Also known as Mane Groh, this is another well signposted dolmen just outside of Crucano, and right next to a lane just off the main road.
Although we are on our way back home after a hard day megalithing I just can’t pass up the little brown signs signifying an ancient monument without feeling an irresistible urge to stop. I still can’t get used to literally falling over megaliths that at home I’d be blown away by if I’d driven several hours to see a site half as impressive.
And impressive Mane Croch is. The name means ‘the sorceress’s hill’, and it consists of a T-shaped passage grave of satisfyingly chunky stones, which leads into a well preserved chamber. A couple of the capstones have been removed, almost as if someone's taken the lid off so you can look inside, where an axe head carving is visible on one of the orthostats, thanks to being handily outlined in chalk.
It’s yet another site surrounded by woodland, and a path leads off through the woods which takes in other megalithic sites, but sadly it is too late in the day to wander far this evening. We have a meander about nearby and find a jumble of stones that once may have been the remains of a now destroyed dolmen, as well as a small cist near the main site, and the path tantalisingly beckons on towards further unseen megalithic riches. Still it’s no hardship to just spend some time here instead.
Burl says it would have once been covered by a rectangular mound and is aligned toward the SSE. There are several of these types of passage dolmen in the vicinity, and they are certainly unlike any I’m used to from Britain, but having seen so many they all start to blur together and I struggle to remember which one is which but Mane Groh is memorable by virtue of a carved stone trough which sits beside the dolmen.
We have a wander in the woods nearby and come upon a lovely lake, dotted with reed beds and small islets, it sits amongst the trees, and I almost imagine a shimmering arm to emerge clutching a sword, such is the look of the place. Alas no Lady of the Lake today, but we do spot a pair of little egrets wading in the water.
What I forget until later is just how close several other monuments are through the woods nearby, particularly Caeser’s chair, which on my last visit I didn’t get any photographs of as my camera batteries had died, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t get chance to take some today. Still the dolmen is itself a worthy place to visit on its own, so I shouldn’t sound ungrateful. We have the place to ourselves and I happily poke about in the transepted chamber. The shadows lengthen as we sit at the dolmen, tired after the day’s exertions, and thoroughly old stoned out. What can you say, another superb Breton dolmen.
Access: Easy to reach from the Dolmen de Crucuno, as it is right beside the road from Crucuno to the D105. The monument is up a high verge, which is short but quite steep.
Take the D781 between Erdeven and Plouharnel, turning NE to the village of Crucuno. You can't miss the Dolmen of Crucuno as it is against the wall of a farmhouse-type building on the village green.
To reach Mané Groh, continue through the village for around 500 metres, just past a forestry road into the woods on the left. Park on the right (east) of the road, the dolmen is on the left. Or park at the little carpark a little way up the forestry road and walk back.
Coët-er-Bei is only a few hundred metres away along the forestry road, bearing right and is signposted from there.
Visited Sunday 17 April 2005
A beauty! I failed to find this when I was in Brittany in the late 90s, mainly because I had really lousy maps, no time, a partner who wasn't very interested, and I thought it was in the woods....
Nothing really to add to Jane and Mark's descriptions, so I'll shut up!
Just about 500ms away from Crucuno quadrilateral up among some trees is Mane Groh dolmen - a lovely allee couverte with four transepted chambers and lots of capstones still up. A little stone cist, not unlike a water trough for horses, stands very close by.
I came here for two reasons, firstly because I have not been here for two years and on that occasion I took no notes and secondly to try and find the second dolmen claimed to be to the north of here. I have already failed on the second count as I traipsed around much high gorse and heather and found nothing.
So now to Mane Croch, I now remember why I liked this place so much the last time and how my photos did it no justice. A long passage leads to a chamber that it transepted into four. The stones are all of a lovely chunky local granite. No mound covers this dolmen now and there is no capstone over the centre of the four chambers. It could be that this part of the roof was corbelled and that this site was a mixture of those two construction methods, both common in the area. In fact at nearby Mané Braz the roof is formed by a sort of 'mega-corbelling'.
The layout of this monument is clearly similar to UK sites such as West Kennet long barrow and I like to believe that the dolmens of the Carnac area were a direct influence on those of southern England.