When you see the sign for St Elvis Farm on the A487 turn down the track to the parking area. From here it is only a 15 minute walk to the burial chambers.
I had wanted to visit this site for a long time (it was ‘always on my mind’) and as I was in Pembrokeshire I knew that it was ‘now or never’.
Karen wasn’t interested (she can be a ‘hard headed woman’ at times) so she waited in the car whilst myself, Dafydd and Sophie headed towards the dolmen which was ‘way down’ the farm track. Despite previous reports the track was dry and free of mud so my ‘blue suede shoes’ didn’t get dirty.
In the distance we could hear a dog barking which left them ‘all shook up’.
I reassured them that it was only an old ‘hound dog’.
Dafydd complained that Sophie was making too much noise and wanted ‘a little less conversation’ but I explained to him that ‘she’s not you’.
On the way we saw a dead young fox which (unsurprisingly) the children took great interest in. Doing what children do they started to poke the poor animal with a stick. I told them to stop and ‘don’t be cruel’.
We arrived at the burial chambers and entered through the wooden gate.
From the outside the wooden fencing made it look like a ‘jailhouse rock’.
A couple of farm workers looked at us with ‘suspicious minds’ and this caused us to do some ‘rubberneckin’ but nothing was said. After all, there is a public right of way.
Seriously, this is a great place to visit.
The two capstones are quite large. One was covered in a dark green/black moss whilst the other had a foxglove and a small pretty purple plant growing on its surface. There are quite a few large stones scattered around in the vicinity.
I wonder how many/if any originally came from the dolmen?
If you are heading towards St David’s this is well worth stopping off to see
Visited 8th January 2005: Not much to add here except to reiterate Moss' comments about mud. The coastal footpath is supposed to be part of the route to the chamber from the main road (A487), but we ended up walking on the farm track instead (it runs parallel). We'd have lost the boys in the mud if we hadn't!
Parking isn't a problem, but the walk to the stone is about half a mile with an incline towards the beginning. An adventurous wheelchair user might make the distance with some assistance.
This double chambered cromlech speaks for itself, "wrecked" but still holding on. To quote,
Both chambers at St. Elvis farm are aligned n/w - s/e with capstones dipping towards an inlet of the River Solva. Geo.Nash/ G.Children, Pembrokshire Monuments
The weather looks good, but gales and horizontal rain happened before the photos. Muddy lanes indistinguishable from muddy farm tracks, and great tankers bearing down high banked lanes are quite scary.
Daniels says of this monument that the southerly chamber may be 'earth fast', with the western end of the capstone resting on the ground and eastern supported by uprights, similar to the double chambered Carn Llidi tombs on St.David.
This may well be so, given the fat 'diamond' shape of the capstone resting on the ground by the fence.
This type of capstone is found at Carn Llidi, Coetan Arthur and the White House tomb further inland, and may point to a particular type of capstone confined to this area.
A mile or so further north near the coastline there are another two lost cromlechs, Llanuwas and Llandruidon. They lie either side of another small inlet valley down to the sea at Nine Wells. One must lie buried in the gorse somewhere in the remnants of the second world war airfield. The walk down to the cove is very atmospheric and captures for a brief moment how the landscape would have been in neolithic times. Again there is an old quarry with stone similar to that of St. Elvis.
The wrecked appearance of St. Elvis is blamed on a farmer, who tried to blow it up in 1798, but was fortunately told to stop.
I can't believe I'm the first person to list this site. It's in such a megalithically rich region I felt sure other stones tourers would have visited – how can anyone stay away with a name like this?
Indeed, as we started our tour at Mynydd Preseli and are now here, by my calculations that makes it an Elvis-Preseli holiday (rimshot, cymbal, thankyou).
Located on a public footpath through St Elvis Farm, this is an utterly extraordinary site – two cromlechs side by side. Both are damaged, the east side of the eastern cromlech has been drilled to hang a gatepost in the past, and both capstones lie on the floor of the chambers, but enough of the components remain to give a tremendous sense of the monument.
A clear mound of cairnstones rises up around the base. On the presumption that it was originally covered, it must have been by a single mound.
The nearby wall contains stones possibly removed from the cromlech.
Unusually for West Wales cromlechs, the site has no sea view, being on a north-west facing slope just over the crest of the hill from the epic clifftop view south over St Brides Bay a few hundred metres away.
The landowner is now the National Trust, so the cromlech is fenced off to protect it from livestock and has a little info board.
The folklore and power here is strong. According to the present farmer, a few metres away stood the parish church of St Elvis (last wedding 1820, last funeral 1850). Just beyond the site of the church before the farmhouse is an ancient well, supposed to be used by St Elvis to baptise St David. A pagan site usurped by a Christian one, yet the Christians have gone and the older stones remain.
"I think the strangest custom must be that of St Elvis Church where there are the remains of St Teilo's Well and Church with a pilgrims graveyard. It is said that the sick were brought here and given the holy water then laid to rest in the shade of a cromlech. If they slept all would be well but if they were visited by Caladruis (a ravenish bird of ill omen) their chances were not good. It seems rather like the stories of old people being bedded down in cold hospital corridors in the hope they would develop pneumonia – did that actually happen?"
Apropos the joke about Elvis Preseli that Moss makes, it is interesting to note that Elvis's parents were named Vernon and Gladys - both old Welsh names!
Local actor and author, Dave Ainsworth, recently wrote and performed (at the Pembroke Festival) a funny monologue entitled 'Was Elvis a Welsh Saint?'
Also apropos Moss' comments about the three cromlechs in the Nine Wells area, of which St Elvis's is one, they are near the farm called 'Llandruidion' which is a place name that crops up near several west Wales monuments eg near Rhos y Clegryn.
St. Elvis Farm; J.Hawkes explains the two valleys sitting either side of The Gribin at Lower Solva, as "drowned valleys". Solva sits at the end of one valley with Solva river flowing down to the sea. The other valley has St.Elvis tomb at the head with a small brook running through this valley to the sea below.
Its also interesting to note what she says about this area;
"for the plateau of the old sedentary rocks are broken by abrupt outcrops of much harder rocks spewed up by volcanoes.....each one will be seen to have a little farm, edged up against it.....it is also noted that a very considerable number of dolmens have similarly been built against the volcanic outcrops......perhaps endowed with spirits and local deities"
1951 Prehistoric and Roman Monuments in England and Wales.
Strumble Head follows this same pattern of tombs, placed on or near rocks. Dust to dust, or maybe bone to bone.
p.s. St.Elvis's may have been St.Ailbe, disciple of St.Patrick... In 1291 was Lanelvech with Llaneilw later and then Elfyw.. (History of Solva - Trevor Bloom).