This is a cracking stone, easy to spot amongst the trees right next to the main road into Crickhowell (lovely place to look around). There is a large parking area opposite if you want to get closer. Be careful crossing this road as it's a busy one.
The MOD signs are now gone, and just the metal uprights survive of the enclosing box, as of 27/08/06. You still have to enter through a not very obstructive gate, though much less forbidding than previously.
The growing stone is a very tall, slender menhir, standing sentinel by the roadside about 12 feet high and provides a certain surprising quirkiness at the entrance of a military training establishment. It didn't need medals or stripes or pips to give it authority.
Visited 20th June 2003: I found the stone more tricky to find than I'd expected. From the A40 it was shielded by trees, and some patchy map reading on my part meant we over-shot the turning. There's parking next to the old training camp reception building (a strange 1960s construction) and from here you can hop over the service road to the stone. There were a couple of army vehicles way off at the end of the avenue, behind a typical MOD fence, but it does look like this camp is closed.
The Growing Stone (aka the Cwrt y Gollen Monolith) is surrounded by cobbles, and the remains of a wooden rail are still partially intact on one side of it. Now it looks a bit shabby, but I'd imagine the MOD were very pleased with it when the work was done (nice and orderly). In the Modern Antiquarian book Julian describes removing a rusty sign from the stone, and I could make out the place where this used to be fixed.
The monolith is made from a very large piece of sandstone (apparently 4.17 metres high) and has the strangest strata running along it's length. You can see why people thought it had popped out of the ground. As with Gwernvale, the A40 intrudes on the site, but at least the trees give it some degree of separation from the traffic.
OS 161 SO 232168
From Crickhowell, take A40 towards Abergavenny. 1.4 miles from town centre. Clearly visible from road.
It would appear that Cwrt y Gollen Army Cadet camp is now closed.
Park at the now closed entrance to the camp: large white metal gates, with a white fence on either side, behind the gate is the guard house, on the opposite side of the camp drive is the Growing Stone.
Since Julian's visit, the four-sided fencing around the stone has mostly been removed (the plaque hasn't been re-attached to the stone either).
The area now has a feeling of dereliction (the empty guard house is 'to let') giving a sensation that the Growing Stone abides whilst the usage of the land around it is about to change once more.
An impressive stone, over 4m high, imagine a thickened blade with a blunted tip. Cadw guide for the area states that it is made of red sandstone.
For 3 days previous I had been courtesy of my loved cousin and his Mrs their guest at the Network Q Rally. Big powerful motors tearing across the mountains and big fat petrol heads covering the hill with unfeasable amounts of shit, cans, bottles, take away cartons, burger wrappers. I needed to see this cos if I hadn't I would not have believed how grossly f****d up the majority of us are. An education I badly had to endure.
Night 3 we run away, we camp on the hill away from the tip and the arrogance and sleep good in the wood. Day 4 we head out across the hills and visit The Growing Stone.
Now then what do we anticipate ?
MOD, fences, exclusion, pollution all that crap. a good stone spoiled?
But ah ha brill, dance for joy cos none of that, sure there is a dilapidated fence, the military grounds and the road but....
This stone stood out and rendered all that to invisibility.
Now there is power..
A bad world cured.
You can only see this stone as a sentinal on the valley floor, alone, mist wreathed a tribute to the crop, and instead of standing anachronistic a stranger in a strange land it dissolved everything, transporting me back before we went so badly wrong. I cannot even remember what it looked like now but it saved me then.
There is something here that discards its modern and unfortunate circumstances and imposes its own time.