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

Cwm Maerdy

Standing Stone / Menhir


This is one stone I will remember for the rest of my life, it goes down in my history of stone hunting as a most singular visit..........

From Nant north of Hundred House, go east towards GraigFawr farm passing underneath a good hill fort, I was hoping to pass by Graigfawr farm and drive as close to the stone as possible, it was late in the day and this would be the last site visited, but the farm track to Cwm Maerdy farm was Private Keep out. So I settled for parking at the farm of Graigfawr, I knocked on the doors but no one was in, not wanting to just dump the car in someones front yard (and wife was staying with the car) I drove back down the road and parked at the first safe place.

The map shows a footpath passing right through the farm from south to north and the stone is very close to said path, so no problem so far you might reckon.
There is no such footpath on the ground, or rather there is no signs admitting to the path no stiles over hedges and fences, no signs of it at all, later developments have convinced me that the occupiers of Graigfawr farm have done there best to deter travelers, by eradicating all vestiges of the public footpath. I'm no legal eagle but i'm sure there is some illegality to this.

Any how, footpath or not, my instincts twinned with a lucky glance through a hedge found me the standing stone of Cwm Maerdy, a nearby conifer plantation has sprung up from the blank hillside my map informed me was there, but no matter, the stone was taller than it looked from Graham's photos, and from each angle a different stone was revealed. The menhir sits on the edge of a small hill surrounded by bigger hills, one of which has a hill fort and pillow mounds on it and in t'other direction, the from here, pyramidal hill called "the van" with its visible from everywhere cairns. The darkness was falling earlier due to the cloudy nature of the day, it was beginning to rain and i'd left the wife alone for too long so it was time to go. From here I could see that the farm of Cwm Maerdy was not in fact the farm but two half ruined barns, I deduced that from there I could just walk along the track that at its end says Private Keep out. And so it was, it was quicker to get back to the car than it was to get to the stone, no jumping fences, streams or falling over weird earth tussocks. In no time at all I was back at the car and wife was fine, except for a passerby stopping and asking her if she was looking for them, she said she wasn't but was waiting for her husbend, me.
The day was over so we started the long drive home.........

Then came the erm... interesting bit.
We got home, watched some telly, then went to bed. About 1am there was a knock on the door downstairs, "No way" I thought "who could that be"
It was the Police, I answered the door with my best"Do you know what time it is? "face, I let him in and he asked me if I'd been to mid Wales at all today? My eyes widened slightly and curious to see where this was going I said "Yeees?"
"What for ?" he asked
So I had to tell him about my hobby/ calling/ obsession I even showed him the photos taken that day, he informed me that my car had been seen acting suspiciously down a farm track, and with farm related thefts high in the area, the owner of Cwm Maerdy farm had called the cops after taking down my car registration number.
Anyway the Bobby felt I'd suitably explained myself he said sorry for the late hour and was gone.

And that is what will keep this stoney visit in my memory for ever, flippin' farmers, custodians of the land my arse.
postman Posted by postman
25th October 2011ce
Edited 23rd October 2012ce

Comments (4)

Unbelievable, cunts of the land more like, you wasn't even been accused of anything, i don't think i would have answered the door, they just don't have that right because they knew you hadn't actually commited a crime and was just parked down a lane and with missus in car,[as your lookout ha ha], do you think that when they came round they had a look round your garden to see if you have any tractors tucked away anywhere, maybe they thought you were a terrorist and was after their fertilizer, anyway i guess they won't be getting their post in the morning, plus i've just moved down cornwall and have encounted lots [more than usual] of blocked paths [some with beehives!!!!!] so i know how that feels, but stick with it, me and my friend go where we need to go [they say nothing, touch wood], they don't [and will never in my mind] own our land , i always feel i'm not allowed to ask if i can go there, i as a person i soooo want to ask if it's ok but as a spirit i'm not allowed, i've read enough of your posts to think you understand [sunrise visits, jumping over fences, going in when it says keep out or private], we respect you greatly for this, and believe you me so do the places. bladup Posted by bladup
25th October 2011ce
A knock on the door in the night. Bloody hell postie. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
25th October 2011ce
A great read Postie - without a doubt farmers plough over rights of way and then sow crops. As a point of principle the Ramblers (who are a law abiding bunch) always follow the footpath marked on an OS map regardless of whether it means walking on crops. It took me a while to get used to this but it is the only way to reclaim the path.

Although can't compare with your experience, on Sunday I walked to Membury Camp (with a friend) the right of way goes through an upmarket farm (sleek horses etc) and it felt like trespassing even though it wasn't. The large sign near the house that said 'Beware - guard dogs loose' or words to that effect would have been off putting had I not been with someone.
tjj Posted by tjj
25th October 2011ce
Bladup, I totally get where your coming from. I feel like an integral part of the land rather than a machine only doing what it's told and going where its told. think of me as the wind, I come, I linger a while then i'm gone, leaving nothing, no sign of my existence at all. Until I get home to my computer that is, when we can all see what the wind saw.

Not quite "A detective comes calling" but this is the time of year when things go bump in the night, certainly caught me unawares.

Its not the first time i've found the footpath gone, blocked or just too overgrown to pass through, there's just not enough of us using them sometimes. I always try to stick to the path, but I really don't like the feeling of being herded along , walk here ! don't go over there ! come this way !
I even stopped watching Countryfile because it turned more or less into a farming programme, and lets keep Britain caught in one frozen place in time.
Rewild Britain now
postman Posted by postman
26th October 2011ce
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