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!
Posted by CARL
20th May 2014ce