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

Bwlch Cairn



Visited 10.4.2010, on a gloriously sunny spring day. The site is within a short but steep walk of Bwlch (served by the Abergavenny-Brecon-Cardiff bus service) along the Beacons Way footpath. I wish I'd had a look at Coflein before coming, as there are a huge number of monuments here on the slopes of Cefn Moel, many not marked on the OS 1:25000 map. A repeat visit is clearly required.

From the south-west, the first cairn encountered is Bwlch Cairn, easily visible because of the small modern cairn that has been added to its top. The original cairn is much bigger in diameter and has been dug into at some point. From here views start to open out over Pen Allt-mawr to the east and the central Beacons to the south-west.

The path continues on across easy grassy terrain. To the east there is a whole complex of unmarked monuments, which sadly I knew nothing about! The next cairn encountered on the route I took was Ffynnon-las round cairn I, which is grass-covered and fairly low. Again there are excellent views of Pen Allt-mawr - Coflein indicates that there may still be intact burials to discover in this one (speculatively of course).

The next cairn Pen-yr-Heol Las lies to the west of the path, on the other side of a drystone wall - it is on access land but I didn't go over to investigate further as I had other places to get to.

As the path continues in a northerly direction, still gaining height as it approaches the 380m mark the largest cairn of all comes into view, Cefn Moel round cairn. This is a huge thing, 14m across on its largest axis. It is an irregular oval shape and has been greatly disturbed. Coflein mentions a "stone setting" on the SE, but as I hadn't read about this before going I didn't give it the attention it deserved.

Crossing the grassy summit of Cefn Moel, the path descends to the most northerly part of the cemetery complex, a group of round cairns known as Blaen-y-Cwm Uchaf. They sit on saddle between Cefn Moel and the higher Mynydd Llangorse (the summit of which is out of sight), with views along the shallow cwm to the south-west. The southern cairn has been much disturbed but again these are massive cairns, all 10m + in diameter.

There is clearly much more going on here than my passing visit allowed me to see and a return is definitely required, not least to check out the further monuments on the eastern part of Cefn Moel. But unlike these ancient structures, my time is fleeting and I was off to Mynydd Troed.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
19th April 2010ce
Edited 27th August 2013ce

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