On the way I just had to show the children this wonderful site.
This is one of those places that you know you will return to again and again.
We parked as before and before long we were heading down the path towards the burial chamber. Since my last visit the path had become quite overgrown in places and the nettles were winning the battle with my bare legs!
I lifted the children over the fence and we soon at this magical place.
If there are such things as magical places – this is one of them.
Particularly on the weekend when the quarry is closed and all that can be heard is birdsong and running water.
The babbling water of the stream, the boulders and trees heavily laden in a matting of green moss. And of course the wonderful burial chamber itself. It was damp here today; judging by the amount of moss around I imagine this is the norm.
I could go on and on about this place but I won’t.
All I will say is if at all possible please try to visit.
You won’t be disappointed.
Even little Sophie (not renowned for her prehistoric interests) asked ‘can we come back again one day?’
What better endorsement could you wish for?
Drive south through the village of Llangynog and you will come to a recycling area on your right. This is a large concreted area with several recycling bins for glass, clothes etc. There is plenty of room to park next to the bins. Follow the stepped path down towards the water works but bear right towards the bridge. From the bridge (at this time of year) you can see the Dolmen in the trees to your right – 3 minute easy walk.
The rusty gate at the end of the bridge which should give you access to the wood/Dolmen was padlocked shut. You are therefore left with the option of either climbing over a small barbed wire fence or over the wooden hand rail of the bridge. Neither of which are difficult to do.
I walked over to the Dolmen and sat quietly.
It is a very peaceful place at 8.30am with just the sound of the nearby stream and bird song for company. The Dolmen, surrounding tree trunks and boulders are all covered in a thick layer of moss - dry and soft to the touch – very tactile.
Although the Dolmen is quite small it is in good condition and the capstone is surprisingly thick, supported by 2 upright stones. One large and several small pieces of quartz had been placed under the capstone. More strange were (what appeared to be) the animal teeth which I assume were left as ‘offerings’?
It had been an early start and a 2 hour drive to get here. Was it worth it – absolutely!
I sat quietly, admiring the location and contemplated how wonderful it was that this place had survived the millennia.
Peace was shattered bang on 9.00am when the roar of vehicles could be heard from the adjacent quarry (thankfully not visible from the Dolmen due to the trees).
Time to go……………
If you ever happen to be in this part of the world, please make the effort to visit this site. It is easy to access and well worth it. I am sure you won’t be disappointed. This is one of those places that allow you to re-charge the soul.
Languishing in the 'visit some day on the way back from Pembrokeshire' file, a visit to this fine, little cromlech was never gonna happen without some external influence. Not worth the journey alone, I thought..... how wrong can you be?
It therefore took a visit to the Gwal-y-Filiast (Dolwilym) chamber - with similar canine associations and not dissimilar siting - to up the ante, so to speak. Consequently Mam Cymru and I arrive in sleepy Llangynog on an overcast morning and park by the village hall for a brew, an English prerequisite before any exploration, you understand. Initial perceptions of a place can be deceptive, however, the image of a blind man 'power walking' down the road leaving us, frankly, in awe - and I not a little ashamed of the way I sometimes tackle my own 'issues'.
Although there is parking nearer the site, we decide to walk from here since the hedgerows are alive with all kinds of 'stuff' the Mam knows by heart... unlike her somewhat limited brother who'd probably poison himself in a flash. A public footpath veers left as we approach houses and descends to the river whereby, upon crossing a bridge, notices warn the traveller there is no access (due to deep excavations, as I recall). The fence, however, is not a problem, passers by on the main path completely unperturbed.
The chamber looms through the woodland a little above the gurgling stream/river, but far below road level, the substantial, slipped capstone and orthostats covered with moss. If ever there's a 'Dingley Dell', this is it... so close to civilisation, yet a million miles away in terms of vibe and sense of place. The chamber is completely subservient - in a landscape context - to the stream, which fills the air with sound, for once not seeping from someone's poxy I-pod. How refreshing, how unusual. So that's the siting settled, then. I'm puzzled by the 'greyhound' connotations, however. Unlike the aforementioned Dolwilym (or Donegal's Kilclooney More, for that matter), no mystic mutt guides the visitor to this site, so did this refer to a 'grey hound', as in wolf? Dunno.
In accordance with Postie's observations there are indications of recent ritual activity here. However - unlike other sites I've visited - it is unobtrusive and doesn't have an impact, to be honest. True, I'd rather have nothing, but stuff such as this is less damaging than used condoms, for example.
Sorry Ocifant, but this cracking dolmen couldnt have been easier to find, you must have asked the wrong Postman. At the south end of Llangynog on the western side of the road is a carpark with footpath leading almost straight to it, both carpark and path look new though so we'll let him off. when the path forks turn right and on to the bridge, its off to the right amongst the trees there is even a gate at the end of the bridge but it was locked. I didnt take the right hand fork in the path and ended up stepping stoneing across the river and into the quarry, then I started wading through neck high bracken and was beginning to think this was another lost site, but just then a chest high beige coloured pony came right up to me out of no where( how cool would it have been to meet a greyhound) it then began to toss its head in the direction of the river, being one to accept and act upon signs and portents I went in that direction. After two minutes following the small river back towards the carpark it seemed to pop out from behind the trees. I had secretly wished this one to be a goodun, and it was.
Three moss covered stones between two and three feet tall make up the chamber and the large thick capstone leans against one side, reminding me of in size atleast Maen y Bardd on Tal y Fan up north. At first it seemed tranquil and serene, but then it took an ominous turn when I noticed someone had been collecting quartzy pebbles probably from the new footpath, and the soft ground was disturbed in a ring around the dolmen, dancing wiccans make me nervous, don't know why they just do, it was time to go anyway, so I did.
Upon returning to the carpark I realised I'd lost me filter and attachment ring so I returned to the stones, then I realised I'd not replaced two big quartz stones from in the chamber not wanting to anger any spirits I put them back and asked for them back foolish maybe but I got back the car and returned two more times (it isnt far) finally finding it by the side of the river
Hoooooray viva la spirits.
When I finally got home and put the pictures on the computer I saw that at least half of them were very blurry, just the ones from this dolmen, not from any of the other places I'd been to just this one. Hmmmm?
This cromlech lies by a brook in a steep sided valley. Twlc y Filiast means 'Lair of the Greyhound Bitch'.
I couldn't find anything to connect it directly with this site, but Ceridwen (moon goddess) had the greyhound bitch as one of her symbols - in fact she could turn herself into one:
"The dog was an animal of importance in the mythology and folk-lore of Wales. Ceridwen, the moon goddess, had for one of her symbols a "miliast," or greyhound bitch. When initiating Gwion the Little into her mysteries, Ceridwen transformed herself into a "milast."
The canine symbol of Ceridwen was well known in Wales, and is perpetuated in many places to this day. Gwal y Filiast, "the lair of the greyhound bitch," in the parish of Llanbendy, Carmarthenshire, consists of a large stone supported by four pillars. There is another Gwal y Filiast in Glamorgan, and in Cardiganshire a similar stone is called Llech yr Ast, "the flat stone of the bitch." In the parish of Llanhamlwch, Breconshire, there is a place called Maen yr Ast, "the bitch stone," abbreviated into Mannest."
(chapter 6 of Marie Trevelyan's 'Folklore and Folkstories of Wales' 1909).
You may be familiar with an example of it which is part of the story of Taliesin. As a boy he was being employed to keep an eye on a cauldron she was brewing up, full of a spell that would make the drinker the wisest person in the world. A bit of the mixture spat out and burned his thumb, so he instinctively put it in his mouth to soothe it. But of course he'd swallowed some of the mixture! So realising that Ceridwen would be very angry (she is portrayed as a miserable old witch in the story) he legged it.
When she found out what had happened and started running after him, he found he could become a hare to run faster. She then turned herself into a greyhound and began to gain on him. As they passed a river he quickly turned himself into a fish and dived in - but he wasn't safe because she followed him as an otter. Jumping out of the water he transformed himself into a songbird and flew higher and higher - but was once more pursued as she sprouted wings and became a hawk. Quick thinking, he changed himself into a tiny grain of wheat, and plummeted to the ground, but she landed next to him, became a hen, and gobbled him up. Later on, when she'd turned back into a woman, she found she was pregnant (but that's a different story...) http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/mab/mab32.htm