It's been so long since my last time here I haven't a clue which way I came from, all I remember is it was across lots of fields and we eventually came at it from the east.
That was the wrong way, approach from the south, much easier, comparatively.
My daughter Phil and me attempted to follow the footpath to it, for there is one, but it is never used and so overgrown as to be invisible. It was too overgrown for my girls soft girly legs, she went back to the car, whilst I battled on. A big machete would be very handy here.
Eventually I came out of the trees and there are the big stones. They are very big, and very white, and with no farm park I was free to clamber up on to the top of them. It was now that I received a phone call asking if we wanted to go out to the Plough for tea, grumbles, and no Trefignath, but ok.
I walked all around looking at the stones from near and far, I scrambled on the stones and crawled underneath them, I had a good look at them close up too, I doubted that they were entirely made of quartz, but on closer inspection it looks like they are.
Imagine if this was next door to Duloe stone circle, quartzite heaven.
It's generally accepted that they are a fortuitous arrangements of rocks, evidence of an ancient burial remaining unsubstantiated, but I see no reason why the large flat stone could not have been moved into it's current position, I cant think how else it got where it is.
On a visit this week (June '10), I found that the "Theme Park" is now closed and seemingly abandoned. Wandering around the deserted site alone made for a strange atmosphere - very Scooby Doo! It does mean that the stones can now be accessed free without ninja-style early morning raids, however.
Three fields in from the really rather good farm park. Great selection of ride-ons for kids.
According to Frances Lynch (Prehistoric Anglesey 1970, 167):
"More is known about the burials close to the large stones at Henblas, Llangristiolus, but a good deal of confusion remains. The stones in question, which are huge glacial erratics, were long considered to be an artificial structure, some monstrous megalithic tomb, and have naturally attracted a good deal of legend and speculation. It seems clear that there were originally other stones," (see Rhiannon below) "probably more erratics, in the vicinity, and that in removing these an urn containing burnt bones and a ring of blue glass were found. Even though the stones are a natural feature, this burial need not be doubted for they are a very remarkable phenomenon which must have attracted the attention and admiration of a people used to setting up meini hirion and other large stone monuments"
I was adament that I would not be paying to see these stones, so I parked on the road near the footpath, hopped over a few stiles then over a couple of fields. Having been chased by angry bulls I was ready to give up. Just one more field and WOW... there they are! A stile leads into the field right next to the monument. It's truly massive with a fantastic view of Snowdonia. Sneaking should be left to early mornings (Welsh farmers can get quite irrate - remember your Ninja training).
The owners of the farm have turned the site into a commercial attraction by the way that the tractor rides are organised, and it forms part of the greater 'day out' experience of Henblas.
That said, I think it is well worth the visit just because of it's location.
It is very easy to understand why the monument was built there. The views towards Snowdonia on the mainland are spectacular, and without any scientific evidence (no compass with me etc) there is an awsome view towards two peaks in the mountains which one could imagine may form some sort of alignment in the V of the pass.
Never realised or understood quite what the significance of these stones were until I checked out the site...
Henblas is now a tourist-type farm attraction with childrens play area, falconry displays et al. One of the attractions is a bone-shaking ride on a tractor-pulled trailer which loops around the farm and does a circle about this monument. We thought it was a natural occurence until seeing the photograph on this site. I don't know if it's worth the ( not inconsiderable ) entrance fee to see the stones alone, but the kids loved the farm though..!
Welcome to another of my speculative posts. But I like to think this one's got something going for it. Ifan Gruffydd was a farmhand, also an author of two books of memoirs. He was born in Llangristiolus in 1896, so it seems highly likely to me that when he talks about Henblas Wood he's talking about the wood next to the cromlech at this Henblas. And I would think that makes the 'cave', the cromlech itself - that's a term that's used at other sites too, the ogof.
Did your mother believe in the fairies?
Well, I can't say if she believed or not, but she would give me the impression that she did. And that impression, of course, caused me to believe. Yes to believe firmly in the fairies and to take a keen interest in them, although I would be afraid of them. And you'd be in trouble if you came across the fairies, or they came across you, in some enclosure or wood where they lived. And they lived in many places. They lived in Coed yr Henblas (Henblas Wood), as we say. And in the cave - Ogof Pitar Graen (Peter Green's Cave) we used to call it. Well, the fairies were there. There was no argument about that. But, of course, they wouldn't be out all the time. Sometimes when it was quiet the fairies would play outside the cave's door, so they said. And the old people used to say that they always had their eye on small children - if they could get hold of them. If they caught a young child, they would take it inside the cave and keep it for a year and a day.
More notes on the story are here at the Museum of Wales site:
In the printed version of this story Ifan Gruffydd stated that he was around seven to eight years old when he first saw the little family on Christmas Day, and he calls the cave 'Yr Ogof Fawr' ['The Great Cave']. In his reminiscences on tape, however, when questioned further about the cave he made this comment:
'We call it 'Ogof Pitar Graen' ["Peter Green's Cave"]. Some old boy called Peter Green had been living there, you see. Well, the old cave was frequented by many people such as those I've mentioned to you. The occasional tramp, you see, making his home in the cave for a week, say, or a fortnight, or sometimes for the whole winter. Venturing out to gather what food he could in the countryside... and some were craftsmen who could go round the farms asking whether they needed tools sharpening, or dishes mended - wooden dishes I mean now... An old tailor, perhaps, wandering. Well, no one would know how he'd come to be in that state... I saw many a family, too, who'd seen better times.'
I have recently been informed by a middle-aged person who was born at the farmhouse, that he well remembers a stone about 5 feet high, and 6 in diameter, situated four or five paces in advance of the south-west upright, and in perfect line with the south-west side of the chamber-entrance; which we may well imagine to have been the last remnant of a once existing gallery or avenue. He also mentioned that a stone, represented as a very large one, was broken up and removed by his father from the north-west side of the cromlech, near to the cap-stone. This we may naturally suppose was one of the supporters.
The objects of interest discovered by my informant in his younger days, near to the cromlech, were -- a small ring of blue glass, an urn containing ashes, and a slab of freestone, 4 feet long, beneath which were two or three barrowsful of ashees without pottery or masonry.
Some interesting information. I take it he didn't feel quite up to burying the big stones.
This is the most gigantic cromlech in Great Britain. It consists of three stones, the uppermost of which has fallen off the other two to the westward.
It was approached by an avenue of stones from the south-east, which, as we were informed on the spot in 1846 by the man who did it, were buried by him, just as they stood, in order to disencumber the surface of the ground.
The stones of the cromlech are so vast that it may almost be doubted whether they were ever raised by man; the uppermost stone being about 20 feet by 18 feet, and 10 feet thick; and the side ones being nearly double of it in cubical content.
From 'List of Early British Remains in Wales. No. III' in vol 1 (3rd series) of Archaeologia Cambrensis (1855). Online at Google Books.