I spotted this cairn from the road last time I was up this way a month or two ago, it wasn't on the map so I wasn't too sure if it was what it looked like or if it was wishful thinking seeing cairns where there are none. But upon returning home I found it on the 1,25000 map and it was on the Portal, so it was added to the list, top priority.
Handily there is a small parking place for one just right where you'll jump the fence, if your that way inclined. I very much am so it took no more than ten minutes from car to cairn.
Upon reaching the top of the hill I came across a weird stone construction before I got to the star of the day. It was a dimple in the ground with low stone walling on one edge, I took it to be some old mine working place wotsit. Cows were conducting a standing sit in upon the cairn so I give it a wide birth to begin with, checking out what can be seen from the cairn, I was not much surprised to find good views of the three principal hills in the valley, High Wheeldon, Parkhouse and Chrome hills.
I wondered why the cairn was not on the top of the hill, so I walked up to it, just to see if there was anything there already, like another cairn, but there was only a low tumbled wall. But from up the top of the hill I could see that the view, the hills seen from the cairn could be seen from the hill top as well. I think they put the cairn at the bottom of the ridge, but at the top of the steep part just to bring the position of the cairn closer to the hills and the valley running through below them, as if they just wanted to be together, to be part of the collective, "were with them".
The cairn itself is possibly the biggest cairn in the area. It is wide, about six feet high, and has a low linear spread of loose stone right across it, north to south crossing the center.
peppered around the cairn are half a dozen badger holes, I say badger only because of the size of the holes, I could have crawled into one or two of them. A big tree has grown up on its eastern edge, aiding in pinpointing the cairn from anywhere and giving shelter from rain or a hot sun.
This cairn, Hatch-a-way cairn and the peak of Parkhouse hill are in quite a good alignment.
Caer Din Ring (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes
Following on from a morning spent at the excellent Fron Camp, early afternoon is characterised by a series of very heavy showers. Nevertheless, with an hour or so available before I must push on to Pumlumon for the night, the Caer-din Ring, sited immediately west of a high level moorland road penetrating the Clun Forest uplands, appears to fit the bill nicely, thank you very much.
Heading east(ish) past St John's Church (below Fron Camp) I take the very steep first left (Mardu Lane) subsequently veering left again soon after. The road climbs toward the summit, providing some excellent panoramic views as it does so, the ancient enclosure eventually seen crowning the rise to the left. After a bit of customary indecision I park at the entrance to the access track for Foxhole farm, more or less opposite the site. Another torrential deluge hammers upon the car roof.... but unfortunately I've no time to lose. A couple of farm workers career by on quad bikes flashing each other a smile as if to say 'what a nutter!' Hey, the thought had crossed my mind as well, to be fair. Mindful that barbed-wire fences and expensive waterproofs are mutually exclusive, I head down the road a short distance to use the gate before making the short ascent to the enclosure (as it happens there is another gate near the cattle grid to north-west).
The initial bank encountered is not part of the main enclosure defences, appearing to have been erected to provide additional screening protection to the most vulnerable eastern flank of the site, therefore suggesting that the Caer-din Ring was indeed a serious defended settlement... and not a fortified animal pound as I tentatively surmised from earlier conjecture. Always nice to be proven incorrect in such a manner. The main bank rises to approx 6ft and encloses a significant area (see TSC's misc note). However it is the location, not the archaeology, which is surely this settlement's primary asset? The downpour having taken an appropriate rain-check, the sun takes the opportunity to break through the cloud mantle to periodically illuminate the landscape. In such light the views to be had from the Caer-din Ring are found to be truly wondrous indeed, particularly looking toward the southern and western arcs. Hey, I'm even able to pick out Castle Idris, a visit there having been abandoned earlier in the day. Looks well worth another attempt, to be honest. As I walk around the circumference, breathing in the oxygenated goodness, all manner of land rovers, 4x4s and quad bikes pass by on the road returning from somewhere or other. Clearly something's been going down in the locality. Nothing to do with me, of course. But then why would any decent person have an issue? Exactly. It would appear the people of Clun Forest are just that. Decent.
Yeah, pity I've not more time, but there you are. 'Take what you can get' would appear sound advice. Now, however, Pumlumon beckons.... and I can not resist the siren's call.