The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

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The Four Stones (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.6.16

Wow, has it really been 6 years since my last visit? Where has the time gone? Needless to say, the stones are aging better than me! :)

The field where the stones live has been left to go fallow and the grass and nettles were knee height. The stones felt warm to the touch and I sat upon the smallest stone, which is half-fallen. The clouds had cleared and the sun shone. Despite being close to a country lane and being overlooked by a farmhouse, all was quiet. This is a nice place to sit and ponder. The stones are off a decent size (5 to 6ft tall) and are well worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.

Hopefully it won't be 6 years till my next visit.

Crossfield Lane barrow (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.6.16

Despite the field being in crop the 'bump' of the barrow could quite easily be seen from the field gate.

Not worth going out of your way for.

Kinnerton Court Stone II (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.6.16

The stone can be found at the edge of the road pretty much opposite the public footpath sign. I notice the grass verge has recently been cut back by the council. I wonder how many mower blades have been damaged on this stone? The low stone was covered in nettles on my visit. This is a stone which would be easy to miss!

Kinnerton Court Stone I (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.6.16

Where the road kinks there is a public footpath sign. Go through the field gate to the left of the sign. The stone is visible from the gate.

The field had been left to go fallow and the grass was waist height. Only the top of the stone was visible from the gate. Upon approaching I could see the stone was in a slight hollow. No doubt due to it being previously used as a rubbing post?

From the stone you can easily see how the stone (and all the other prehistoric sites in the area) sit within a natural bowl, surrounded by hills in all directions. This is a pretty area and well worth a visit if in the area.

Coldrum (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.5.16

A short distance north of the Addington and Chestnuts long barrows – east of Trottiscliffe. As this is a National Trust site a small (free) parking area is provided. Another site in this area where an O/S map comes in handy – at least you only need the one map!

From the parking area, myself, Dafydd and Sophie walked down along the obvious wooded path and out into the open fields. It is a lovely walk in this weather and we strolled along with not a care in the world. Unlike the local land owners who clearly have concerns judging by the proliferation of ‘private’ ‘no trespassing’ ‘private road’ type signs we have seen in the area – welcome to Southern England. An Englishman’s ‘home’ may be his ‘castle’ – although the drawbridge always seems to be raised!

Anyway, the path is well sign posted and after about 10 minutes we reached the N.T. info board at the bottom of the rise on which Coldrum stands. At this point we could hear the beating of a drum and it was obvious that someone was already at the site. We hurried up and upon reaching the summit were met by several people who were watching a lady sat within the wooden fenced off area playing an African drum. The lower branches of the large tree at the top of the rise were covered in clooties. I also spotted the remains of a fire which someone had made next to the stones but other than the grass appears to have made no damage.

Once she had finished most of the people wandered off although we ducked under the fence to have a closer look of the stones. The stones are enormous and many wouldn’t look out of place at Avebury. The two square ‘walls’ are particularly impressive, some of the best standing stones I have seen. Although I note they have been concreted in to help keep them up.

Whilst the children played around the stones I got chatting to the lady with the drum. She explained all about the drum and how she liked to visit Coldrum to take in the atmosphere and try to ‘connect’ with the ancestors. She said she also liked to visit Stonehenge and Avebury at the solstices but preferred Coldrum for the equinoxes. We spent quite a while chatting about all things ‘old stones’ before I left her to get back to her drumming. I did say that the music certainly added to the atmosphere of the place and there is a fair chance music would have been played at that very spot when the barrow was in use. As I looked down the valley across the farm land it was comforting to think that these were the same fields that the ancients would have farmed.

With these thoughts and with the sound of the drum it was quite easy to form a ‘connection’ with the past. It is surprising how music can help bring the stones to life. Stones can often seem quite sterile places.

Before I knew it we had already been gone an hour and I am sure Karen would have been less than happy sat in the car waiting for us. ‘I won’t be long’ being my usual last words before disappearing into some field or other. I suppose she is used to my definition of ‘long’ by now! However, we did have a long drive back to Cardiff ahead of us and we both had work the next day so it was time to retrace our steps.

Coldrum is a place I have really wanted to visit ever since seeing the site in Neil Oliver’s wonderful Ancient Britain series – I am so glad I finally got to visit. This was the last site of our long weekend in Kent and my favourite place we visited. Coldrum is a ‘must see’ site - particularly given its current status as the oldest long barrow in Britain. As Neil Oliver said – ‘It all starts here………..’ ?

Addington Long Barrow — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.5.16

Along a minor road between Addington and Wrotham Heath – immediately south of the M20. An O/S map would be handy although the barrows are signposted from Addington. Parking can be had at the entrance to Rose Alba.

The entrance to Rose Alba was closed and locked. The sign on the gate gave a telephone number you could ring to make an appointment for a tour of the barrows - £1.00 for adults / under 16 free! I rang the number but there was no answer so I walked back along the lane to have a look at the Addington long barrow.

From the lane you are really quite close to the stones but a barbed wire fence prevents you from getting too close. The stones were a little overgrown with long grass all around. However, the stones are large and can be easily seen. In fact, I am sure I was standing on the edge of one of the fallen stones which comes out to the edge of the road. By standing on the stone you are a couple of inches higher to look into the field. Dafydd and Sophie were none too impressed with the stones – I can understand why. No doubt had we been able to have a ‘tour’ things would have been different.

From the road you cannot see the Chestnuts long barrow which I assume is the other side of the house? Pity there was no one home, I would have loved to have seen the Chestnuts………..

Kit's Coty (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.5.16

Park at the ‘vineyard type’ place opposite the Countless Stones and (carefully) walk up the busy road towards the junction. Then (equally carefully) cross the junction and head for the obvious path up into the trees. There is a small wooden sign pointing the way once you reach the trees.

I left the children in the car (with their mother!) as I decided it was a bit too dodgy to walk them up the lane and across the junction. I was amazed how bust this minor road was – perhaps it’s a Bank Holiday thing? However, once in the trees it was a lovely walk up the hill towards the Dolmen. The sun was shining through the trees and the weather was nice and warm. A lovely late spring day. Fortunately it hasn’t rained for a while so there was no need to don my boots although it wet weather it would no doubt be a bit of a squelch. The walk was a bit steeper than expected and my legs soon started to grumble – I am definitely getting old!

Once you reach the top of the hill Kits Coty appears ‘as if by magic’ as Mr Benn would say (ask your parents!). And a magical sight it is. I didn’t realise how large and tall the stones were, I was quite taken aback at their impressive stature. The only thing spoiling the sight of course is the large black railings surrounding the stones. I assume this ‘protection’ is required? I would have thought that the Dolmen was sufficiently far enough away from urbanisation to deter your average riff-raff from taking the trouble to come so far to get up to no good? Perhaps not? Either way, how do ‘officials’ access the stones? I couldn’t see a gate. I assume they use ladders? Someone had clearly scaled the fence (not an easy task I would have thought) as they had left a corn dolly inside the chamber.

There are fine views across the countryside. The siting of the dolmen was clearly set to impress (as these things often are). Approximately 5,000 years later the stones still impress. I doubt there is much we build today which will still be impressive in 5,000 years time?

Kits Coty is a famous site which I had wanted to visit for a long time. Despite being a long way from home it was certainly worth the drive. This is a ‘must see’ site if you happen to be anywhere in the area. In fact, this is a ‘must see’ site even if you are not in the area.

As an added bonus for me this is another English Heritage site ticked off the list – only 130 to go!

The Coffin Stone (Natural Rock Feature) — Miscellaneous

‘View from afar’ 30.5.16

From the entrance to the ‘vineyard type’ place opposite the Countless Stones a large stone can be seen in the distance in the middle of a field. It is next to a tree, near the overhead power lines. This is a close as you are likely to get as the ‘vineyard’ has a double row of 6ft high fences ‘protecting’ the entrance. The vines (or whatever they are) have been planted all around it.
Once they have grown taller it is likely that in the summer months the stone will not be visible from this spot.

The Countless Stones (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.5.16

Along a minor road north east of Aylesford. Although this is an English Heritage site there are none of the usual Brown signs to be had. An O/S map is useful. The best place to park along this surprisingly busy lave is directly opposite the stones. There is a ‘vineyard type’ place opposite where you can park at the entrance. Look for the 6ft high green metal fences!

Once parked, a quick scamper across the road (look both ways!) and you are in the safety of the enclosure where the stones reside. The small information board tells you a little of the history of the stones and you are free to clamber over them as much as you like. E.H. call this site Little Kits Coty House. I was able to count the 20 stones said to be here – although one of them is mostly buried

As there are so many of these large stones remaining I wonder if any thought has been made to re-erect them? I don’t know if it is possible to work out which stone goes where but it seems to me that would be better than leaving them in their current jumbled state? I know not everyone would agree with this idea.

All in all not a lot to see other than a pile of large stones, but as I always say – ‘it’s not what it is, it’s what it represents’ that counts!

Certainly worth a look when visiting the nearby famous Kits Coty.

Standing Sarsen Stone at Eynsford (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.5.16

In the village of Eynsford, outside Bridge House (which is a sweet shop!), next to the ford and medieval pack horse bridge. This is all opposite the church.

Eynsford is an attractive village and on this beautiful late spring / early summer day was looking its best. We had just visited the nearby Roman villa (E.H.) and had stopped off for a drink and a sit along the river bank. There were lots of families about and many children paddling in the water next to the ford. Of course, it didn't take Dafydd or Sophie long to join them!

As they splashed about I walked over the narrow bridge to where the stone resides. I initially walked past the stone and back-tracked until I spotted it wedged right up against the wall. In all honesty the stone is not much to look at - small and a bit pointy. Easy to miss and easy to dismiss. However, it has been preserved so I assume it has importance? How old the stone is and what its importance is I have no idea.

Still, if you happen to be in the area and fancy visiting this pretty village it is worth a quick look - and you can stock up on your sweets at the same time! As an added bonus the remains of Eynsford castle (another E.H. site) is only a short walk from the stone :)

Glastonbury Lake Village (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

Not a visit to where the Lake Village was but a visit to the museum in Glastonbury where some of the finds from the excavations are held.

The museum is upstairs in the Tribunal House in the centre of Glastonbury. This is an English Heritage sites which doubles up as a tourist information office.

There are several information boards with may finds in glass cases including pottery, metalwork, weaving worles, items made from bone etc. However, the prize item is found in a separate building in the back garden. This is where the oak log boat is found. It is well preserved and certainly something you don't see very often. It is worth the admission price to see the boat alone.

Well worth a visit when in the wonderfully eccentric Glastonbury! :)

Moor View (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.4.16

A short distance north of The Deerleap Standing Stones – either side of the minor road.
Park in the large (free) car park on the brow of the hill. Short walk from there.

I found the barrow on the North West side of the road (A). It is adjacent to a stone field wall amongst an area of rough, overgrown ‘waste ground. There is a ‘path’ running adjacent to the wall and it makes a tell-tale small ‘up and over’ what I assume to be the barrow? Otherwise I doubt I would have spotted the barrow.

Unfortunately I could find no trace of the second barrow on the South East side of the road (B). The field it is in was full of sheep and is quite uneven. There was nothing I could see which was an obvious barrow. I did see an area of rough stones which I assumed was natural. Perhaps this was the barrow?

E.H. state:
Barrow (A) – The barrow mound is 9m in diameter and 1.5m in height. The northern third of the barrow has been reduced by ploughing and is 0.5m high. A drystone wall crosses the barrow mound.

Barrow (B) – A Barrow mound 18m in diameter and 2m high. A large central depression may be the result of a partial excavation or stone quarrying.

Deerleap Stones (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.4.16

As Ravenfeather states the best place to park is in the car park for Ebbor Gorge (free). Walk up the hill and you will come to a double wooden stile on your left. The stones are visible from the stiles on your right. Easy access – as long as you are able to manage a stile! The stones are shown on the Natural England map I picked up for Ebbor Gorge.

We were heading home after spending the day in Glastonbury (birthday treat for Karen) and I was keen to pay these stones a visit. The sun was still high in the sky and white fluffy clouds skimmed across a dark blue sky. However, the cold wind reminded you we were still in spring. Myself, Dafydd and Sophie walked across the field to the stones and the first thing that strikes you is the wonderful view across the Somerset Levels over towards Glastonbury. I pointed out the Tor to the children in the distance which they seemed impressed by – although Sophie wasn’t impressed enough to climb the Tor earlier in the day. I believe the words she used were ‘There is no way I am walking up there………!’.

The first stone you come to is the smaller of the two. This stone is approximately 1 metre high. The second stone is perhaps 1.3 metres high. A half-decomposed bunch of tulips had been left at the base of the stone. The children sat on top of the stones and we all admired the view.

If you are visiting Ebbor Gorge it is well worth the short walk to seek out these stones. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit the Gorge but I will definitely return to put that right. This is a very pretty place and deserves a prolonged visit.

Swayne's Jumps (Standing Stones) — Miscellaneous

‘Drive By’ 23.4.16

As far as I could make out Swayne’s Jumps stones are immediately to the south of the A39 within Loxley Wood. As you enter Loxley Wood (heading east) there is a minor road to the north (Wood lane) which leads to the village of Shapwick. Next to this turning is a layby – this is the closest parking spot to the stones.

The problem would then be finding them! The stones are very small – no more than a couple of inches high – and the woodland is very overgrown. Along with the usual long grass, bushes etc the woodland floor appears to be completely covered in ivy. I suspect it would be quite a challenge locating the stones. I couldn’t see the ‘old sign’ previously mentioned which was said to designate the location of the stones. A place to return when I have more time.

Y Ffor Menhir (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

A view from afar - 5.4.16

Whilst walking down the lane to visit the excellent Y Ffor burial chamber you can see Y Ffor Menhir a couple of fields over to the north. It looked large from a distance so I imagine it would be a big old chunk of rock close up!

Unfortunately I didn’t have time for a closer inspection.

Y Ffor (Burial Chamber) — Fieldnotes

Visited 5.4.16

A short distance south of the junction of the A499 / B4354. You can park in either the Garden Centre or the small layby opposite.

We parked in the layby and I walked north along the busy A499. On the same side of the road as the garden centre is a large vets. If visiting ‘out of hours’ you could park outside the gates which would save a walk. You can see the burial chamber across the field from the vets. Following Sam’s directions I walked along the lane towards Cromlech farm and then hopped over the field gate on the right. Across this field and over the opposite field gate and you are there.

This is a cracker of a site, the best I have been to for a long time. The capstone is tall enough to stoop under (although I did hit my head on the way out!) and the stones are covered in pretty white and yellow lichen. The stones have been concreted in at some point. Perhaps they had previously fallen?

There are great views towards the Snowdonia mountains in the distance.

I would highly recommend a visit if you happen to be on the Llyn Peninsular.

Maen Huail (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 6.4.16

In the centre of Ruthin in St peter’s Square – outside Barclay’s Bank.

I was very impressed by this historic part of Ruthin and St Peter’s Square is surrounded by ancient black and white timber framed buildings. Most of which had information plaques attached to them. There is also a plaque giving the folklore attached to the Huail Stone. The stone is approximately 1m high x 1.5m wide.

Llangwnnadl Menhir (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 5.4.16

I saw this standing stone marked on my O/S map and (as I was in the area) thought I would have a look. However, I didn’t have any details about the stone with me so I was hoping for the best. The lane which runs to the east of the stone is narrow with nowhere to park and has very high banks – the sort of banks you have to scramble up to see into the field.

We had a quick stop but I couldn’t see the stone – I must have been looking in the wrong field. If I had had Postie’s notes at least I would have known what I was looking for!

If you plan a visit I would suggest finding somewhere a little further away to park and approach on foot.

Ty Mawr Rhos Ganol (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

‘Drive By’ 6.4.16

Next to the A5104. A short distance north east of Bryneglwys.

Three low grass covered ‘bumps’ can be seen in a field.

COFLEIN state:
‘A group of 3 barrows approximately 26m in diameter and 1m high’.

Pant y Maen (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 6.4.16

Next to a narrow lane a short distance north east of Brynegwlys on the A5104.

Approaching from the south I initially drove and then walked past this site. Despite being a sizable stone (and being right next to the road) it was hidden by trees. The stone was a lot easier to spot when approaching from the north. It is slightly south (uphill) of a static caravan of the same name – on the opposite side of the lane.
Although Postie describes the barrow as a ‘small hill’ I would describe it more as a ‘raised embankment’. The stone is approximately 5ft high and has a nice green hue to it. Ivy is growing up two sides of it which adds to its charm. This is a ‘cute’ stone!

This is well worth the short detour off the A 5104 to seek out.

Rhoslydan (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 6.4.16

Along rough, narrow country lanes north of the A5104, about half way between Bryneglwys and Llandegla.

Two low grass ‘bumps’ in a field. Not one to go out of your way for.

Caer-Dyni (Burial Chamber) — Fieldnotes

Visited 5.4.16

When driving out of Criccieth (east bound) park in the large car park at the top of the hill. You can actually see the burial chamber from here. You can then either walk back down the hill and follow the Public Footpath sign or climb over the metal field gate next to the car park. Either way it is only a short (if somewhat muddy) walk to the site.

The burial chamber was a lot smaller than I was expecting and quite ruined (although I have been to a lot worse!). The capstone is now only half upright and the stones are covered in white and yellow

There are great views over to Criccieth Castle (CADW) and the Snowdonia Mountains. I wonder how many people visit the castle and are awe struck by how old it is? I imagine the vast majority of those same people are oblivious of this much more ancient site. It’s a pity there isn’t an info board about the burial chamber at this obviously popular car park.

Well worth visiting when in the area.

Hindwell Pool — Fieldnotes

A view from the road 4.4.16

We approached the pool from the south and it is easy enough to see from the road. In fact you would be hard pushed to miss it. It is very large – bigger than I expected. Despite the drizzle the pool was very calm (unlike the children in the car!). No sign of any ducks or swans. Perhaps it is too early in the year?

Nice place.

Crossway Barrow (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

‘Drive by’ 4.4.16

A grass covered mound surmounted by several trees right next to the road.
Easy to see when passing along the A44 (south side of)
Not much to add really.

COFLEIN state:
An oval barrow, 21-25m in diameter and 1.6m high, thought to have been originally circular.

Harpton Court Barrow (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

‘Drive by’ 4.4.16

Another grass covered mound surmounted by several trees right next to the road.
Easy to see when passing along the A44 (south side of)

COFLEIN state:
A round barrow, 23m in diameter and 1.6m high.

Old Radnor Church (Christianised Site) — Fieldnotes

Visited 4.4.16

I do enjoy visiting old churches and associated graveyards; all the more so if there is something interesting and/or prehistoric to see. Old Radnor church certainly does not disappoint. As it was raining Karen and the children stayed in the car as I walked up into the graveyard and headed straight for the grave of Herbert Edmund 1846? who decided to have a ‘standing stone type’ headstone. In fact at first I thought it was a standing stone! No doubt an antiquarian would describe this as a ‘rude stone’! The grass was long and very wet but it was worth getting wet boots for.

I then entered the church to seek out the pre-Norman font. It is very large with four feet and made from a single block of stone. The church also boasts a superb wooden screen and a huge organ which has a stone Green Man carved head next to in on a corbel. I was able to pick up a booklet on the history of the church and two colour postcards (one of the font). The usual honesty box rules apply. This is a great church to visit and I highly recommend doing so when visiting the nearby stone circle.

Old Stone (Pant-y-Caregl) (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

‘Drive By’ 4.4.2016

The stone can be easily seen in the middle of a field on the south side of the B4355.

From a distance it looked like a large rounded boulder.

Pennant Pound (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

‘Drive By’ 4.4.16

Easily seen as a grass covered mound on the northern side of the B4355.

Fedw Llwyd (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

‘Drive By’ 4.4.16

Easily seen as a grass covered mound on the northern side of the B4355. Looked larger than the nearby Pennant barrow.

Church of St Michael (Christianised Site) — Fieldnotes

Visited 4.4.16

You know when you have visited a site and you think to yourself ‘I must come back here again one day’ – well, this was such a site for me.
As I have said before – I like an old church site – and I was disappointed on my last visit that I didn’t have time for a proper look around to see if I could see any evidence of the stones previously reported.

I started at the church but (again) it was locked. I wandered around the graveyard and took a particular interest in the clearly very old yew trees which form a semi-circle around the church.
To my delight next to the last but one tree (furthest away from the gate) I spotted a fallen stone. One side of the trunk of the yew had rotted away and lying on the ground where the trunk would have been was a pointy stone approximately 1m long.

Was this the stone said to be embedded in the hollow of a yew tree? I don’t know for certain but it’s a nice thought. I couldn’t see any other stones lying around and it is certainly possible that this stone fell out of the tree when the trunk rotted.

Glad I cam back :)?

Trefllys (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 5.4.2016

In the village of Pentrefelin on the right hand side of the A497 when heading east.
Best place to park is a side road opposite the stone – parking on the A497 is not recommended!
The stone is very tall and narrow and ‘square like’. It has white lichen on it.

It always amazes me how standing stones manage to survive in built up areas. This is a very fine stone and well worth seeking out when in the vicinity.

Hindwell round barrow group (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

‘Drive by’ 4.4.2016

The Hindwell Ash barrow is easily visible on the western side of the minor road which runs past it. It is in line with a hedgerow. I think it had a small tree growing out of it.

My memory isn’t what it was! :)

Dolddeuli (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 7.4.2016

A short distance south west of Pant Clyd cairn off the A494. On private land owned by Dolddeuli Farm. Right up against the disused railway embankment.

I had previously attempted to visit this stone a couple of times over the years but could never find the right turn off. Driving slowly along the busy A494 looking for a small turning is not as easy as it sounds! However, it was early evening in early Spring and I had the chance of a lift in a transit van so I was hopeful that this year I would succeed. Succeed I did but it was still not that easy………..

It took a while to find the correct turning, much looking at map and scratching of head required. Once we identified the turning and drove up the narrow lane under what would have been a railway bridge I still couldn’t see the stone. I expected it to come into view immediately to my right but the farm house and out buildings put a stop to that. We continued along the lane past the farm and uphill into woodland. I peered across the fields next to the farm but still couldn’t spot the stone. We turned around and drove back to the farm.
We pulled up outside and the farmer (who viewed us with much suspicion) came out to meet us. (I can’t say I blame him as we were strangers driving around back lanes in a transit van – there is a lot of countryside crime). I showed him my map and explained what I was looking for. He didn’t seem convinced. I kept up the chatter and he said the stone could be viewed from the lane we had just driven along but there was no access to it as it is on private land – his!

At this point I said I would walk up the lane behind his form and try to spot the stone from there as it was something I had wanted to see for some time. At this point his demure started to change and he said that if I was that keen to see the stone he would escort me to the stone through the farm yard. We headed past the buildings and barking dogs and out into the field beyond – which had several sheep in it. The stone (at last) soon came into sight. It is in a square fenced area built into the side of the railway embankment – no wonder I couldn’t see it! The stone is approximately 5ft high x 3ft wide x 1.5ft deep. Squared off in shape. It was covered in green, white and orange lichen – quite pretty really.

Upon complimenting him on ‘his’ fine stone he became more friendly and chatty. He told me that years ago his uncle owned the farm and had dug to the bottom of the stone to see if anything was there? He reported that the stone was in the ground to a depth of about 2ft but he could find nothing buried beneath it. He also said that there was another standing stone built into a dry stone wall on the hillside to the north east which lines up with this stone. He said the other stone doesn’t appear on any map but it is there. (He also built dry stone walls for a living) When he took over the farm the stone was totally grown over but he cleared away the vegetation.
An amusing tale he told me was his late uncle never had to buy any coal for the fire as he came up with the idea of placing a bottle on top of the stone. Apparently when the railway was in use bored rail workers used to throw lumps of coal at the bottle to try to hit it. Each evening he would go out with a bucket and collect the coal for the fire. If they actually managed to knock the bottle off his simply put it back on top of the stone ready for the next day! This all came to an end with the Beeching rail closures.

He said he still used the stone to train his sheep dogs. The small enclosure the stone stands in was just right for shepherding the sheep into and also for training the dog to manoeuvre the sheep around the stone. The sheep also use the stone as a rubbing post and keep the grass trim around it.
We headed back to the van and he recalled many stories of historical ‘finds’ discovered over the years by farmers around the nearby hills and valleys. We parted on very good terms, something which didn’t seem likely when I first arrived!

If you do plan a visit I suggest you either try to view from the lane behind the farm or ask permission. This is not a place where a ‘sneak visit’ would be advised.

Pant Clyd (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Next to Pant Clyd Farm – off the A494 – south west of Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake)

‘Drive by’ 7.4.2016

The cairn is situated in a field next to the farm house. For a close-up look you will need to ask permission from the landowner but the cairn is visible from the road if you are in a ‘high up’ vehicle – 4x4 etc. I was having a lift in a transit van so was able to see over the hedge. I have previously failed to spot the cairn when driving past in my car due to said hedge. There is nowhere to park other than at the farm.
The cairn is visible as a low stony mound with a large tree growing out of its northern edge. I would estimate the cairn is approximately 1m high x 10m across. But this was viewed from a distance whilst driving as slow as possible along a busy road so my measurements may not be that accurate!

Strangely COFLEIN has no comment to make although the cairn is marked on the O/S map.

Corn Du (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 3.4.16

If anything it was even windier here - I didn't think that was possible! As with Pen Y Fan the cairn has been 'tidied up' and (again as per Pen Y Fan) people were queueing up to have their photos taken on top of it.

It was now getting even colder - time to get back to the shelter of the valley below. Hopefully next time I come I will actually be able to see something!

Pen-y-Fan (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 3.4.16

'Let's do a team building exercise' - not something you would want to hear in work (and certainly not something I normally approve of) but on this occassion the 'exercise' was to walk up Pen-Y-Fan. Sounded good to me. No only would I get to visit a site which has been on my list for too long but I also score 'Brownie Points' with my manager!

I took Dafydd and Sophie with me to make it a bit of a familly event as well. The weather wasn't great but at least it was forecast dry(ish). We met at the car park and headed out across the small wooden bridge and uo the long path. There were lots of people about and the car park and grass verges were full.

All was fine until we got about 3/4 of the way up and could see the summit was lost in cloud! As we neared the top the wind became very strong and the temperature dropped. It also started to hail! Sophie was finding it hard going and soon was wearing two sets of gloves and two coats. I also had to part carry her as she was getting tired, cold and miserable. Dafydd on the other hand took it all in his stride.

Upon reaching the cairn we were engulfed in cloud and could only see about 20m in any direction. No views at all of the surrounding countryside - just a blanket of grey. Sophie was happy at last when she found a few patches of snow to play with.

WE didn't hang around too long and my boss decided to go back down via Corn Du - another idea I approved of! This is a place I will definitely re-visit - but on a nicer day! :)

Cold Pixie's Cave (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 26.3.16

Easily spotted south of the B3055 - a short distance west of the Hatchet Pond Barrow. The previous excavation of this barrow has left it well mangled.

E.H. state:
This monument includes a round barrow situated on lowland heath. The barrow mound, which was partially excavated during the winter of l941/2, measures 29m in diameter and 1.7m high. It was constructed of turves and gravel and is surrounded by a 2.3m wide ditch from which the mound material was quarried during construction. This ditch now survives as a 3m wide and 0.25m deep earthwork. No burial was found, the only find of note being an amber necklace.

Hatchet Pond (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 26.3.16

Easily spooted south of the B3055.
Another barrow covered in gorse.
Immediately east of the barrow is an earthwork consisting of a low bank and ditch. No idea how old this is?

E.H. state:
This monument includes a bowl barrow situated on lowland heath. The barrow mound is relatively flat topped and measures 25m in diameter and stands up to 0.7m high. A slight hollow in the mound centre suggests previous robbing or early exploration of the site. Although no longer visible at ground level, a ditch, from which material was quarried during construction of the monument, surrounds the barrow mound. This has become infilled over the years but survives as a buried feature c.2m wide. This monument is one of a widely scattered group of round barrows situated on Beaulieu Heath.

Ipers Bridge Road (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 26.3.2016.

Both barrows are easy to spot from the road but are both covered y the dreaded gorse.

E. H. state:
This monument includes two bell barrows situated on lowland heath. The southern barrow mound measures 16m in diameter and stands up to 1.4m high. Surrounding the mound is a level berm or platform, surviving to an average width of 2.2m, a ditch, from which material was quarried during the construction of the barrow, and an outer bank. The ditch has become partly infilled over the years, but survives as a slight earthwork 2m wide and 0.8m deep; the bank is 2.7m wide and 0.4m high. The overall diameter of this barrow is 35m. The northern barrow mound measures 14m in diameter and stands up to 1.5m high. Surrounding the mound is a berm, which has an average width of 1m, a ditch, which is 2m wide and 0.5m deep, and an outer bank 3.5m wide and 0.4m high. The overall diameter of this barrow is 33m. Both barrow mounds have evidence for partial excavation or robbing in the form of a slight hollow in the mound centre.

Wheely Farm (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.3.16

My last site of the day which again ended in disappointment. My old O/S map shows two barrows - the most up to date now only shows one. Again E.H. have nothing to say about it.

In short I couldn't see any trace of it. The field was in short crop of some sort and I suspect this barrow has now been completely ploughed out?

I did intend to visit the barrows in Bishop's Waltham (which seem to be in good nick) but by now the others had had enoug and wanted to get food and get to the hotel. Although disappointed I can't really complain as it had been a long day and we were all getting tired.

Perhaps I will have better luck tomorrow?

Brockwood Park (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.3.16

My 1974 O.S. map (that's what you get from buying maps from charity shops!) shows 5 barrows in the vicinity of Brockwood Park. The latest E.H. map now sadly only shows one barrow but has nothing to say about it.

The area where the barrow is shown is covered with trees and I am not sure I could see it. There is one obvious small 'mound' with a tree growing on top of it but this could just be a mound created by the tree's roots?

Not one to recommend.

Kilmeston (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.3.16

Unlike UncleRob I couldn't make out any trace of these barrows. They are either very low or completely ploughed out since UncleRob's visit?

Oliver's Battery (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.3.16

It was the first chance I had to get 'out and about' this year and I took the chance to knock off a few English Heritage sites in the Winchester / Southampton area. On my way to one such site I had chance for a quick visit to Oliver's Battery.

Finding the site is easy enough - a road runs right through it - and a handy car park is at its western edge. The whole site is overgrown wth trees and brambles etc. It would have taken a lot longer for a proper visit than I had time for but I was able to spot the curving edge of the bank next to the car park. Although overgrown it is about 0.5m in height and not difficult to spot.

Given the site is so easy to visit I am surprised these are the first field notes?

Worth a look when in the area.

Horsell Common (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 13.10.2015

Like many of us (of a certain generation) I grew up with Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. I loved this album (still do) and can well remember when it first came out listening to it at night and being too scared to get out of bed to turn the record over! Despite this it is still one of my top 3 albums of all time. Anyway, this is the background of why I had wanted to visit Woking (home of HG Wells) and Horsell common (where the Martians land) for so long.

After seeing the Martian ‘street art’ in Woking town centre it was only a short drive out to the common. A convenient car park is situated next to Brittania Wharf office complex. In the car park is a detailed map showing where the 3 barrows are and information on the objects found during excavations.

The first barrow is next to the sign / adjacent to Brittania Wharf. Despite this the barrow isn’t obvious as it is covered by ferns, brambles and trees of various kinds including oak and holly. Once to get to the top you can make out the barrow a bit better. It is quite large and stands approximately 1.5m high. As I rummaged around in the undergrowth I became aware of several people looking at me from the offices, no doubt wondering what I was up to?!

I then crossed the road and followed the ‘path’ through the trees. The first area you come to is (unfortunately) very litter strewn with cans, bottles, plastic bags etc and evidence of fires. No doubt this is where the local youth spend their summer evenings! The ‘path’ then disappears as the area behind this is very overgrown. Going by the map in the car park this should be the location of a disc barrow but I couldn’t see any trace of it. It must be very low and hidden by the vegetation. I probably waked right past without realizing it although I did have a good look.

I skirted around the ‘wall of vegetation’ and re-joined up with the path the other side. The path was now obvious and was bordered by horizontal wooden posts. The common also opened up with open heath surrounded by trees on all sides. The main barrow soon came into view and is easily seen to the right of the main path. A smaller path crosses the top of it. The barrow has clearly been dug into but otherwise is in pretty good condition. Despite not being overly big you get a surprisingly good elevated view over the common from the top of it.

The sun was shining, the air was still. Not much in the way of bird song but a lovely autumnal day to be out and about. It was a 300 miles round trip to visit Horsell Common. Most people think I am mad (I probably am!) but it felt so good to finally this place which holds a lot of associated memories for me. Horsell common and the barrows are worth visiting if you happen to be in the area but perhaps not worth driving 300 miles for!

No sign of any Martians. I have been told the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one. But still, they come………......

Y Pigwn (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.10.15

Our last site of the day. What a great place to finish at the end of a long but highly rewarding day out in the mighty Brecon Beacons.

This is one of those sites that I had been longing to return to for a number of years - ever since my original visit in fact. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge in that time!

We parked at the end of the road / start of the track and I pointed out to Danielle the nearby cairn with the trig point on top. We then walked along the track, chatting about all things historic /prehistoric and enjoyed the views. The bright sun caused the water in the reservoir to sparkle and shine. It was only the cold breeze which stopped you from thinking it was the middle of summer.

We first headed for the Roman Camp works and then out across the moor to the stone circles. Despite having been here before it still took me a little time to re-fing the circles. The stones are only small and the ground undulating with many tufts of 'spiky grass' to block the view. But find the circles we did and soon settled down for a small picnic my sister had kindly prepared for us (thank's Lisa!).

I then noticed that one of the stones had fallen. I was able to re-errect it and temporarily pack it with a couple of stones I found. It did the job for now but a proper re-packing will be required for the long term.

As we munched out rolls (or cobs as we say in this part of the world) a couple of red kites hovered high overhead in the thermals. All was quiet except for the bleet of the nearby newly sheared sheep. As with every other place we visited today we had the place to ourselves. We sat and ate and drank and took in the fine views to the north. We sat quietly and tried to take it all in. For me at least, there is no better way to de-stress from the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

It had been an excellent day's 'old stoning'. I am pleased to report that Danielle enjoyed her day as much as me and is looking forward to our next 'adventure' - as she calls it. I may have mentioned Avebury...................

Maen Llia (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.10.15.

A visit to Maen Llia is an obvious stop-off when showing someone the prehistoric highlights of this part of the Brecon Beacons. After reading Cerrig's notes on the damage recently caused I was fearing the worst.

To my pleasant surprise and relief I couldn't see anything obvious. In fact, at first, I couldn't see any damage at all. I then saw the initials T D chiseled into the stone (the side opposite the road) but (thankfully) these are small and looked old to me. They certainly didn't look fresh, nor was I able to see any others. Perhaps the sun was at the wrong angle?

Ironically enough Danielle was quite taken be the carved initials G Hay 1869? on the other side of the stone. She liked the quality of the 'work'. It has to be said it is well done. However, that was then, this is now. No defacing (however well done or not) is excusable in this day and age. I hope the initials I saw are the ones Cerrig reported and that I haven't somehow missed something much more serious.

Maen Llia is an outstanding stone and one of the gems of prehistoric South Wales. I just wish everyone had as much appreciation for it as we do. At least we now have one new member of the Maen Llia appreciation club!

Maen Madoc (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.10.15

Next stop of the tour led us to Maen Madoc, an impressive stone which is well worth the walk.

Thanks to the recent fine weather most of the track leading to the stone was dry (a first for me) - no need for the wellies I wore then!

When we arrived at the stone the sun was in the perfect place in order to see the Latin inscription. The sun cast a shadow across the letters and it was really easy to make them out. Far easier than my previous visitis.

The sun was shining brightly, the sky a deep blue and a near full moon was also on display. The wind had eased and the temperature was warming up nicely.

Danielle was pretty much 'blown away' with the size of the stone and its inscription. A definite win-win. When passing (to visit the nearby Maen Llia) make sure you take the time to visit Maen Madoc. You won't be disappointed.

Carn-Yr-Arian (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.10.15

The second stop-off on my mini tour of Brecon sites with my niece. When I tried to find this cairn 5 years ago I failed due to the trees. This time, as mattbotwood informed, the trees have been 'harvested' and the cairn is easily see from the road running past it. I can now see that the last time I visited I was looking in the wrong part of the plantation - no wonder I didn't find it!

There was no forestry work going on, the trees are all gone and only large piles of stacked timber remain. We parked on the grass verge and carefully picked our way through the sawn tree trunks and branches.

We soon reached this large cairn of grey stones which has a large hole in the centre where it has previously been dug into. I climbed right to the bottom (a fair drop) to look for any signs of a cist but couldn't see any. This is a fine (if mangled) cairn and well worth a visit. I am glad to have finally seen it.

I noticed that when the trees were growing thay had been planted in a circle around the cairn to protect it. Hopefully the same will be true when they plant the next generation of trees?

Cefn Sychbant (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.10.15

The beautiful weather this week had given me 'itchy feet' and I was desperate to take advantage of it. A day off work and here I was, back up the Brecon Beacons for the first time in many months.

This time I had my neice for company as she is very keen on history/prehistory and also managed to get the day off. She had only previously been to a couple of prehistoric sites so I thought I would treat her to a day out up the Beacons.

The first port of call was Cefn Sychbant Cairn. Easily found and easily accessed. The recent dry spell of weather had made the ground pretty dry underfoot and we crossed the moor from the road without difficulty or wet feet.

The hill cloud had not as yet lifted and the breeze was cold. Danielle was suitably impressed by the cairn and I did my best to describe what it was, when and how it was built etc. This was Danielle's first ever cairn - not a bad one start off on!

The only down side was the amount of rubbish along the side of the road. The usual stuff - plastic bottles, beer cans, wrappers etc. I filled a bag to take home with me but there was still a lot left behind. What's wrong with these people? They don't realise how lucky they are to have the wonderful Brecon Beacons on their doorstep. At least there was no litter at the cairn - couldn't throw it that far no doubt :(

St. Lythans (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.9.2015

No, it wasn't the equinox but as close as I could get as I am in work tomorrow and the weather forecast for today wasn't great. In fact it was 50/50 for yesterday but for once the weather gods were smiling.

I awoke at 6.00am to a grey morning but with most of the sky clear of any obvious cloud. I had wanted to see if my theory that the burial chamber lined up with the equinox was correct? I jumped into the car whilst everyone else slept and by 6.45am was stood inside the chamber.

It was very atmospheric. Low mist blanketed the surrounding fields while the sky above was becoming increasingly blue. A rabbit scurried across the field, geese noisily flew overhead and in the distance a cockeral was doing its thing. The herd of cows in the same field as the chamber came out of the mist and made their way towards me.

I scanned the horizon hoping that I would be able to see the sun clearly through the mist and any cloud. I wasn't to be disapointed. At 7.10am a bright dark orange orb rose up over the horizon and through the far trees. As it rose it changed to light orange and then a bright light too strong to look at.

I stood inside the chamber and the sun rose perfectly in line with the entrance - I was right! This was the first time I had seen the sunrise from inside a burial chamber - what a feeling!! Magnificent! It was soooooo worth getting up for..........

By now the cows had surrounded the chamber (with me inside) and one was having a good old scratch against one of the side stones. This didn't bother me as I have been in many fields with cows in so I just shooed them away when it became time to leave. Cows are nothing to be afraid of although they are large so you do need to be careful and use common sense.

On the way back to the car I bagged up a good pile of cow manure. That will do may veggie plot a bit of good next year. All in all a highly successful and rewarding morning. Something I intend to repeat at sometime. You should try it too.
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I have visited both historic and prehistoric sites for a number of years but since 'discovering' this website my visits have spiralled out of control!
I am now out 'exploring' as often as possible and have been to many wonderful places I didn't even know existed before using this website.
Having visited all the CADW sites I am now trying to visit all the E.H. sites and as many H.S. sites as possible.
In trying to achieve these goals I get to travel all around the country and with it the chance to visit as many sites as possible mentioned on this fine website. I hope some of you find my contributions a little helpful?
I have certainly found the contributions made by others to be both very informative and often quite amusing!
I must also mention the lovely Karen whom without her help, encouragement and understanding I would not be able to visit half of the places I do.
I am forever grateful.

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