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

Cerrig Duon & The Maen Mawr

Stone Circle


A favourite spot of mine, set as it is on the lower, eastern slopes of Mynydd Du, overlooking the infant Afon Tawe and with sweeping views up and down the valley.

The connection with water here is unmistakable.... not only in the most obvious sense, since the circle is often waterlogged from mountain run-off (The Black Mountain is not exactly adverse to rain, it must be said), but also because a diminunitive avenue of very small stones leads up to the circle from the fledgling river below. Whether this was simply a pragmatic guide to arrival - the site is not visible from the Tawe's banks here (and, in fact, is only visible from certain points in the valley, assuming you know where to look) - or purely symbolic is something we'll obviously never know. Judging by the dimensions of the avenue stones I'd go with the latter, since the Tawe is very much non-navigable at this point, being little more than a cascading stream.

The circle stones are just as small, many barely breaking the surface of the mountainside, which makes the substantial bulk of Maen Mawr - the 'large stone' - all the more striking. Two very, very much smaller uprights just beyond hint at astronomical sightings.

Approached via the mountain road to/from Trecastle, look for a glimpse of Maen Mawr above the river when the prominent Nant-y-llyn waterfalls grace the hillside beyond. Note that the river can be VERY difficult to cross, particularly after heavy rain, so take care. This is a hostile, windswept spot, so dress up or your visit may end up short - and wet!
21st June 2009ce

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