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

The Werfa

Round Barrow(s)


If I recall correctly, Tom Hanks delivers the immortal lines "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get" in Fforrest Gump. The same could be said to apply when visiting obscure prehistoric sites... such as the remains of the Bronze Age round barrow set a little below, and to the south, of the 1,864ft summit of The Werfa.

Unfortunately the ubiquitous label 'Tumulus' marked upon the OS map gives no indication as to what may - or may not - exist beneath the dominating transmitter antennae which crown the summit of the high ground to the west of The Rhondda. In short, there's only one way to find out... don the boots! Or perhaps get on your bike. Two ways, then. Two previous visits having been thwarted by snow-bound roads and zero visibility, an incidental visit has thus become a 'must visit'. I will not be denied. Or something like that.

There are a number of possible approaches. However I choose the easiest, from the A4107 mountain road to the approx north-east. Verge parking is possible beside the gated entrance to the concrete track accessing the transmitter station (please don't block this like a tourist muppet). Then.... simply follow the track, veering left (unless you fancy a trip to the summit first, that is) until the edge of the escarpment overlooking Cwm Garw looms. Here, just before the track swings sharply right you might - if you're lucky - make out the seriously denuded round barrow to your left. OK, perhaps it's not as bad as that, but the disappointment is palpable after the false starts. Nothing more to report, I'm afraid. Worth a wander for a look, but the archaeology isn't exactly going to blow you away, so to speak. The weather might well, though.

However... as Mr Hanks duly noted, life rarely goes to plan... and Mother Wales usually has something up her sleeves. Yeah, sure enough, I notice a prominent cairn some way distant upon the (approx) southern skyline. Checking the map, this appears to be Carn-yr-hyrddod. A named cairn? Well, it would be rude not to have a shufti, I guess?
31st March 2011ce
Edited 1st April 2011ce

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