We parked west of the chambers in a small rough lay by, then rode our bikes back down the hill to the site.(weeee!!!)
And what a brilliant site it is, last time I came here the bracken was high and in full obscuring mode, but it was much better this time, no bracken growth at all, it was midday and all the dew and slugs had gone, and I had my inquisitive and questioning son with me. Couldn't be better.
I wish i'd read Carl's fieldnotes on this place as I now need to go back and find the big stone he describes a hundred paces away on the other side of the field. But I have read Moss's comment on the Needle rock lookalike stone and tried to recreate Robin Heath's photo without actually seeing it.
The two are remarkably similar and it can only be intentional, but when the capstone is in place and the I suppose there would have been a backstone to the chamber also in place and then a covering mound, the stone would be hidden. But I don't think that would matter, the builders would know it was there and the magic would carry on working. Any alignment between the two and the midsummer sun would have to be remembered and passed on verbally as it would be lost from view, and easily forgotten.
This is a superb site. Very easy to access and a type of site I have never seen before.
Driving along the A487 (towards Newport) you will see a sign for Oakfield Lodge on your right. Keep driving north and in a couple of hundred yards you will see a public footpath sign on your left with a wide grass verge you can park on. This is the closest parking space to the burial chamber. Walk back down the road – take care, this road is very busy with traffic speeding – until you come about opposite Oakfield Lodge. You will see a wooden field gate with a 'please close the gate' sign on it. Although there is no public right of way into the field I assume the owners don't mind judging by the sign on the gate? This is a 'wow' place – very unusual. It seems to me that this site should be far better known than it is. Burial chambers with a large flat stone lying 100 paces away at the opposite end of the field – must be to do with the chambers? There is also the treat of great views towards Dinas Head and the coastline. As long as you take care with the road this is a great place to visit.
Five for the price of one, how cool is that, I'd have stopped even if there was just one, infact Iv'e climbed mountains for much less.
Rediculously I couldnt find it, a bit of brain freeze maybe but I was definately in the wrong field, back to the road and start again.
There isnt anywhere good to park nearby i parked two hundred yards east and walked back down the road.
The bracken was high but is now beginning to wilt
so I helped it on it's way by trampling as much as I could. Watchful cows feigned ignorance from the corner of the field, but I'm awake enough to know when I'm being watched.
I tend to think the whole shabang was built into a single cairn with five cists pentagonaly arranged throughout.
Were the occupants of each cist a single person, or a whole family, or a whole family line. I couldnt help thinking of family, lineage and things like that. Then on to my own family, my own mortality then I got quite depressed and had to leave, perhaps the cup marked rock i'm going to next can cheer me up.
This is a fascinating site with its cluster of outward-facing chambers -- nothing like it anywhere else in West Wales. Recently the chambers and capstones have been covered with brambles, but staff of the National Park have recently done a good clearing job (spring 2008) and the chambers are now much easier to see. Apparently the owner does not mind people taking a look at the stones. Negotiations are under way to allow proper access to the site -- but be aware that parking on the roadside verge is dangerous, and the traffic is fast!
This place is in a field next to the very fast A487 Fishguard-Cardigan drag. (Be warned, the locals drive like Colin McRae). The delightful Jane was eventually able to park up next to a small bridge in a rut, and we nipped across the road into the field. It really started raining then, but this did not diminish the beautiful view. Cerrig y Gof looks across to the dramatic cliff faces of Dinas Island, and the Irish sea.
This is a very unusual monument, as all of its chambers look outwards in a five-pointed star pattern. I wondered if it had been originally designed that way, or had been yanked about by various folk in the recent past. It's a pretty large structure, and becoming fairly overgrown with brambles and wild flowers. I liked it very much, especially the view from one of the chambers through to Dinas Head. I would have liked to spent more time here, but the persistent rain and the need for tea prevented this. Never mind.
Five cist-like chambers arranged like the spokes of a wheel, in varying states of disrepair, some with capstones, dolmen-like, some with only three sides of their chambers remaining, overlooking Dinas Head. A real mish-mash is all that is left. But what a mish-mash!
A decidedly weird place and like NOTHING I have ever encountered before. At its widest point it must’ve measured 30 or 40 metres across. It lies only 10 metres away from the main A487 Fishguard to Cardigan road and can be clearly seen through a small gate in the hedge.
I tried to make sense of it… was it one almighty barrow-like structure at one time? It showed no hint of hump or raising as many still do. Treaclechops noticed there was a standing stone in the same field, but as we were already trespassing, and the field was very wet and full of bullocks, we didn’t venture too far further.
Visited 20th April: On our second pass we identified a place to park near Cerrig y Gof. The road (the A487) runs adjacent to the field where the burial chamber stands, but you can barely see the chamber as you drive past because of the hedgerow [not what Jane says, but I'm sticking to my story]. It's tricky to park nearby (and cross the road) there's quite a lot of traffic, and the visibility in either direction is poor. I'd recommend you look out for the entrance to Oakfield Lodge and/or a brown sign with Taith Preseli Tour on it, and park on the verge as close to these as possible (both of these signs are on the south side of the road).
Cerrig y Gof was originally covered by a circular mound, but all that remains are five chambers, all facing outwards. None of the chambers have stones covering their entrances, and all but one have identifiable cap stones. The site is thought to be either a transitional type of tomb built in the early Bronze Age, or a special creation designed specifically for burials from five separate groups. Apparently it compares to some tombs on the west coast of Scotland (not sure which), but the likeness is not exact.
The stones are enigmatic, and do look like big cists. One of the fallen capstones looks like a dolmen, but I think this is purely coincidence. I'd like to go back and spend some more time taking it all in, but on this visit we were pressed for time. I only realised after we'd left that I'd totally failed to look for the fallen standing stone that lies in the same field.
Information from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority:
Cerrig y Gof (the name means "blacksmith's stones") is thought to date from around 3500 BC. The five box-like stone chambers stand on a low, circular mound about 15m across. This is the remains of the original cairn. Each grave has between two and six side-stones, and four of the five capstones are still present, though dislodged from their original position.
Cerrig y Gof is on private property. Public access is permitted but please be sure to close the field gate.
In "Prehistoric Preseli - a field guide" (2001 Atelier Productions) NP Figgis mentions the missing capstone from the eastern chamber is "known to have been used for a bridge".
At the western end of the Cerrig y Gof field is a stream, and the road crosses it over a small bridge with an interesting name: Pont Heb Wybod ("bridge without knowledge"). Dyfed HER pages mention that it was recorded earlier as Pont y Wibod ("bridge of knowledge")!
Anyway, there are lots of stones next to the bank of the stream, including one large slab. Potentially of more interest though is a further slab built into the embankment next to the bridge structure. Could this have been the missing capstone?
It has been suggested, in 'Neolithic Sites of Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire' (Logaston Press), that four of the five chambered tombs here are sited facing local landmarks - Carningli, Dinas Head, Mynydd Dinas and Mynydd Melyn. A check of the OS Map show that to be true - treaclechops notes the tomb facing Dinas Head. So where does the fifth (north) chamber point to?
Looks like down a deeply incised valley towards the sea. Perhaps all this is represents a spiritual/energetic connection for those souls buried there.
Here's a quote about Cerrig y Gof from the book Prehistoric Preseli, by N.P. Figgis:
There are a few other tombs of vaguely similar pattern in western Scotland and eastern Ireland, but they are rare and none is really very similar. Fenton, the early nineteenth-century Pembrokeshire antiquarian, explored [Cerrig y Gof] when it was already in much the same state as it is today, and found some black pebbles (unusual - white quartz is common), charcoal and bits of unburned human bone along with what he described as sherds of the 'rudest' pottery, all now sadly lost.
Here's more from Neolithic Sites of Cardiganshire Carmarthenshire & Pembrokeshire by G. Children and G. Nash:
Cerrig y Gof was excavated in 1811 by Fenton... he believed a central cromlech originally completed the complex. This argument is disputed because the central area is too small to accommodate a chamber of a size similar to the other five.
These two books are excellent resources if you're planning a trip to the area.
This site hosted by Google Books sets forth numerous megalithic monument descriptions including a writeup on page 377 regarding Cerrig y Gof. Rodney Castleden describes the uniqueness of the radial tomb design for this region of the Irish Sea area.