|Notes from the stone, 26 Aug 00
Visible on the skyline for quite some distance when approached from the South, Maen Llia is an imposing and isolated stone.
Despite it being, as Julian Cope's poem would have it, miles from anywhere, there's a stile over the fence and a well-worn path to the stone, which has been slightly vandalised by people carving their names into it (one appears to be dated 1860).
The stone stands facing the valley sides and its edges align with the valley. Although the predominant stone of the area is grey, Maen Llia is a deep wine-red, and very pitted and pock marked. The stone is huge - some four metres tall - and surrounded on three sides by upward slopes; getting it from wherever such rare stone was found to here was a mighty task.
The top is gently rounded and comes to a point. One side of the point is very straight indeed. I don't know how to tell if it's tooled or not, but either way it's an odd shape.
The sense of position is really weird; as you look down the valley toward Ystradfellte there are impressive layers of hills, but that is true of pretty much anywhere round here. If the stone were 500m north there'd be the same view down the valley, but it'd also look down another valley too. The stone was clearly not positioned with a wish for the most impressive position on the landscape.
To the northeast of Maen Llia there's a notably anomalous mound on the landscape that goes halfway up to the horizon, not overly dramatic but unusual for the shape of the land round here. It's kind of like a squashed Silbury (but is too big to be the work of humans). To extend the comparison with Silbury, the mound here also has a Roman road running directly beside it, Sarn Helen. This implies that the hill may have had some significance.
Posted by Merrick
5th September 2000ce