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Banc Ystrad-Wen (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Miscellaneous

There are four cairns collectively forming a cemetery upon Banc Ystrad-Wen, the finest of which (in my opinion) is the western-most at SN97956147. According to Coflein it represents the remains of a "Cairn, 13.1m in diameter and 0.75m high, at which a kerbing of boulders about the W and SW sides have been observed." J.Wiles 23.04.02. So, although not that upstanding in profile, this is nevertheless a significant stone pile mirroring similar monuments upon the north-eastern ridge of Y Gamriw across the cwm.

The next in stature, located at SN98236156, has been vandalised by an internal 'shelter' which (as with Carn-y-Geifr crowning Drum Ddu to the approx north-west) I reckon may be for sheep.. at least those of Ovis aries, as opposed to the human variety. Again, J Wiles reckons it is a "Mutilated cairn, 10.4m in diameter and 0.6m high, having had a shelter constructed in, and of it, to the NW of centre."

The remaining two monuments of the group are much smaller, located at SN98136150 "4.9m in diameter and 0.3m high" and SN98156153 "A partly scattered cairn, 4.3m in diameter and 0.45m high".

Although - needless to say - I didn't heed my own advice (approaching, via Carn Wen, having made a ludicrously tiring, vertical ascent of Trembyd from the north) I would suggest the best way to reach these cairns is via the Rhiw Llanwrthl, accessed at the terminus of the minor road heading south from the village following the Wye.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
20th January 2018ce

Carn Wen, Llanwrthwl (Round Cairn) — Miscellaneous

I approached this, another of Mid Wales' numerous 'White Cairns', heading south from Banc Ystrad-wen following a retrospectively ill advised direct northern ascent of Trembyd. Furthermore chancing my luck that the ominously low cloud base was going to give me a break and, well... break. It didn't, the hitherto pale white ambience of swirling mist not what I had in mind. But there you are, that's why compasses were invented.

Despite the deteriorating conditions I enjoyed my time here, the cairn a substantial monument, the vibe (arguably) enhanced by the claustrophobic reduction in visibility. As for the cairn itself, Coflein reckons:

"A cairn, 23.8m in diameter and 0.8m high, having three projecting stone platforms about its E perimeter. Two small recent cairns and a double shelter have taken their place upon the cairn." J.Wiles 23.04.02

Incidentally there are further cairns marked upon the map in the immediate environs; I made a foray toward those sited upon Garth.... but lost my nerve in the opaque vapour and retreated back to the Mother Cairn. These hills are not to be trifled with in bad weather.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
20th January 2018ce

Bryn-cyplau, Nebo (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

Not too sure what to make of this, to be fair. Lured by the promise of 'Cairn Circles' upon the 1:25k map, I first had to negotiate the rather bizarre, 'banjo duelling' antics of the local farmer and helpers who appeared to wish to stare me down, for some reason or other... which needless to say only made me determined not to be intimidated. Bring it on. There is no excuse for a lack of basic courtesy.

Anyway, as for 'Cairn Circles', I found none, the Coflein record reflecting more-or-less what I did encounter:

"A distinct semi-circular ditch runs from the boundary wall enclosing an area approximately 30m in diameter. The ditch is about 1m wide by up to 0.2m- 0.4m deep. It may be all that is left of the outer bank and ditch. Along the arc of the ditch are at least two cairns seen as exposed earthfast stones. The central area contains numerous low earthfast stone mounds and banks." OAN Site Visit 2002/05/24/NW
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
20th January 2018ce

Cwm Shelkin (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

A visit to this otherwise unremarkable cairn - if the final resting place of a forebear can ever be described as such, of course - is enlivened by what appeared to me to be clear remnants of a former cist and kerb. It would seem the OS people tentatively concur:

"A denuded cairn, 6.0m in diameter and 0.5m high, with possible cist elements and kerbing." J.Wiles 15.08.02

Situated upon the southern end of Mynydd Llangorse's whaleback summit ridge there are some fine views to be had of surrounding peaks, not to mention the excellent hill fort occupying Allt Yr Esgair across the way.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
20th January 2018ce

Mynydd Llangorse (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

This is a deceptively substantial upland cairn which, to my mind, should be taken as a pair with the splendidly sited 'Blaneau-draw' monument a little way to the ENE. Indeed, an approach from Cwm Sorgwm, via the latter, makes for a grand hill walk with some excellent views. I was able to park upon the verge just south-east of the farm access road's junction with the 'main road' through the cwm (which, incidentally, is a good starting point for an ascent of Mynydd Troed's cairn).

Anyway, according to Coflein what we have here is:

"A mutilated cairn, 23m in diameter and 1.8m high, surmounted by a modern cairn. Set on the crest of a mountain ridge, on the boundary between two communities". [J.Wiles 15.08.02]
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
20th January 2018ce

Blaneau-draw (Round Cairn) — Miscellaneous

I more-or-less quite literally stumbled across this cairn, exquisitely perched upon the very edge of the escarpment overlooking the farm of Blaneau-draw, Cwm Sorgwm, whilst heading for the cairn at SO16562612. Indeed, since it is not annotated upon either the current 1:50k or 1:25k OS map, I assumed the larger monument had been mis-represented. Suffice to say it has not.

CPAT offers a little clarity:

"About 350 m W.S.W. from.." [SO16562612].. "410 m above O.D. on a terrace 15 m below the ridge top is a small Old Red Sandstone, badly disturbed, flat mound about 7 m in diameter 0.6 m high". [Roese, Thesis, no. 166. RCAHMW, 1995]

So, structurally speaking, not the finest Bronze Age upland cairn you'll ever encounter. But I hereby challenge anyone with a passion for the way the ever-changing light plays upon our uplands to not be moved by the placement of this beguiling pile of old stones.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
20th January 2018ce

Llethr Brith (Round Cairn) — Miscellaneous

At c1,722ft Llethr Brith is a reasonably hefty hill for Mid Wales and, in my opinion, well worth a visit in its own right simply for some excellent views toward Teifi Pools, Cwmdeuddwr and, as it happens, Pen y Bannau hill fort. That it is crowned by a substantial, if somewhat vandalised Bronze Age is, as they say, a bonus.

A dead end minor road heads east from the B4343 at Ffair-Rhos allowing punters access to the shores of the aforementioned Teifi Pools. Just after some enclosed fields to one's left a path can be discerned ascending the hillside... follow this and 'up' is the only real direction needed, to be fair.

According to the OS the cairn, sharing the summit with a lonely little tarn, is:

"A round cairn, 14m in diameterb & 0.5m high, having a modern marker cairn set upon its E side." J.Wiles 26.07.04
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
17th January 2018ce

Cwm Bach and Whitmore Stairs (Cliff Fort) — Miscellaneous

Excellent little cliff fort - one of a linear chain gracing this Glamorgan coastline - overlooking Traeth Bach and most easily reached by a footpath from the minor road to the approx east. Note that it's possible to park a car near the junction with the Tre-pit Road (a little west of Wick).

Protected by the steep defile of Cwm Bach to the north and vertiginous cliffs to the west, artificial defences are only really required elsewhere.

According to Coflein:

"Two discrete lengths of bank, ditched on the SE, the northernmost c.40m NE-SW by 10m and 2.0m high, the other c.33.5m NE-SW by 8.5m and 1.5-2.6m high, truncated on the SW, together appear to define the SE side of a roughly triangular enclosure, resting on an eroding cliff-line on the SW and defined by scarps above the Cwm Bach on the N. Air photos suggest that the southern rampart segment continues N of entrance gap, behind line of the north rampart." J.Wiles 26.01.04
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
17th January 2018ce

Ffridd Bryn Dinas (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Miscellaneous

Ffridd Bryn Dinas ('Ffridd' might be described as being the transitional zone between traditional Welsh upland and lowland) is an interesting, relatively minor ridge overlooking Cwm Maethlon - 'Happy Valley' - boasting some excellent, sweeping views across the Dyfi for (arguably) limited effort. Not to mention the opportunity to gawp at a certain bearded lake. I ask you?

It also possesses two Bronze Age monuments. According to Coflein:

"Originally (1921) this site was reported as two tumuli, with another reported near-by, all three having cists. Subsequently they were differentiated as a round barrow (SN63989969) and a cairn (SN63869959), with the third not located." J.Wiles 30.01.02

For what it's worth I agree with the above succinct statement. To a point. The north-eastern 'tumulus' is, for me, the finer of the pair, a steep sided mound just north of a traverse wire fence bearing the clear remains of a cist upon, or rather within, the summit. A great spot to recline for awhile with the low autumn sun playing upon the nearby llyn. The other, to the approx south-west, has much less 'tumulus', but much more cist still in situ.

But what of 'the third not located'? Could that not be what I took to be a cairn with remains of cist upon the bwlch between Bryn Dinas and Allt Gwyddgwion?
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
16th January 2018ce

Cairn between Bryn Dinas and Allt Gwyddgwion (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

This cairn... featuring what I took to be remnants of a cist within... sits between Bryn Dinas and Allt Gwyddgwion ('No shit, Sherlock!' I hear you exclaim), the latter the elongated south-western ridge of the wondrously be-cairned Trum Gelli. As such, be sure to pay a visit if heading for the western Tarrens, the monument a little to the right of the path - such as it is - when approaching from the main green track traversing these parts.

Coflein gives the dimensions thus:

"The cairn is 2 metres in diameter and 0.6 metres high. See survey report Tywyn Dolgoch, by M.J. Roseveare, ArchaeoPhysica Ltd." RCAHMW, 14/12/2007
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
16th January 2018ce
Edited 17th January 2018ce
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