|This is an intact cromlech in a beautiful and enchanting place.
Although built as a Preseli dolmen in the Carreg Samson style (smallish, enormous fat capstone), because of its location this feels unlike any other site I've been to. Megalithic sites tend to have such a grand sense of place, so clearly built into their landscape with the horizons and far contours in mind. This place, though, is secluded, standing near the top of a steep riverbank above the Afon Taf.
The sense of intimacy is not just to do with the relatively confined landscape, but in a large part it's the woods too. It stands in a small clearing among old mixed woodland, in a possibly deliberate perfect circle of beech trees.
The builders worked among trees like those around it today, and all the construction and usage took place to a soundtrack of the riverflow, continuous from before they first came until after we leave.
This setting profoundly triggers the imagination because so many ancient monuments must have been built in woodland. West Kennett longbarrow was built in an oak forest, not the monoculture agri-desert we know today.
For so many Preseli cromlechs to be built with a seaward orientation, it's got to be the river that is the focus of this one. The apparent entrance faces SSW down to the river.
The three side uprights are about 4 and a half feet high, the fourth, at the back, is smaller but even with the extra width of the capstone at that point there's still a clear uptilt to the entrance.
A single outlier stone, presumably displaced from the cromlech, stands 3 ft high and 5 ft long about 5m to the north.
According to Children & Nash (1997), in 1872 Barnwell wrote that the chamber and capstone were still covered by a mound and at least 32 outer kerbstones were visible. However, given the scarcity of covered barrows in the region and the serious work that would've had to have taken place in the last 130 years to get it to its present bare state, I'm tempted to suggest Barnwell was either exaggerating or confused in his description.
This really is a beautiful mesmerising site, do make the effort to visit.
visited 17 Aug 04
Posted by Merrick
7th September 2004ce