don’t know who the field belonged to but as there is no public access I decided it was not worth it. One for next time perhaps?

Crug Bach (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
South-East of the hamlet of Glandwr - through unsignposted country lanes.
O/S map required.

A grass ‘bump’ in a field.

Not worth the effort of finding it.

COFLEIN states:
‘A sub-circular mound, 18m in diameter and 1.2m high, truncated by a current road on the NE’.

Glandwr Churchyard (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
From the A40 take the A478 north towards Cardigan. The hamlet of Glandwr can be found a short distance to the east about half way to Cardigan. Signposted.


I was starting to run out of time and I was sorely tempted to re-visit the Gors Fawr stone circle but I knew I didn’t have time to do both. In the end I decided that it was better to go somewhere new rather than somewhere I had already been – this being my usual maxim in life.

I like an old attractive church – this isn’t one – far too modern for my taste. Not that I had come this far to specifically look at the church anyway of course.

The stone is not next to the church but next to
(I think) the church hall- to the right of the gate into the church yard – can’t miss it.

The stone is about 1.5m high and the Ogham markings can be seen but are not very clear. In all honesty if I didn’t know they were there I would have probably missed them.
Perhaps it wasn’t the best light to see them in.

The stone itself is quite ordinary but of course it’s not very often you get the chance to see Ogham so for that reason alone it is worth the trip.

Bwlch Y Seiri (Enclosure) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
The minor road running south from the main A40 to the village of Llangynog passes right past this site (on the left). You can park at the entrance to Pen Lan Farm and a metal field gate directly opposite gives access.


There is little to see; other than obvious undulations under the grass.

There is another enclosure a little to the south east which I didn’t look at.


COFLEIN states:
‘Bwlch-y-Seiri is an oval enclosure, about 56m east-west by 44m, defined by a bank, ditch and counterscarp, having a circular ditched mound, about 30m in diameter immediately adjacent on the west, the whole occupying the nub of a west facing spur’.

Castell Y Gaer (Hillfort) — Miscellaneous

A view from a lay-by 19.3.14

Directions:
Just north of the A40 – to the west of the B4298.


There is a convenient lay-by immediately to the east of the Hillfort although there does not appear to be any access to the field from here. There is no public right of way to the Hillfort.
I therefore chose to view from afar.

From the lay-by you could easily see the contours of the Hillfort on the grass covered hill.


COFLEIN states:
‘Castell-Y-Gaer is a sub-rectangular enclosure, measuring 108m by 74m, having a NE facing entrance, overlies an oval hilltop enclosure, 240m by 130m, resting on its circuit on the NW & W, both circuits being defined by counter scarps’.

Meini Llwydion (Llangynog) (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
A sort distance west of Meini Llwydion (Llangynog) standing stones at SN31201402.
In a field opposite the turning to the right (north).


The O/S map shows a footpath opposite the turning leading right to the stone.
In reality the footpath doesn’t exist and you are actually confronted by a double barbed wire fence and hedge.

I managed to get over the fence/hedge (not easy) and started to head south to the stone. It soon became apparent that the field is little more than a bog with no chance of crossing unless you were wearing wellies – which I wasn’t! No wonder there were no animals or crops in these fields, just lots of ‘spiky’ grass.

I retraced my steps and headed back to the road.

I thought I was going to miss out on this stone but I was able to view it, from afar, from the edge of the field housing the nearby Meini Llwydion stones. Look across the fields, under the power cables, for a large ‘boulder type’ stone lying near a hedgerow.

I don’t think I missed much.

COFLEIN doesn’t have much to say either:
‘The O/S 1st edition 1’’ map depicts two stones; there remains only one, suggesting a stone pair’

Maen Melyn (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
A short distance east of the village of Llanybri, north of the B4312.


I am pleased to report that I managed to find the stone, although it is easy to see how such a large stone can be missed.

At the crossroads is a small triangular area of rough ground – parking easy. Walk across (west) to the high hedgerow. Follow this hedgerow until you see the stone. At this time of year it was fairly easy but in the summer it would be tricky. You certainly wouldn’t see it if you weren’t specifically looking for it.

The stone is large – about 7 feet high by 3 feet across. The stone is covered in moss and the top section is also covered in ivy. It sits right in the middle of the hedgerow and is next to a tree.
It does a very good job of hiding itself!

I don’t know why this stone is called Maen Melyn (yellow stone) when it looked to me to me to be made of red sandstone?!

This is a cracking stone to seek out and access to it is very easy. Spotting it is the tricky thing!

Well worth the effort.

Castell Cogan (Enclosure) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
To the east of the Meini Llwydion (Llangynog) standing stones.
From the stones take the lane south-east. At the crossroads turn left up a steep hill.
The enclosure is easy to spot on the right. You can park on the grass verge.


A gate gives access to the site and a sign requests that visitors stick to the path – although there is actually no path so see. I therefore headed directly to the enclosure.

This is a pretty good place to visit. The single ditch / rampart is about 1.5m high.
The banks are covered in brambles and gorse but at this time of year it wasn’t too bad. A trig point sits on top of the bank. What appears to be the entrance is at the north-east. There are good views to be had out towards the estuary.

The wind was cold with drizzle in the air. A complete contrast to the weather last week when I was in the area. Perhaps spring hasn’t sprung after all?

This is an easy site to visit and worth the effort when in the area.

COFLEIN states:
‘A sub-oval enclosure about 86m north-east to south-west by 76m, defined by a double banks and ditches, set upon a prominent ridge-top knoll and resting on steep slopes to the east. On the gentler slopes to the west a possible outer line of ramparts may define an enclosure roughly 128m across. Two circular structures within the enclosure produced some ceramic material thought to be later prehistoric in date’.

Nolais (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
South-East from Crug Bach – along a narrow country lane.
O/S map recommended.


I large grass covered mound the other side of the bank/hedgerow.
You can’t see it from the road but you can from the top of the bank.
It’s western side has been cut through by the hedge / road.

One for the keen only.


COFLEIN states:
‘A round barrow truncated by a lane, 70’ in diameter and 5’ 6’’ high. Two cremations have been found , the first represented by ashes covered by two quartz stones, the second, thought to be primary, being inurned but cist-less’.

Myrddins Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
As described by Postie.
There is room to park on the road (where it widens) a bit up the hill from the start of the footpath; which is next to a house and is signposted.


I walked down the hill to the house and headed east through the fields trying to find/follow the permissive footpath. I don’t know how successful I was as it was hard to tell which was the ‘path’!
The important thing is that before too long I spotted the stones near a hedgerow / trees.

The information board is still there but it has been pulled out of the ground and is now propped up against a gate.

Two nice stones although it is a great pity that the rest of the burial chamber has been removed at some point in antiquity.

Worth the short but muddy walk when in the area

Meini Llwydion (Llwyn Du) (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
The road running past the Dolmen is very busy with no parking spots. The best thing to do is leave the car where you parked it for Myrddins Quoit and walk to the site. Walk up the hill to the main road, turn right and look for the first metal field gate on the left. Over the gate and walk directly across the field – look for a concrete water trough with a gate next to it. Over the trough and the stones are easily seen ahead of you.


Have you ever been to a site where you seem to be ‘drawn’ to it?
From the road you can’t see the stones and I didn’t know which way to go. But for some reason it ‘felt’ like the stones were the way I went and sure enough they were!
I can’t offer any logical explanation for this but that’s how it was.

The information board is still there although very weathered and worn.

Three standing stones remain – all leaning. Two smaller boulders lay next to the stone leaning the most – don’t know how long it will be before it falls down?

The stones are made up of the same material as the nearby Myrddins Quoit stones – ‘pudding stone’?

It’s a pity the capstone is missing. I sat a while to write these notes and thought about all the changes which have occurred since the Dolmen was first constructed. Although the cold wind was starting to bite it was a peaceful spot with birdsong in the distance.

This is a good place to come and well worth a ‘double visit’ with Myrddins Quoit.

Meini Llwydion (Llangynog) (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
West of the village of Llanybri, along narrow country lanes.
O/S map recommended.


I parked on the grass verge by the field gate and quickly climbed over. The stones are not visible from the road but soon come into view as you walk across the bogy field.

The stones were a lot bigger than I expected and a lot easier to find.

Well worth a look if you happen to be out this way.

If you come when it is wet – bring your wellies!

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

Visited 19.3.14

Directions:
Drive south through the village of Llangynog and you will come to a recycling area on your right. This is a large concreted area with several recycling bins for glass, clothes etc. There is plenty of room to park next to the bins. Follow the stepped path down towards the water works but bear right towards the bridge. From the bridge (at this time of year) you can see the Dolmen in the trees to your right – 3 minute easy walk.


The rusty gate at the end of the bridge which should give you access to the wood/Dolmen was padlocked shut. You are therefore left with the option of either climbing over a small barbed wire fence or over the wooden hand rail of the bridge. Neither of which are difficult to do.

I walked over to the Dolmen and sat quietly.
It is a very peaceful place at 8.30am with just the sound of the nearby stream and bird song for company. The Dolmen, surrounding tree trunks and boulders are all covered in a thick layer of moss - dry and soft to the touch – very tactile.

Although the Dolmen is quite small it is in good condition and the capstone is surprisingly thick, supported by 2 upright stones. One large and several small pieces of quartz had been placed under the capstone. More strange were (what appeared to be) the animal teeth which I assume were left as ‘offerings’?

It had been an early start and a 2 hour drive to get here. Was it worth it – absolutely!
I sat quietly, admiring the location and contemplated how wonderful it was that this place had survived the millennia.

Peace was shattered bang on 9.00am when the roar of vehicles could be heard from the adjacent quarry (thankfully not visible from the Dolmen due to the trees).
Time to go……………

If you ever happen to be in this part of the world, please make the effort to visit this site. It is easy to access and well worth it. I am sure you won’t be disappointed. This is one of those places that allow you to re-charge the soul.
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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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