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The big three

After a quite frankly horrible nights sleep in the car, jeez cars are uncomfortable for sleeping in, cheep though. Eric got through it ok but I must have had about four hours, not enough for the day ahead. Breakfast was obtained from a garage in Tredfraeth/Newport, then it was back over the hills to our first destination.

Dyffryn Stones — Fieldnotes

This one had been bumping around the top of my list for ages, years, but seeing as it's so far away, at least a three to four hour drive and North Wales is so much closer, but i'm here now and i'm not going to waste the opportunity. I parked in the entrance to the Electricity sub station just to the west of the circle, reckoning that no-one would be coming this early in the morning, and they didn't. Then we rode the bikes down to the left hand gate , Eric's went under the gate mine over it then a one minute ride up to the medley of animal pens, curious young cows ran alongside the fence, Eric was more interested in them than the stones so I was able to have a quiet moment or ten with the stone circle.

For it must be a stone circle, the map says only cairn but what do maps know, bah, who makes cairns with stones this big. Each stone is of a singular shape meticulously chosen for it's odd shape, the corrugated stones are particularly interesting. One of the two tallest stones seems to have been cut in two the line of the cut so perfect it must have been a Sith lord up to mischief with his light saber. If a stone circle it be then it would have been the best stone circle in the whole of the Preselis, Gors Fawr could be walked through without noticing it by someone unused to such things, and Bedd Arthur isn't even a circle. If you know where to look Budloy standing stone can just be seen across the slight valley.

I really liked this place, it didn't disappoint at all, even the cows or the farming utensils did nothing to blunt my experience here, just imagine what it would be like if it was in pristine condition, mind blowing.

That was the first of the big three, but compared to the other two on my days list it was at the bottom, but only because I really really liked the other two. Anyway just down the road is a tall and shapely stone at Budloy farm

Budloy Stone — Fieldnotes

Seeing as it was so close to the Dyffryn stone circle ( I refuse to call it a cairn) we rode our bikes down the road, turning left immediately after going over the bridge over happy waters. Open and close gate, ride down track and umph, a farm, hmmm what to do, worse still the farm yard was full of sheep and lambs with the farmer and his wife. i didn't hold out much hope, the farmers wife saw us but didn't seem to mind. We opened and closed the next gate and we were in the farm yard, I went over to the farming couple and asked if it was okay if we went over to their stone, (they like that) she said it was alright as long as we left our bikes there. Okely Dokely said I and off down the track we went, passing some ruined Reliant Robins and an old boat, which is right next to the gate that leads into the stones field.

We entered the field, scaring off two geese and walked over to the well proportioned stone. Tall and pointy it be, if i had a standing stone it would be just like this one. If you know where to look you can just make out the Dyffryn stones. To the immediate north of the menhir is Budloy mountain but at only 287 meters it's hardly a tiring climb. En route back to the bikes which had moved when we got back, we noticed what an idyllic farm scene this was the sheep had gone but ducks were now quacking about the many streams that pass through there yard. If I had a farm I'd like it be this one.

From Budloy we made our way through Maenclochog which has more than it's fair share of standing stones strewn around it's outskirts, passing east out of the village we passed Temple Druid standing stone.
We just had to stop and say a quick hi to this tall yet squat pointy standing stone. Passing east out of Maenclochog which i'm probably erroneously guessing means loads of stones, as you cant leave the village without passing one, we passed this one. It was a good one, next to wooded streams and small waterfalls, god I wish I didn't live where I do.

From there it was only a couple of miles to the next place, it wasn't on today's list but seeing as I was passing very close by I thought I'd have a look at Yr Allor standing pair of stones, but they were safely tucked up behind some houses with no obvious way to get to them, but this is The Preseli mountains and they always come up trumps in the menhir department.

Meini Gwyr — Fieldnotes

I was looking for a way to get to the Yr Allor stones when I came across this site, I parked up outside it's field and inspected the map. Hmmm there are so many stones around here that your just falling over them, I get out and walk over, look at the information board and ohhhh it's Meini Gwyr, it wasn't high on the list due to it's ruination but it was there nonetheless .

There is still a slight circular bump to be seen, just, and the stones are still quite big, well one of them is, and they still have that inward lean that Merrick mentions in his notes. I can't quite make out Yr Allor from here, and that is where the attraction to the place comes in, not not making things out, but, in it's heyday this would have been a phenomenal place, so many closely fitting sites all seemingly linked together, like a mini Carnac, but it's all over now the crowd are on the pitch it is well and truly over.

After that introduction to a lost megalithic playground/paradise, it was time to gain some height, these are mountains after all. Turning left at Glandy Cross onto the A478 we immediately pass a hill fort a cairn circle and a burial chamber, then turn left at Crymych and there rising before us is the second of the big three Moel or Foel Drygarn, a wonderful rocky hill with a fort and three big cairns in it. A beaut of a site.

Moel Drygarn — Fieldnotes

Beware ! I will be talking enthusiastically about this place, what we are sometimes privy to is more than just a visit to some stones by someone, sometimes it's a window onto a love affair, for it sometimes feels more like i'm documenting a love story between myself and these ancient wild high places, if I sometimes sound like a giddy child it's because I feel like one, it's just the best feeling in the world.

We parked in the obvious place south east of the small mountain, and rediculously I let Eric talk me into taking the bikes up with us, it wasn't that hard going, it's not too steep. On the way up he would look back down the path and tell me how cool it will be to ride back down, pointing out dips and jumps he would go over, we're not mad, we had no intention to ride down from the top that would be suicide, however his second mountain lesson would be coming soon.
As we neared the top I could see what looked to be the first line of defences for the hill fort, crawling north around the side of the hill and curling west to keep those pesky invaders out.
We pass it by and reach the level ground at the top, lean our bikes against the rocks at the south east, and turn to look at the three ginormous cairns, if a mountain is lucky, no if i'm lucky a mountain will have a cairn on it, if i'm verrry verrry lucky it will have two decent cairns on it, but to get three cairns of such distinction you have to come to the magical playground of the stonehenge builders, the Preseli mountains.

I read with disappointment that Carl wasn't impressed with the hill fort, saying little to be seen, ?? the defences can be followed all around the north of the hill and even the entrance is deep and obvious on the south side where there are no defences because of the precipitous rocks , Iv'e seen worse, much worse and whats worse is iv'e driven miles to see them, here though it is an absolute delight, a cherry on the top, for the main gatteau is the three huge cairns perched on top, keeping watch over the whole of the eastern mountain range.
The cairns have been recently restored by army preparation students, whoever they are? but they have done a grand job. We could tell by the colouration of the stones where had been restored. But they either left a bit out or someones been at it already as there is a a small scoop in the western end of the western cairn, it's a comfy place to sit out of the wind and watch the clouds scudding over distant Carnmenyn. Carnmenyn, from here it hides from view the Carnmenyn burial chamber and the stone river, had I been alone I would go over there and introduce myself to the genius loci there. But not this time, they will have to wait till our next rendezvous. From up on top, on top of the trig point, we can see it all , west past Carnmenyn to Foal Feddau and Craig y cwm, Preseli's highest point. North is the coast, I can see Dinas head, and closer to somewhere before me is Beddyraffanc, east is Frenni Fawr and cairns and south is Carn Ferched and further off is the megalithic complex at Glandy cross.

But the best thing is just sitting up on the central cairn watching the clouds shadows moving across the ground below, the occupants of these cairns must have been important indeed.
But the worse thing is on our way back down, on the bikes, Eric went from lower than me, but no sooner had we got fifty yards he went tumbling head first over the handle bars, and I was unable to do a thing but watch it all happen, thankfully he wasn't hurt too much, mostly his pride, and with it comes a valueable mountain lesson, even if your thinking I can do that, it always pays to be conservative, no not them...ptui.

That was the second of the big three. After picking ourselves up and brushing ourselves down, we rode the bikes slowly back to the car. Only two more places then we'll go another castle on the way home I told him, this seemed to make him feel better.
After reading a post on the Waun Lwyd webpage about e-mailing the new occupants of the property I thought I'd go see these two stones which have until now escaped photography, after a bit of wrong houseing we got to the right place.
Time for some food, care of Glandy Cross service station, then it's the short drive to Llanglydwen and one of the best placed dolmens in Wales one of my favorite places Gwal y Filiast, and the last of the big three.

Gwal-y-Filiast — Fieldnotes

I can't believe I didn't add any field notes from my last visit six years ago, even though that was more than half a lifetime ago for Eric he still said "oh I remember this one" and that was before we even got to it.

Heading south out of Llanglydwen, take your first right turn, then turn right into the track that leads to Penbontbren cottage, they let me park there last time but this time I leave it further up the track in the corner to one side, then walk down to the house and pass it by on it's right hand side, through a red gate. Then take your left hand fork passing a standing stone/old gate post and in one minute the most beautiful of Preseli's chromlechs is revealed.
Looking down over the river but not in site of it, is the greyhounds lair, what is it with greyhounds lairs in Wales? there is at least three that i've been to, is it the ancient name for it or a modern thing?
I walk around and around it, taking pictures from strange angles that I didn't explore last time, but last time the whole family and the dog were here, this time it's just Eric and me, and he's got a new football, so i'm free to go this way and that. Some chalked/burnt stick graffiti is on the inside, including a spiral in black, it's all old stuff that's wearing away, it'll be gone by autumn.

On the edge of the Preseli mountains but not in site of it, this is a must see dolmen, so many pictures of Coaten Arthur and Carreg Samson, this place is well under used, and little visited. A secret little gem, if i'd come a few weeks later there would have been bluebells too, so much beauty and wonder in one place would have made me quiver. Then again at work a bonus is coming my way soon, so I may come back in a few weeks, and I will be a lucky boy.

Ps.... the walk back was timed to more or less fifteen minutes, so there's no excuses for not coming.

On the way home we stopped off at Newcastle Emlyn castle, not much left of it but we had a good walk by the river and found a duck shoeing us away from her brood, sweeet.
Alas I didnt get to go everywhere I had my eye on, no time for the hill fort and standing stone at Bosherston, and no time for Carn menyn and the stone river, oh well it won't be too long I hope.

Waun Lwyd Stones — Fieldnotes

I e-mailed the new occupants living in the nearby house asking if my son and I could come and have a look at the stones but received no reply, so we went any way. It took two tries to get the right driveway down to the house (blurred house name on streetview says lots) but we got there eventually. I parked in the farm yard and knocked on the door, farmers wife came to the door so I asked if my son and I could have a look at the stones, using the exact words used in my e-mail, but it didn't seem to register, no matter, she didn't have a problem gave me some directions to the stones and off we went, would have been nice for the asked for e-mail to have made an impact though.

The stones are first seen over the wall, oooh said I they're big ones, then we get to the gate and enter the stones field. Immediately you can see that some work is being carried out here, new fence posts and new barbed wire, not into that, not at all. But also some gorse has been removed and piled up, I am into that though, but not too much mind.
These are a fine pair of stones, the smaller western stone is more rounded and blunter, female ? and the eastern stone is taller, sharp edged and pointy, male ? whether it is a gender issue that determines the stones shape I'm not overly convinced but there is a meaning to it i'm sure.
Standing south of the stones, they frame Carn Meini, 365 meters of up thrusting weather beaten rock, and next to it the Carn Menyn chambered tomb and coming from that the stone river a most singular natural feature. There's really a lot going on around here, I so wish it was the same in my almost local Snowdonia.
I'll have to put in for a transfer down here.
postman Posted by postman
24th April 2012ce
Edited 24th April 2012ce

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