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

Pen y Gadair Fawr

Round Cairn


Visited with the Mam Cymru, by way of a direct, very steep ascent from the secluded Grwyne Fawr valley - we're getting too old for this lark, I'm afraid - the 2,624 ft summit of Pen y Gadair Fawr is crowned by a substantial cairn-spread, perched upon which is a rather 'dodgy' looking modern effort. The size of the latter apparently varies according to the vagaries of the winter storms; a rather feeble construction, if the truth be told. Huh, they don't make 'em like they used to, do they?

Not so the remnants of the original which, as the photo shows, would have been of a fair old size and is still pretty extensive. Well worth the trouble in reaching and worthy of such a major peak.

Coflein isn't conclusive as to period of origin, but nevertheless reckons:

".....The circular cairn is constructed of small easily-portable stones forming a dense pile and measures 15m diameter and 2.5m high. The grassed-over base of the cairn measures about 1 metre high. The exposed pile of stones on the top, which has been rebuilt in modern times, is about 5 metres across. The feature could be a burial mound, and has extensive, panoramic views......"

As mentioned, the views from the cairn are simply magnificent, stretching all the way to distant Sugar Loaf Mountain and Blorenge above Abergavenny... nearer to hand, the Maen Llwyd stands at the apex of forestry below to the (approx) south. Said to be the highest sited standing stone in South Wales, it apparently aligns upon a man-made notch near Mynydd Llysiau, across the Grwyne Fechan to the west. Nice. Sadly we didn't have the energy reserves to check this out this time around.
17th November 2009ce
Edited 17th November 2009ce

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