One of the main attractions of this walk for me, apart from the brilliance of the summit cairns, is the two stone circles shown on the OS map along our return route. The second, Bannau Sir Gaer, is the better known, already visited and chronicled by Postie. But the first is virgin TMA territory. Coflein are dismissive of the site, and on getting here it’s easy to see why.
We found the narrow track that the OS map shows as bisecting the site easily enough, but it crosses an area of plentiful small stones. Some are vaguely upright, but it would take a determined eye to be convinced that there is a circle here, unless we’ve missed something. My companions were certainly not impressed! Not far from the site, we came across a neat little spiral of blocks, half-hidden in the tufty grass. Someone has spent time here, to make that. To be fair, the setting is lovely, with the pointed prows of be-cairned Twr-y-Fan Foel and Fan Foel providing the main focal points. To the north, the land gradually slopes away towards Nant Tarw, although the circles aren’t visible from here, as far as I could tell.
We head away from the setting across the tussocky, peaty moor of Waun Lwyd, close to the source of the river Usk/Afon Wsyg, one of South Wales' major rivers, which passes close to the Nant Tarw circles as well. It may be significant that the Tawe, another important river, rises not far away to the east, before passing Cerrig Duon & The Maen Mawr. There’s certainly plenty of scope for water-based theory and speculation about the siting of these monuments.
Putative stone circle (marked as such on OS), rather dismissed by Coflein as follows:
Site of an alleged stone circle, first noted by PM Jones and surveyed by OS in 1981.
Over the last few years repeated searching for this site for the Brecknock Inventory had failed to re-locate the stone circle. A recent search under late winter/early spring vegetation conditions was again unsuccessful at finding a setting of upright and leaning stones evoking a stone circle. Although vaguely defined on the ground, the mountain path (little more than a sheep trail), which is shown by OS as roughly bisecting the circle, was located with some confidence. Subsequently, an arrangement of stones matching the disposition shown on the OS plan was found.
The site lies on gently sloping N-facing ground in which lie scattered stones and boulders, some loose, others earthfast, protruding through the turf. A putative circle of c.21m in diameter appears to have been drawn through 17 or so of these on either side of the pathway. The largest are on the N, the smallest on the S as described. The central stone was also noted. However, the arrangement does not form a convincing stone circle given that similar stones and small boulders abound in the vicinity. The hollow just outside the SW quadrant could not be specifically identified in ground which is generally undulating and marked by peat cutting.
David Leighton, RCAHMW, May 1993
It's a while since Mr Leighton visited. Has anyone been to look for this? More to the point, does anyone fancy going to look for it?