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

Ysbyty Cynfyn

Christianised Site


If you visit Ysbytty Cynfyn, you'll probably approach from the direction of the A4120, the road between Ponterwyd and Pontarfynach (Devil's Bridge). This is the obvious way to get there, but if you've got some time on your hands, and you're happy walking a few miles, try approaching from the west. This route gives you a real sense of pilgrimage, taking you past Dolgamfa and across the Rheidol gorge before reaching Ysbytty Cynfyn. The footpath is very well sign-posted (as Ceredigion footpaths go) but a map would be useful.

Starting from the village of Ystumtuen, follow the footpath north-east, past some old mine shafts and a small disused mining reservoir. The path continues through a distinctive saddle shape in the hillside. From the top you can see the bell tower of the church at Ysbytty Cynfyn. As well as being good geographical feature for navigating on foot the pass may have had symbolic significance to the people who built Ysbytty Cynfyn and Dolgamfa.

From here you head down-hill before reaching Dolgamfa, which sits on a small plateau about half way down the hill. There are good views across the Rheidol valley from here. Between Dolgamfa and Ysbytty Cynfyn is the river gorge, which is hidden from view by the ancient oak forest.

Heading downhill from Dolgamfa you pass a farmstead and enter the forest (the trickiest terrain on the walk). At the bottom of the slope is the gorge (very impressive in the winter) and the crossing point, Parson's Bridge. The bridge (originally not much more than a log) is traditionally associated with a priest who worked between Ystumtuen and Ysbytty Cynfyn. I suspect that this crossing point dates back a lot further than this, possibly connecting the two megalithic sites when they were in use.

From Parson's Bridge it's an uphill climb to get out of the gorge, and the forest. The path goes up a small hill before dropping down to Ysbytty Cynfyn itself.
Kammer Posted by Kammer
3rd July 2002ce
Edited 17th May 2007ce

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