‘Save the best to last’ as they say – and I certainly did.
I hadn’t planned on re-visiting the mighty Carn Llechart but as I was driving past the temptation proved too much. As before I parked up near the yellow grit bin and headed across the moorland towards the stones. Despite not having visited this site for a few years I had no problem finding it. Isn’t it funny how you can return to site years later and remember exactly how to get to it and at the same time be unable to remember where you just left your ‘phone / pen / cup of tea etc!
The place is just how I remembered it. This has to be in the top 10 sites in South Wales. It is fantastic. If you have never visited please try to do so – you are in for a treat. The weather was beautiful and I happily sat down with my back against one of the stones to have my lunch. In front of me was the large cist (bigger than I remembered) and beyond that fine views into the distance. The only sound was of birdsong and the occasional bleating of lambs – bliss!
I could have stayed here all day but I knew before long I would have to start the journey home to pick the children up from school and return to the ‘normal’ world. I stayed until the last possible moment before leaving with a heavy heart.
One thing of possible concern was the tractor / 4x4 tracks running very close to the stones. Very close indeed. The other thing was the kitchen units dumped next to the stone wall alongside the track leading back to the car. Why do people go to all the effort to dump things way out here when it would be far easier to take to a council dump? Still, I suppose it wouldn’t be a South Wales site with some rubbish being dumped in/next to it. I continue to despair……………
The first time I came here the weather was really against us, the fog which was thick was only penatrated by the sideways rain, needless to say we didnt do much photography that day, so I took advantage of the recent and uncharacteristically good weather, borrowed the day voles lightweight ladders, and started the long drive down at 2am-ish.
Just over four hours later and Eric, Arthur and me with ladders were taking the short route to the ring (not like last time), bathed in early morning sunshine and captivated by the dawn chorus that surrounds us, up here above it all.
As Eric has taken possession of my old camera, instead of holding the dog whilst I shimmy up[ and down the ladders he insists on doing as I do and follows me meticulously, getting all the same shots as me.
The ladders were a really good idea here as much of the rings perimeter is obscured by that nice thick grass that grows so well on Welsh hillsides, attaining a much better appreciation of the ring and it's surroundings from ten feet up has lots going for it.
Maybe it was the sunshine or the joy of a long overdue outing but I really liked it here, theres not much reason to leave either as its not well visited especially at 7 in the morning, so we sat here unhindered for over two hours.
Visited (again) 9.5.10.
Back again - as I forgot to look at the burial chamber on my last visit! - and I didn't manage to take Dafydd to Dan-Y-Ogof as promised as we both fell into the steam when visiting Cerrig Doun and the Maen Mawr!!! So, whilst in the area a chance for a repeat visit. As per my previous notes, there is an easier way to find the site. Once you have parked, keep following the field surrounded by a stone wall (on your left) until you reach the SECOND metal field gate. From here, if you look uphill, you can just about see the top of a couple of stones sticking out above the spikey grass - only a 5 minute walk uphill.
Since my last visit floral 'offerings' had been placed in the central cist.
First, directions which I hope will be helpful:
As you drive north through Rhyd-Y-Fro village you will see a pub on your right called the Traveller's Well. Immediately after the pub there is a small turning to your left - take this lane. Follow this lane north and you will eventually go over a cattle grid. Just after the cattle grid is a sharp turning to the left. Take this turning and follow the lane uphill (very sharp turns so take it slow) until you come to a yellow salt grit box - park here. Follow the stone field wall around (to the right) until you reach the metal field gate. From here head out across the moorland aiming slightly to the left of the highest point. As you near the peak you should see the top of the stones peeking out above the 'spikey' grass. The walk will onle take about 10 minutes - NO gorse!!
I really enjoyed this site - better than expected - with wonderful views. Dafydd particularly seemed to enjoy himself playing amongst the stones and was very reluctant to leave. Despite the forecasted rain the weather was dry, with some sunshine and no wind. A lovely place to visit but I am sure the walk would be very boggy after rain.
The cist in the centre of the circle is about 5ft x 3ft and has 3 of its stone sides still remaining.
In February 2004 I posted this news item. I've been keen to visit this site ever since. I have no idea what Brian Perinton and Claire Williams felt when they visited Carn Llechart, but I didn't feel anything except relief to have found the monument and cold because the breeze was arctic! The monument itself is completely alluring and very beautiful. A ring of stones – once the outer walls of a cairn, not a stone circle – stand exposed now without any internal material to support. In the middle is a lovely stone deep stone cist with big flat slabs.
Today in weak midwinter sunlight and with frost picking the flakiness of the stones it looked gorgeous.
Did I mention the views from up here? Wow!! Thankfully you can drive almost to the very top of this hill, leaving just a short walk of 500ms or so.
I have read everything that has been posted, and would like to add that I visit this place regular and have found no ill affects when visiting, in fact quiete the contrary... I find the energy there is very warm and welcoming, not at all malicious, I leave with a renewed sense of wellbeing.
This place must have held some significance at some time as there are also remains of two stone cairns further accross the mountain and I have read that there is a possibility of a burial chamber just over from the ring cairn.
I would also be interested in finding more information about this site, if anyone has any.
I have read your fieldnotes regarding Carn Llechart. I love to visit this site and do so regularly, since being shown it by some local people some time ago. The alter stone, or flat stone from the top of central chamber now lies about 100 yards away from stone circle. Unfortunately, this was apparently removed by the gas board a few years ago. If you look in the farm field to the south west of circle, you will see another stone circle with much larger stones. This was constructed by the gas board to stop the farmers cows from rubbing against the machinery that was stored there. This was going to be the use for the large flat stone. This circle is often mistaken for the original stone circle by many people. I have actually been toying with the idea of setting up a project to return the stone to it's rightful place. Another interesting thing is that the lady who took me there remembers going to the circle as a child and the centre chamber had a sulphur spring underneath. She recalls the strong smell of sulphur that used to be all those years ago.
I had real problems finding this strange monument, I drove up and down the main road before finding the tiny side road that twists and turns up the hillside. Then took the wrong track and spent a long time crawling over the steep slopes in less than favourable weather. It occured to me that if I slipped and tumbled down the hill I might not be found for days!
I had just about given up on finding the stones and headed back across the crest of the hill only to find myself walking straight through the middle of the circle - I really must learn to map-read better :)
Situated high above Pontardawe, visited this site in lunch time from Swansea Enterprise Park (beats a sandwich and a coffee). Views are spectacular, the cairn is situated just over the brow of the hill.. The road up zig-zags but the u-bends have plenty of space to have a couple of goes at getting round. The central cist/chamber is only couple of yards square and there appears to be another collapsed chamber although it could just be some re-arranged dry-stone wall rubble. Sadly had to get back to work. Another to re-visit.