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

Fieldnotes by Kammer

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Disgwylfa Fawr (Round Cairn)

Visited 22/01/11: Walked to Disgwylfa Fawr from a parking spot next to Llyn Syfydrin to the west. This is the shortest & simplest route up (my friend's 7 year old daughter had no trouble with it).

I'm embarrassed to say this was my first time up Disgwylfa Fawr and it's hard to imagine why it's taken me so long to make the journey. The cairn is large and earth-covered with an indentation in the top, presumably from excavation. It's a nice lump the stand on and the views of the surrounding peaks are splendid (especially Pumlumon and Dinas). Well worth a visit.

Ffyst Samson (Chambered Tomb)

Visited 13/04/07: As Merrick says, this isn't an easy site to get to. Having looked at large scale maps since our visit I have a strong suspicion that one of the public footpaths that should pass close to the tomb is blocked by a fence.

The tomb stands just to the south of a rocky outcrop that's clearly visible from the road (see Moss' photo) but not marked on the Landranger. It's in the corner of a field, with gorse obscuring the view of it from the south.

We found our way to Ffyst Samson with some difficulty. We tried working from Merrick's directions, approaching from the south, but I wish I'd taken a better map with me. We ended up loosing the footpath, which I wasn't really comfortable about, but it really wasn't clear where it went. If I did it again I'd try an alternative route, approaching from the north east.

Pen-y-Felin Wynt (Hillfort)

Visited 24th April 2005: I found it tricky to park on the A4120, then a bit scary walking the boys along the road. There's not a lot of traffic, but nobody is really expecting pedestrians.

The fort itself is extremely small, only really big enough to contain one family. It's the hillfort equivalent of a farmstead, built on a small promontory above the Rheidol valley. There are one or two hut platforms visible within the defences, but they're too subtle to photograph.

The remaining defences are pretty meagre, and unfortunately the strategic position of the fort isn't as obvious as it might be because of the surrounding trees. It's still a beautiful place to visit on a fine day.

Although I wasn't aware of it during my visit, there is permissive public access to Pen-y-Felin Wynt (hats off to the land owner!). If you want to see the approved route, visit the Countryside Access in Wales web site.

Caerberllan Farm (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 14th November 2004: This sorry looking stone is easy to find, and easy to get at because it's right next to the road. The hedge had just been cut when we visited, and I was alarmed at how close the the flail had got to the top of the stone.

This standing stone isn't in it's original location. It once stood in the centre of the field, but for the life of me I can't figure out where I read that (as soon as I remember I'll post it up).

Buckholt Wood (Long Barrow)

Visited 29th January 2005: I approached Buckholt Wood on foot from the direction of Nympsfield Long Barrow. It's a pleasant enough walk, but crossing the main road (the B4066) is tricky.

Buckholt Wood is not the most exciting megalithic site you could visit. Definately one for the hardened enthusiast.

St Elvis (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Visited 8th January 2005: Not much to add here except to reiterate Moss' comments about mud. The coastal footpath is supposed to be part of the route to the chamber from the main road (A487), but we ended up walking on the farm track instead (it runs parallel). We'd have lost the boys in the mud if we hadn't!

Parking isn't a problem, but the walk to the stone is about half a mile with an incline towards the beginning. An adventurous wheelchair user might make the distance with some assistance.

Nympsfield Long Barrow

Visited 29th January 2005: The parking area right near the barrow is gone now, so no Travellers encampment this time. On this visit it was full of dry leaves, which made for good entertainment for the boys.

I have to say Nympsfield Long Barrow itself still leaves me cold. It's been reconstructed in such a clinical way that there's nothing left of the place except artifice.

Hetty Pegler's Tump (Long Barrow)

Visited 30th January 2005: Back to the tump with some friends. The kids loved being inside with torches. I was sad to see relatively new looking carvings and candle damage.

Maen Llwyd (Bronaber) (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 26th September 2004: We parked the car on the A470 in a lay-by opposite the track to Maen Llwyd. Crossing the road with the boys was a bit tricky, but once we were on the track (basically a private road giving access to a couple of houses) the going was easy.

Finding the stone was not so easy. The map indicated it was very close to the road, but we couldn't see anything that looked likely. Bearing in mind we'd not got any photos to go on I think we anticipated something a bit more like Llech Idris. In the end we came to a small cottage by the side of the track and asked a gentleman who was coming out of it for directions (I think the cottage might have been called Maen Llwyd). He was exceedingly helpful. It turned out we had over-shot.

As it happened the owner of the cottage was heading in the direction of the standing stone to check his water supply, so he led us back up the track in the direction we had come from, stoically enduring a lot of pestering from William. It turns out that Maen Llwyd is visible from the road, but although it's not far into the field it's surrounded by boggy ground and reeds. The others stayed on the track and watched me hop from tussock to tussock until I could get a closer look at the stone. Trainers are not recommended footwear if you visit Maen Llwyd! It's not very large, and the tricky access means I'd not recommend it unless you're a thorough enthusiast. I was pleased we'd found it, but at the end of a long day it was a little bit disappointing.

Thanks to the gentleman from the cottage!

Balliscate Stones (Standing Stones)

Visited 13th August 2004: I confess that we drove up the track, which got us pretty close to the stones. I don't think you're supposed to do this though, and it was very tricky turning the car round.

I can't add much to Nick's notes. The sheep in the field where the row lies are extremely friendly, which entertained the kids loads. Also, there's an exclellent view of Josie Jump's house from the stones.

Greycroft Stone Circle

Visited 15th August 2004: We decided to approach Greycroft from the east, but weren't ready for the eeriness of approaching the nuclear power station down the main access road. Wide and straight, the road has 'ready for trouble' stamped all over it.

We parked near Seascale Hall (specifically NY040027) and took the footpath under the access road. This turned out to be a bad idea because the underpass was very muddy and culminated in a field with a big bull in it. We edged into the adjoining field, which was probably a good idea anyway because the footpath (now on the other side of the fence) looked impassable.

Skirting the perimeter of the field that Greycroft Circle sits in, we went past the point where the footpath goes onto the golf course (that looked impassable too because of giant bracken, so glad we didn't approach that way). We kept on skirting the perimeter of the field (spotting a Grass Snake on the way) and eventually landed up to the south of the circle. This was the point at which there is the least cultivated land between the field boundary and the stone, so we went for it, following an existing path through the crops.

OK, that's how we got there. It took quite a while, especially as it was hot and the kids were tired. As for the place itself, well I think everyone except me thought it was rubbish. Even I'd have to admit that the circle is a tad disappointing. Knowing that it's heavily 'reconstructed' doesn't help much. Basically you're faced with a load of randomly placed boulders in a field near a nuclear power station. While I wanted to be struck by the way the site has withstood centuries of abuse, I couldn't muster it. It has to be said that although the power station is menacing, Greycroft would still be a sad place to visit even if it weren't there.

On the way back I tried to cheer the boys up by collecting golf balls (recommended as a pick-you-up). We went over the access road on our return journey, avoiding a load of bull.

Merlin's Hill (Hillfort)

When I was living in Carmarthen we used to go out to Merlin's Hill. I don't think there's public access up there, but we were young and foolish. I remember trying to sneak past the farm without the dogs spotting us.

Up at the top is a beautiful meadow. I remember taking a very large pink kite up there and flying it. Some friends back home were looking out for the kite, but although Merlin's Hill itself is really obvious from town, the kite was too darned small. Happy (and in hindsight very innocent) memories. This is a beautiful spot!

Taoslin (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 11th August 2004: Taoslin is accessible over a small stile. It's a hefty lump of rock, with large packing stones around the base of it. It's a lot smaller than Tiraghoil and far less elegant than Fionnphort. On my visit the hollow around the base of the stone was full of water, forming quite an aesthetically pleasing pond. The reflection of the stone in the water was great. I wonder whether Taoslin is the real deal though? Those packing stones can't be original. They're far too large, and inexpertly placed.

Tiraghoil (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 11th August 2004: Tiraghoil was the second stone we came to heading east. I left the others in the car (the rain had subsided a bit) and made my way to the stone. This is a large lump of rock, much bigger than Fionnphort. It has quite a presence to it. With the weather as it was the stone did a good job looking immoveable (sort of, "I ain't budging!"). The lichen hair might have been what suckered me into thinking of the stone as human.

Fionnphort (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 11th August 2004: On our way back from Iona I persuade Louise that we should pop in and see a few standing stones. Fionnphort was the first we came to, and at the point when we arrived the rain was torrential.

What I should have done was ask at the house for permission to take some photos of the stone. Instead I wound the car window down and took some hurried photos from the relative dry of the driver's seat. Yes, I know, this is not in the spirit of things at all. The stone looks rather pleasant as a sort of garden feature. It's an elegant monolith.

Lochbuie Stone Circle

Visited 10th August 2004: I was a little bit disappointed by the circle itself, having trudged through the wet to get there. The 'natural amphitheatre formed by the surrounding hills' was partially obscured by low lying cloud, which in itself might have seemed mystical had we been a little more dry.

In hindsight I think the weather played a big part in our desire not to linger. We were feeling pretty soaked, and were ready to get back in the dry as soon as possible.

Lochbuie Outlier 1 (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 10th August 2004: This is the largest stone in the Lochbuie group, and it's so close to the circle that it may as well be part of the same site. An impressive lump of rock, even in the rain.

Lochbuie Outlier 2 (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 10th August 2004: This is the first 'proper' outlier to the stone circle (I can't see how the more distant stone can be described as an outlier). Contained within the same field as the circle and Outlier 1 you have to double back on yourself a bit from the gate to get to it. It was at this stage in our visit that the severity of the rain really became apparent. We were sodden!

Lochbuie Kerb Cairn (Kerbed Cairn)

Visited 10th August 2004: This was the second Lochbuie site that we came to. The light was very poor thanks to the low cloud and drizzle, but the site was relatively easy to find. The trees sit in amongst the stones making the site a bit of a jumble to interpret.

Lochbuie Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 10th August 2004: With a foolhardy lack of regard for the weather we set out from our parking spot (NM61552557) and made our way to the 'Lochbuie' standing stone (the one furthest away from the circle). In this instance we approached over water-logged ground. The stone itself was difficult to get close to without getting soggy feet. At least the rain wasn't too bad...
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I live in a small Welsh seaside town on the west coast. As well as being well placed for visiting the local sites, it's relatively easy to get to sites in south Wales, north Wales and the borders.

If you'd like to use one of the photos I've posted on this site please contact the TMA Eds who'll pass the message on (ed@themodernantiquarian.com).

Some of my favourite prehistoric sites:
Avebury (England)
Calanais (Scotland)
Castlerigg (England)
Dolgamfa (Wales)
Gavrinis (France)
Kernic (France)
Pentre Ifan (Wales)
La Roche-aux-Fées (France)
Stones of Stennes (Scotland)
Wayland's Smithy (England)

Kammer x

http://cahoots.org.uk/

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