We parked the car by the church at Ysbyty Cynfyn, an interesting place on its own with upto four standing stones in its wall, but today Eric and me all but ignored them as we took the path up and over the hill behind it. The path then descends into a steeeep sided gorge thickly
covered in moss covered trees, the gorge is crossed by a not to sturdy bridge high above the dark swirling river. Once crossed, it's up the
hill, head for the stiles in the fences and not only will you be in the comfort zone of "Right of way" but youll be just fifty feet from the circle
which admittedly is outside said comfort zone, but hey, sue me. (No dont)
Funny how they sneak up on you isn't it ? I almost blundered on past the stones thinking they were more on top of the hill, untill they came
into view off to the right. I think I counted twelve stones all together from the two tallest stones of about three feet to the smallest one which
struggled to get above the grass, at about an inch,though the smaller stones just make the others look bigger.
There are a number of this type of circle with in just a few miles of each other, this one is marked on the map as cairn so I wonder how many
more there are hiding under the catch-all name.
The stones are lovely, with lichen and weathering giving them a hoary look of antiquity, and all around the rolling hills occasionally gather
themselves up to a lofty point, it was a quiet and beautiful morning made all the better for having the boy come with me, even if he does need
a small bribe or two.
Dolgamfa (pronounced doll-gam-va) is a small site about half a mile to the west of Ysbytty Cynfyn on the other side of the Rheidol Gorge.
The site is usually described (by the learn-ed) as a kerb or ring cairn, and is similar to the Hirnant just up the road.
At Dolgamfa the grading of the stones is very marked. The taller stones may be aligned with another site or celestial object, but if this is the case I can't identify it. I wonder whether the stones in the circle were intended to be visible rather than buried under the cairn?
You can get to the circle from Ysbytty Cynfyn by crossing over Parson's Bridge. You can also walk in from the village of Ystumtuen. Both routes are relatively short as the crow flies, but from Ysbytty Cynfyn you have to walk down into the gorge then back up again, which is a bit of a climb.
The footpath is well marked coming from both directions, but the Dolgamfa Circle itself isn't marked on the footpath signs where they meet the road, so you may find a map re-assuring. Parking is not a problem whichever route you choose, and it might even be possible to get the bus from Aberystwyth if you're cunning.
In some sources the name of this site is written as 'Dol-y-Gamfa'. Presumably this has been abbreviated to Dolgamfa over the years.
The name 'Dol-y-Gamfa' means something like 'place of the crooked meadow', and if you look at the plateau that the circle sits on, this is very appropriate. I'm pretty certain that the farmstead to the south of the circle shares the same name.