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

Lower Neuadd

Standing Stone / Menhir


Visited 22.5.2010 in very hot weather, approaching from Fan y Big along the Gap Road. After a bit of welcome shade near the filter house, I emerged blinking into the parking area to the south-east of Lower Neuadd reservoir. It took me a while to clock the stone, which is pretty small and barely sticks its head above the grass. It stands in a scrubby area right next to the parking area and the views north to the high peaks are blocked by a line of conifers. My initial reaction (given how far I'd walked to get here from Storey Arms) was "is that it?".

But pause a moment. Here we are in the valley of the Taf Fechan, which starts from springs on the slopes of Pen y Fan itself, the highest point in Southern Britain. These days, the Taf Fechan has been dammed twice by the time it gets to this point in order to provide water for Merthyr, but 3 or 4,000 years ago it would have been rushing down unfettered straight from the mountain. It seems pretty likely that a stream running from such an undoubtedly revered place (witness the summit cairn on Pen y Fan) would have had some significance to a people for whom the elements and the landscape were a hugely important part of their lives. A cluster of bronze age cairns can also be found further upstream, now encroached by the waters of the Upper Neuadd reservoir.

So this humble little standing stone, perhaps not much to look at itself, sits next to a stream that may have been sacred and acts as a marker, pointing the way up to an unarguably impressive landscape of peaks. Worth coming after all...
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
3rd June 2010ce
Edited 4th June 2010ce

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