Not sure where to start with my trip to Anglesey and North Wales so decided on this enigmatic small burial chamber. We went to Plas Newydd with the prime intention of seeing the dolmen on the front lawn of the house. It was a pleasant day so we decided to walk around the extensive grounds starting with the arboretum. I had given up on seeing Bryn-yr-Hen-Bobl as no one I asked seemed to know what I was talking about - on the way back from the wooded area I spotted it in a field adjacent to the Plas Newydd Gardens. We walked up to a locked gate and, feeling furtive, climbed over. The burial chamber itself is protected by a wooden fence and locked gate but easy to see it clearly over the wooden fence. Very satisfying to spot it and manage a quick visit.
I decided to spend the morning on Anglesey to revisit Bryn Celli Ddu & Bodowyr and make another attempt to get to Bryn yr Hen Bobl. I arrived before daybreak, overcast and damp. Like others before me I have tried to access Bryn yr Hen Bobl via Plas Newydd and failed and have been refused entry via the Plas Llanedwen driveway, but today I chose to drive further down the lane towards Moel-y-Don, past the entrance on right to Plas Coch holiday park and turned left down the approach lane to park at Llanedwen Parish Church. If you take a look at the OS map there is a 'path' (not a Public Footpath) marking the way from the church running parallel with the Straits towards Plas Newydd. Judging by the substantial gate pillars and steps/stone stiles this is quite possibly the route taken for Sunday services by residents of both Plas Newydd and Plas Llanedwen in days gone by. You can also pick out this route on Googlemaps.
This discovery was the highpoint of my day. Nobody but the sheep for company, no stealth required and polite 'please close gate' signs on the gates leading straight to the monument! There is a gate out of the grave yard at the rear of the church with another on the rise in the distance. Following the line of the hedge, through the distant gate you arrive low down in the field where Bryn yr Hen Bobl is sited. Tucked into the field perimeter I followed it about 250yds and there it was at the top of the field to my left.
The tree line on the right obscures the magnificent views of Snowdonia which were obviously one of the main reasons for its position. Looking up the field towards the mound you can appreciate its once grand appearance only spoilt today by a picket fence built around its one visible entrance.
This probably is private land, so just in case the 'man with gun' should appear or be watching me from afar today I went undercover of 'birdwatcher' (book & bins around my neck). This was also because when previously refused entry via Plas Llanedwen last year I was asked if I was one of 'those metal detectorists?'. Today it was smug smiles, coffee and home for tea - job done!
The first time we came, a few years ago, we payed at plas newydd and made our way over to the field with the giant, we made friends and went home, great!
This time was different, i'm afraid to say we sneaked ninja style, tresspassing all the way, in our defence we caused no harm left no trace of our visit (excepting the chamber forecourt is now less festooned with dead wood) so I feel no regret.
We parked in the only place available, on the main road near a cottage and private track, walked down the road a bit and when it was quiet jumped the low fenced wall, walked along behind the taller wall amongst the trees, then climb another fence and leg it across the field over another fence and follow the wall around the woods. after the huge mansion has come and gone from view over a low old fence through the trees to a forest track twenty yards further west is another track and from here we can see the most desperately guarded burial chamber there is. To the south is the Menai Strait east is Plas Newydd and west and north has the farms and private properties the sparse pictures on here of it are in stark contrast to all the other well known sites.
I felt it was necassary to do the sneak because Plas Newydd was still closed, though we missed it's opening by only a week and the more difficult it is to get there, the more I want to get there. A footpath directly from the road to the chamber is what we need, free and easy.
I was amazed to see the two tall mature trees from on the chamber summit had gone, but was forlorn to find this 'orrible fence around the chamber it was easy to get in but it does make the place feel "not as good", inside it was much as I had left it 5 years ago, we swapped stories tidied her up a bit and said goodbye.
So, where there's a will there's a way
but will you go all the way.
Owned by Lord Anglesey... so that's why we were made to feel so unwelcome by some bloke with shotgun. Admittedly he didn't say or do anything, but I was glad to get back in the car.
On a dull day last August (06) we'd driven back down the lane from Bryn Celli Ddu & straight across the A4080. Turn 1st left through a gateway (well it didn't say 'Private Road') and I parked at the junction some 500 yards further on. On foot straight ahead on the clear path through the gate for about half a mile on the edge of some woods, and you can see the very large chambered cairn/barrow in the field on your right.
There are trees on top of the barrow, and it looks very forlorn, but its size alone (as big as West Kennett) suggests former glory. One broken down entrance still exists half way along the bottom side but no way in.
On our return to the car we were watched from the safety of his garden by the shotgun bloke. I would like to go back in drier weather to get a better look at the site, but need to persuade June & Sam they weren't gonna get shot!
I love the wiggly stone at the front in Postman's photos. I wonder if it was chosen so you could reach your hand in the gap and get some benefit from being close to the ancestors - rather like at a medieval shrine?
My actual point is that I'm sure the Ancient People were pleased that Postman sneaked over to see them and tidy up a bit - because the name 'Bryn yr Hen Bobl' means 'Hill of the Ancient People'.
Access to the wonderful Bryn-yr-Hen-Bobl has always seemed problematic. However plan in advance and my solution - although admittedly back in October 2006 - was to write to The Marquess of Anglesey to see what the position was..... I quote from his (handwritten) reply:
'Just back from S. Italy to receive your [letter] of 29 Sep. I am v. pleased to give you permission to visit the 2 sites you mention in week beginning 23 October. Remember to shut the gate at the Hen Bobl! Every good wish.....'
Not exactly unfriendly, it has to be said, so suggest this may well be the best option if you wish to hang out at the site in peace. If so, the address is:
The Marquess of Anglesey,
North Wales LL61 6DZ
Bryn-yr-Hen-Bobl lies on private land owned by Lord Anglesey, according to the two biddys behind the counter in the Plas Newydd National Trust ticket office. Occasional 'Archaeological tours' are organised when this and the Plas Newydd site can be visited.