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

Hafodygors Wen

Ring Cairn


Mr Bickerton's been eulogising about the merits of this obscure site for a couple of years now.... however since my visits to Gwynedd are - at best - an annual occurrence nowadays, it's taken a while to discover what all the fuss is about. But there you. Better late than never.

'Ye Old Bull Inn' is a conspicuously attractive landmark (purely from an aesthetic viewpoint, of course) for travellers heading north through Tal-y-Bont, minor roads accessing Llyn Eigiau and Bwlch-y-Ddeufaen exiting the B5106 to left and right of the building respectively. I select the former, the gravity-defying tarmac climbing steeply away from the fertile Dyffryn Conwy in such a manner as to provide a serious, if not insurmountable challenge to a front wheel drive vehicle under icy conditions. However just the ubiquitous Snowdonian rain to contend with today. So, ignoring a left hand fork heading toward the Coedty Reservoir (incidentally take this to visit Cae Du) I pause above the farm of Rowlyn Isaf to concurrently negotiate a gate and allow the (presumed) owner to overtake and go about his business unimpeded by such as I. Yeah, some people have work to do. Anyway, a little beyond the final gate prior to the more-or-less straight approach to the Llyn Eigiau parking area it is (fortunately) possible to leave a car near a couple of prominent ladder stiles.

Back at the aforementioned gate, this traveller, shorn of protective steel carapace, now subject to all the vagaries of the inclement weather, a substantial drystone wall makes a reasonable enough job of emphasising the contours of the hillside falling away toward the swollen Afon Dulyn. That'll be the way to go, then. The river, sourced within the Dulyn Reservoir cradled beneath the forbiddingly craggy eastern flank of Foel Grach, presents a pretty significant barrier to further progress. Once across (dryshod, although I'm not so competent upon the return!) I continue, uphill now, shadowing the boundary line until a lateral wall (with stile) passively announces I'm but a short distance south of the Hafodygors Wen Cairn II. Unfortunately there is very little to report of the latter, the cairn all but destroyed, its material returned to the landscape to 'go 'round again'. Or something like that.

But what of the celebrated ring cairn? As the previous posts make clear, the massive erratic boulder is the key to its successful location. The monument is set a short distance south (that is toward the river) so even the likes of myself couldn't fail. The position, overlooking the Afon Dulyn, is excellent, in a rather brutal 'upland' sort of way. A quartet of significant orthostats stand within/upon (I'm not sure which) a reasonably well defined ring cairn, such definition no doubt enhanced by Chris's previous gardening exploits. Well done that man. Although a few Bellis perennis wouldn't have gone amiss. The high peaks of Y Carneddau, their summits truncated by an all encompassing mass of grey vapour long since past critical saturation point, provide a suitably brooding backdrop to the west and south-west, the latter, enlivened by the shattered rock of Craig Eigiau, arguably the most enigmatic. Despite the rain - or perhaps even more so because of it? - this is a place to sit and ponder, to think about stuff. Yeah, whatever comes into the head. The profound, the base... the focussed, the incoherent. Random thought... it's all good. Although unfortunately I guess it's advisable to retain some exclusively within my head nowadays. My 'mind palace', as Benedict Cumberbatch might say, albeit one with a bit of a leaky roof, needing renovation.

Speaking of thought .... just what were the architects of this idiosyncratic monument thinking when they erected it all those millennia ago? Is it a unique North Walian 'four poster?' Sure it looks like one. However to be honest I'm not completely convinced owing to the placement of the stones relative to the assumed arc of the stone circle's circumference. Somehow the angles don't seem right for just the four stones? Having said that, I've not had the pleasure of seeing much more than a half dozen of the type, so happy to defer to those that have. Whatever the truth this is, regardless, a wondrous monument set within classic upland scenery and blessed with that most precious attribute of all. Vibe, atmosphere.

Worth getting the feet wet for.
26th December 2014ce
Edited 29th December 2014ce

Comments (3)

Definitely worth the effort. It's a gem isn't it? thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
27th December 2014ce
Superb notes m8! Great read. drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
27th December 2014ce
Thanks. Doing my top 10 this year reminds me I need to do some for Cae Du! GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
28th December 2014ce
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