I approached from the west from Orsedd Wen cairn, it wasn't until the second time I crossed the strange linear earthen bank and ditch that I realised what it was, the best section of Offa's dyke that ive yet seen, silly me, well I never did, foot of our stairs and so on.
It was only a ten to fifteen minute walk from Orsedd Wen to Selattyn hill ring cairn, so while i'm here I thought I might as well, other wise I'd probably not have bothered to have come here.
The heather covered remains have never really appealed to me, the tower dumped in the middle of it, the forestry all round it, half the ring gone, all this persuaded me to give it a miss, but, I am close by so here I am.
Glad of that I am too, it was better than I thought, hidden from the outside world, hanging on in there and delighting even those that didnt really want to come. Sure, Mr Crewe's tower isn't easy to ignore, in fact it should be torn down. But half the trees have come down opening up views across Shropshire and Cheshire, unfortunately more have been planted and are now shooting up.
The ring cairn survives to about two thirds of it's circumference, and is still about a meter high.
The heather is slowly going to cover the cairn material utterly, seeing the difference between thesweetcheats pictures and mine (3 years) is a bit disheartening, the place is about as visitable as it's ever going to get, which isn't much, another three years and it'll be gone again.
Now comes the biggest hill of the day, one I’m looking forward to greatly as it boasts the first prehistoric site we’ve been to since leaving Castell Dinas Bran. It only requires a short diversion off the Path to reach it, through an area of recently felled forestry. Standing at a reasonable 372m, the summit of Selattyn Hill is high enough to command excellent views into Shropshire, as well as of the Berwyns to our west and (I think) the Breiddins to the south. Seeing the former gives me much pleasure, as we sure didn’t see much when we were on them!
The monument here is a ring cairn, sadly much trashed by the plonking of a stupid Victorian tower (now itself ruined) in its centre. However, traces of the stonework that comprised the ring can still be seen protruding through a heather covering. The construction is a wide bank of large blocks of stone, and would have been pretty impressive without the tower. It is best seen on the northern arc, the southern being very overgrown. It’s a great spot though, now that the surrounding forestry has been felled to open up the views, and should be even better once the resulting debris has started to break down. There is another cairn (Orsedd Wen) on the next hill to the west, but we can’t make this out today. It is also noticeable how few footpaths there are on the Welsh side of the border here.
Whatever the post-Roman politics of the Welsh border, Selattyn represents a natural frontier, as the last hill above 1,000 ft before the drop down to the Cheshire/North Shropshire plain to the east. Certainly a worthy place for the twelve urns containing burnt human bone, found here when the tower was built.
At length we head off south, alongside an ancient field boundary composed of huge boulders and an equally large field clearance heap. I find a small sliver of flint on the path, apparently worked (but broken) and certainly not native to this part of Shropshire.
A probable Early Bronze Age ring cairn containing the remains of a belvedere, Selattyn Tower, built in 1847. The cairn is circa 22 metres in diameter, comprising an unrevetted stony bank 3 metres wide and up to 0.8 metres high, enclosing a circular area 16 metres in diameter. Small scale excavation in 1998 recovered some sherds of Early Bronze Age pottery and fragments of cremated bone from the central area. During construction of the belvedere in 1847, 12 urns containing cremations were found. Selattyn Tower was built to commemorate the death of Prince Gwen, a 6th century prince who according to legend was killed in the vicinity during a battle between the British and the Saxons.