The A4061 climbing out of The Rhondda Valley passes above a dark and mysterious lake, cradled beneath the - more often than not - glowering escarpment of Craig-y-Llyn rising to not far short of 2000ft.
Fisherman are now usually seen lining its shoreline, but this lake once held a far greater significance to locals than merely a good spot to spend an afternoon away from the wife and kids.....for it was in its murky depths that the famous Llyn Fawr hoard was discovered between 1911 and 1913 during the construction of a reservoir.
These objects, clearly votive offerings - unless you accept that they were put in here for 'safe keeping' (Doh!), or, er....sort of 'lost' - date from the late Bronze and early Iron Ages, a Hallstatt sword in particular being tentatively dated to c650 BCE, which would make it the earliest iron object discovered to date in South Wales. Probably all of Wales, as it happens.
One wonders how many of the tradesmen and weekend punters who park to have their sandwiches overlooking Llyn Fawr have any idea of what once took place below them? I'd recommend a walk along the escarpment edge of Craig-y-Llyn to gaze down into the waters and contemplate if this is where Malory etc got the idea for Excalibur and the 'lady in the lake'.
There's even another little lake - Llyn Fach (of course) around the corner........
..had a green lady in the seventeenth century. Every seven years she came and sat on one of the rocks, making chains and necklaces of wild berries. The rowan or mountain-ash was her favourite tree, and she could be seen wandering about gathering an apronful of the bright red berries, which she conveyed to her favourite rock. Once when a man wished to follow her, but stood irresolute, she beckoned to him and smiled. He went towards her, and she gave him a handful of red rowan-berries.
He thanked her, and put them in his pocket. Then there came a crash, and the lady disappeared. She wore a green robe and green jewels. The berries changed to gold coins.
These links show a cauldron and some 'horse gear' deposited in Llyn Fawr c800-600BC. The artefacts were discovered when the lake was drained during the process of turning it into an unromantic reservoir, in 1911. The finds include some of the earliest British items made of iron.