Visited 23rd September 2003: I was initially drawn to Carreg-y-Bwci because, on the Landranger map, it looked like a round barrow with a name. Also, as I had Alfie with me, it had the extra appeal of being near the road.
I parked just to the north of the site near the cattle grid, and walked up to the site. Although I'd done no research at this stage, it was pretty obvious from the beginning that something was a bit unusual. The boulder in the centre of the site is enormous, and unlikely. It could almost be a natural rock, incorporated into the site. The tight surrounding circular bank is well defined and rounded (almost feminine). Smaller stones lie on one side of the site, looking almost like kerb stones. I was just totally stumped as to what I was looking at.
Definitely worth visiting if you're near Lampeter, if only to ponder the meaning of it all.
... the great massive monolith known as "Carreg y Bwgi" (the Goblin's Stone) was examined. It is 15 feet in length, and on an average 4 feet wide by 3 feet in thickness, and lies within a moated circle of 60 feet diameter. It is said to have been upset in search of treasure; and, alas! the farmer on whose land it lies has offered five shillings for breaking it up into wall material. Happily, however, there is a salutary tradition, confirmed by the subsequent experience of some of the party*, that any rash intruder on the Bogey's precincts will be made to feel the consequences of his temerity, and perhaps fear may preserve what covetousness would destroy.
*Unsatisfyingly, this is not elaborated on.
From a report of the 'Lampeter Meeting' in Archeologia Cambrensis, October 1878.
"A farmer told Lewis Edwards in the 1940s that when he approached Carreg-y-Bucci (The Hobgoblin Stone) - on top of a prehistoric mound near Lampeter, Wales - with the intention of breaking it up for gateposts,
'There was a violent thunderstorm, the worst I have ever known. I ran for my life, but it followed me all the way home'.
Three men had been killed by lightning alongside the stone."
Some more modern weirdness around Carreg-y-Bwci (which means, in English, Stone of the Goblin / Weird Welsh Supernatural Thing. The english Puck may well be (etymologically) related to the Bwci? - see the forum posts).
She says she knew the site as 'Rhiannon's Navel' - I'm assuming this is a genuine local name? I only mention my doubts because she 'runs her own psychic business' in Canada and goddesses are popular new-age fare: I haven't seen the name mentioned elsewhere, that's all.
"During my teenage years.. I would ride to the top of the ridge where the Cairn was. It's a prominent landmark that marks the valley for miles around.. I ventured up there one day with my horse but we didn't stay long. Foaming at the mouth my horse galloped to the edge of the cliff at the head of the valley stopping just short of a sheer drop. The Carreg Y Bwci seemed to be haunted. That was the general consensus in the village and not many villagers would go up there.
"[She was coming back from Lampeter once - though it strikes me as a very weird way back? and] it was the solstice. Driving past in my friends Dad's car, we stopped for a brief second to watch the sunset go down. I didn't know that a stone circle existed below the Cairn. But the megalith stretched out before us had the sun set behind it. Elongating the sun into a long strip. Perhaps a trick of the light, or the heat of the stone. It had been hot that day. The air was also very clear and clean up in the mountains. It could have been any number of things.
"Most [villagers] didn't want to talk about the cairn, or the stone circle, most told me it was haunted and had bad vibes. Some villagers who went up there, would topple the stones that were piled on top of each other. But most warned me not to go up to the stone circle or cairn during the summer months."
"The Goblin Stone of Cynwyl Gaio occupied a spot which few people cared to pass at night. In the seventeenth century a young man who had gone far in search of work came in the twilight to a large stone surrounded with grass. The place looked tempting for a night's resting-place. After making a good but simple supper, the traveller placed his bundle containing clothes on the grass in shelter of the stone. For a time he slept soundly, but about midnight he was awakened by somebody pinching his arms and ears and pricking his nose. He got up, and, looking around in the starlight, saw a goblin sitting on the stone, with many others around him. The man tried to run away, but the master goblin would not permit him, and at his command his minions interlaced their grotesque arms around him and prevented him moving. They tweaked his ears and nose, pinched him, gave him pokes in his ribs, and tormented him all through the night in every conceivable manner. He sat down to rest and wait for the dawn, and in the meantime the goblins screamed and laughed and shrieked in his ears until he was nearly mad. When the first streak of morning light appeared, the goblins vanished. The stranger got up in the dawn, and when he went onward he met some workmen, to whom he related his adventure. They said he had slept under the Goblin Stone."
This is an enigmatic place, described as a possible round barrow (Cadw & Cambria Archaeology), chambered tomb (Cambria Archaeology), Roman watch tower (RCAHMW & Cambria Archaeology), enclosure (RCAHMW) and standing stone (Cambria Archaeology).
Carreg-y-Bwci consists of a mound with a large hollow in the centre of it (similar to a donut on its side). In the middle of this is a large prostrate stone. Not an easy site to interpret, but certainly something special. It is sited on a ridge at the head of the river Ffrwyd Cynon.
The 'Roman watch tower' theory has gained some credence because Carreg-y-Bwci sits on an old Roman road (Sarn Helen). This doesn't seem very conclusive to me, as the Romans had a habit of intentionally running their routes past existing megalithic sites (or re-using existing trackways). Also, Carreg-y-Bwci isn't at the highest or even second highest point in the area. I know very little about Roman watch towers, but I would have thought a vantage point without the obstruction of nearby hills would be sensible.
In it's modern form the Roman road marks the boundary between Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. There's a possible stone circle 1km to the north west in Coed LLwynifan (SN63754838).