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

Gray Hill

Stone Circle


Visited 17.6.14

This was the primary site I wanted to visit today and the main reason for having an early finish from work. After my earlier, somewhat disappointing visit to Lanmelin Woods, it was with great anticipation that I parked the car in the large car park overlooking the shimmering waters of the reservoir. The first thing I noticed was that the information board had been vandalised, one bin destroyed and the other overflowing with rubbish.
This is South Wales after all.
There was only one chap in the car park (bird watcher) and I said ‘hello’ (as you do in the countryside) as I headed up towards the bridleway opposite.
He ignored me – miserable bugger!
Unperturbed I carried on my merry way.

The track starts off being well made and not too steep but once you reach the last house, and go through the gate marked Grey Hill Common, the track becomes a path. From here the path becomes progressively narrower and steeper – although the views get better, out over the reservoir and beyond.

It is a 15 minutes walk from the car park to the top of the hill. Until reading TSCs notes I hadn't realised that the stony soil at the top was the remains of a cairn. Great location for a cairn.

I had brought my previous direction notes with me but to be honest, at this time of year with everything in full growth, I didn’t find them much use.
Perhaps these are better directions for finding the standing stone and circle?
(Note – they cannot be seen from the path along the ridge of the hill)
Once you reach the top of the path and come out onto the top of the hill, take the path to your left. Follow this path for a couple of hundred metres until you pass (what appears to be) two small quarry pits – one each side of the path. A little further along the ‘main’ path you will see a ‘minor’ path heading off to your right – down the hillside and through the ferns/bushes/trees. Take this path and it will lead you straight to the standing stone and the circle just beyond.

10 minute walk from the top of the hill / 25 minutes from the car park way down below.

Despite the new growth the stones were easy enough to see. The inside of the circle was free of ferns etc. I had forgotten that the southern edge of the ring was made up of a continuous row of stones. The rest of the circle was more fragmented.

The tall outliner is a fairly impressive stone in its own right. Between the outliner and the circle I spotted several 'suspicious' looking recumbant stones. One in particular looked very much like a fallen standing stone. The small oak tree next to the circle had a couple of clooties tied to its lower branches.

What is most impressive about this site of course is the view.
Sweeping views over the River Severn, along the coast and out over to England. Flat Holm and Steep Holm just about visible in the summer haze.

The centre of the circle was free of ferns etc and, using my t-shirt and the leaning/fallen stone as a pillow, I lay down on the cool grass and watched the clouds drift by high above me. The sun was beating down and the surrounding ferns acted as a wind break. It was very warm and I nearly fell asleep. All was well in the world. A sense of contentment came over me. All my cares (for a while at least) ebbed away.

Before long however I had to rouse myself as it was time to pick the children up from school and return to the ‘real’ world. It is important that every now and again you get the chance to visit such a site and de-stress.
It is certainly cheaper than a psychiatrist!
Posted by CARL
18th June 2014ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment