As we attained the furthest reaches of the Kerzerho alginments a sign quietly and confidently pointed the way to Mane Braz. I cant resist it, how far can it be down some footpath, not far surely. We quickly use an adjacent corn field for it's universally accepted "other use" and set off down the thin tree lined pleasant foot path. Every now and then a stone can be seen in the trees, soon there are a dozen or so stones off to our right, these upon later inspection turn out to be the Alignment de Kerjean. We take a quick look but soon are back on the path to Mane Braz.
Ten minutes in and we come to a crossroads in the forest, we go straight on, well, I thought, this is definitely further than I anticipated.
Following a couple far in front we veer off the main path, there is no sign, but it has that feeling.
The big main dolmen comes into view first, it is a large complicated affair. Two entrances there are, one in what I presume to be the front, and one on its left hand side, it seems very much intact, there is even cairn material clutching to it's sides.
That I thought would be it, but there's more, a second dolmen is just twenty feet away, with its unroofed entrance facing the same way as the side entrance to the other dolmen. This second dolmen has two capstones, but this maybe broken.
There's more, a third very low passage oriented in the same direction as the others, only one capstone remains at it's far end, it is very low.
Then there is a little bit more, beyond the third low dolmen is another low passage leading to an unroofed chamber, it is also very low, because of the undergrowth I couldn't tell which way the passage went , but I think it went in the opposite direction of the other three entrance ways.
But the big main dolmen was the best of the bunch, apparently the whole group would have been enclosed and covered by a single mound, how cool would that be.
You get so much out of this place, it is a show stealer, we stayed too long and had to jog back as my daughter was left in the car with no more company than an ipod.
From Erdeven, the walk to Mané Braz was probably around 30-40 minutes, though it has to be said that the rain lent me speed!
Could also be reached in the opposite direction through the woods from Mané Groh, via Coët-er-Bei (and La Chaise de César).
The walk through the woods is all on good but circuitous tracks (not too muddy even in the filthy weather I had!). Mostly pretty flat with only a few pretty gentle gradients.
All along, I was very grateful that the paths were signposted, as it was so wet that I don't think the rain would have done a map or a book any good at all. And truth be told, the only maps I had would probably have proved sadly inadequate.
Just before I reached Mané Braz, the path started to climb a bit, and the land began to rise above me on my left. Probably at around this point, Julian seems to describe the dolmens as being visible from the path, but I wasn't in the mood for stopping and studying the lie of the land any more than necessary, trusting completely to the signs.
(I think there's probably also a shortcut at some point here but I didn't think it was worth trying, especially with limited time and the sopping undergrowth.)
Visited Sunday 17 April 2005
Really beautiful on a thinly tree-grown, glade-like mound, there are 4 monuments in one here, all originally having apparently been covered by a single oval mound or tumulus.
The first 2 that I approached (from the SE) were a classic Brittany passage grave with transepts, and a 'simpler' passage grave. There is also a heavily denuded semi-subterranean one and, finally, the stripped remnants of another (that can hardly even be termed megalithic in its current state!)
If only the sun had been out, what a place for a relaxing picnic, a chill and a chat!!! And the walk would be lovely in the sun! I've since learnt that there seems to be another very ruined dolmen to the SW of the mound, and a fallen menhir to the south.
I spent 15-20 minutes at the dolmens and it wasn't nearly long enough. It didn't help that a fair bit of it was spent crouching in the chamber of the largest dolmen, juggling batteries, as I'd forgotten to recharge our SLR and those in our 'point & shoot' were now also practically dead.