Parked at the farm house and asked permission which was readily given. Follow the track which runs past the right of the farmhouse and take the immediate dirt track to the left which runs between the back of the farm house and the large metal barn. (Don't do what I did and carry on straight up the tarmac lane - nice walk but no Long Barrows!). Once you get to the end of the barn go through the metal field gate on your right and you will see the Barrows to your left. Both Long Barrows are covered in nettles and both had Hawthorn trees growing out of the top. The first Barrow you come to is the smaller of the two but the better preserved with standing stones forming part of a chamber? Despite being so close to farm buildings there is a sense of seclusion here and I found it a lovely place to visit. To top if off there were cows in the field and Dafydd was entranced watching a calf take milk from its mother - that made the visit worth it alone. One to recommend.
Clear skies at the Severn Bridge morph into heavy, low cloud at Talgarth, the sweeping ridges of the Black Mountains engulfed by opaque vapour. Damn, no climbing today, then. Bloody forecasters...... Fortunately one of the many benefits of also having megalithomania (or whatever) is that no such weather constraints apply to visiting ancient sites. I therefore take the opportunity to visit perhaps the finest in the area, tucked behind Ffostyll farm beneath the great northern escarpment of the aforementioned mountains. Some 'plan B'.
To be honest I don't like knocking at farm doors to ask permission to visit my heritage... you know somehow it doesn't seem 'right' .... but it would be no issue at all if all farmers were like the occupant of this farm. The man's genuinely interested in the beauties in his field, enthusiastically relating how he found microliths in the vicinity and only too aware of the long tradition he is upholding. He's also about the best weather forecaster I've come across, as subsequent events will prove. Right on!
A short sqwelch through typical farmyard surroundings brings the visitor to the required field. I'm surprised by the remaining size of the two long cairns - although obviously somewhat damaged - and delighted by the surviving chamber stones upon both. Bonus! The northern example is by far the more substantial, the eastern chamber 'protected' by massed nettles and the ubiquitous 'thorny tree' - where's Mam Cymru when you need her?
The southern also possess some significant stonework - for these parts anyway - but it is once again the skyline which elevates Ffostyll above the usual, the barrow-topped flat summit of Y Das prominent to the left of the Y Grib ridge, itself 'be-cairned'. Then again I probably eulogise too much since I love this area. If you come I believe you will, too.
Great surroundings, great vibe and substantial remains. Couldn't really ask for more.
A really nice day to be here, I asked at the farm for permission and the lady let me park there too, a short 5 minute walk and there we have them two quite well preserved long cairns but they are being eaten away by trees and those damn sheep. The field was empty when I got there but the farmer soon showed up with a large flock of sheep, he came over and asked me what I thought of them (the cairns not the sheep)and we talked at legnth about the ancient world , evolution and the future of mankind, nice bloke for a farmer.
Both cairns have almost intact chambers they almost reminded me of Carneddau Hengwm in N. Wales, this place had me entranced, even with the sheep (do we really need sheep anymore how much mutton or lamb do you eat? do you wear many woolen clothes? get rid of ' em all I say)
These long barrows are part of the Black Mountains group of tombs.
OS map required
Permission to visited need from Ffostyll farm.
On unclassified road about 3km northeast of Talgarth.
Monuments are in a field to right and behind farmhouse.
Walk up a track a short distance.
Ahead are three gates on left, ahead and to right.
Take the one on the right.
Ffostyll South is visible ahead in the field.
This is the first time I have ever been intimidated by livestock. Rams, tupped or otherwise were in the field, and although content to urinate and growl around me when I was writing up fieldnotes for Ffostyll North, by the time I went back to Ffostyll South, one had decided he had had enough of me and then the other dozen or so took an interest. So be prepared if they are still there when you visit.
I know the idea of being threatened by sheep is amusing, but rams are quite large, and if they butt you onto the ground, they’ll probably keep doing it for a while. They do have impressive testicles mind, like badly inflated footballs.
Apparently if you leave them alone they won’t chase after you, but in my case they came up to me growling and dipping their heads and the only trees to climb there are the thorny hawthornes on the barrows.
Two long barrows 70m apart.
Partially excavated 1920-23.
There was once a round barrow nearby
The larger of the two, like Little Lodge, mature hawthorn trees up against the remaining stones causing root damage to the monument.
Measurements for the mound are given as 40m by 22m. It has been ploughed up to and livestock have had a go at it as well as previous excavations. A lot of stone scatter is present. It is orientated not far off west-east.
The is a surviving eastern chamber, consisting of five upright stones (no capstone) all around 1m in height and of similar lengths. The western and eastern sides of the chamber are comprised of two stones each, whilst the fifth stone is set traversely between the two pairs on either side, probably making it a blocking stone. The depth of the chamber is around 1.2m
The opposite end of the mound has many field clearance stones, some quite large which lie under the barbed wire fence which cuts up against the monument. Many of these must surely have once been part of the monument.
The centre of the mound has some very large and impressive flat stones, one which appears to be the broken halves of a large capstone. The measurements for these two stones are given as 2.7m long by 2.3m wide and 0.25m thick and the other 2.3m long by 0.9m wide and 0.12m thick.
To the southeast are four more. This is where my notes went to pot because of the rams, but I did write:
Front (west) about 1.3m apart two parallel ground breaking stumps about 0.4m long.
Mound f**ked, say 1m high.
My notes are abysmal for this one, as no sooner had I got onto the mound than I was intimidated off of it.
They read: mound higher nearly 2m. lot of small stone scatter from tiny to heavy.
However, measurements for the mound are given as 36m by 23m. Orientated northeast-southwest.
Towards the northern end are the visible remains of a single chamber comprising of seven stones. Four in a row making up the western side, two in a row making up the eastern side, and a single blocking stone set traversely at what remains of the north-eastern end of the chamber. Measurements for it are given as 3.3m by 1.2m. A large ‘covering slab’ at least 2.4m by 2.1m has been displaced to the south-west.