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Fieldnotes by postman

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Chatton Camp (Hillfort)

In between Chatton hill rock art panels, and the amazing Kettley crag is this smart little hill fort, well, I think it's smart, so I'm quite staggered that no ones added any pictures or the site.
The entrance faces south east and on the left side of the entry looking in there is some large chunks of masonry. Two substantial concentric banks with at least one hut circle surviving within. Also within the fort is another rock art panel, apparently dubbed Chatton 4, a very large ring has been carved, next to it a line of quarrying holes, but after seeing picture 80 by Pebbles I can see that there was more there than the big ring, so not only am I crap at finding the art panels I'm also crap at looking at them.
I think I'll stick mainly to big stones, circles and cairns, so i'll start with a toddle down the hill to Kettley crag rock art panel.

Chatton (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Like everyone else I mainly came to see Kettley crags amazing rock art but got so much more for my money.
The parking place now has no long shed at all, black or otherwise, I also never saw any information board, but I wasn't looking for one.
A stile leads one into the first field, there was a poor little lamb stuck under it, Eric tip toed over it then wriggled free and ran off, I joined Eric and we tramped up the hill towards a gate and another stile.
Soon enough we started coming across many rocks and stones, we looked hard, at every sheet of rock and every boulder we came across, but inbetween the car and the trig point we only found the one panel, a very poor performance, if I were a football team I would've lost 8-1, if I were an American president I'd have got impeached. In my defence, there's very little rock art any where near where I live, so i'm more used to looking for big stones, circle and cairns, some of the carvings are quite worn, the light was very bright and not conducive to viewing faint carvings, I cant believe that one myself, either way the big white rock sheet was the only one I found, out of maybe a dozen, very poor. I did find a hillfort no else seems to care about though.

Whinny Hill (Stone Circle)

The rock art fraternity have well represented the prehistoric artwork across the road at Chatton hill and Ketley crag, but not one of them have posted anything about this stone circle, ok, it's not on the map but surely I cant be the first to get here?
Tearing through Chatton wee village on the B6348, look out for the parking place to go up Chatton hill, pass it by at speed and continue until you see a right turn at a long gated farm type track, parking room for one.
Strangely, Eric stayed in the car and my daughter Phil came with me, Two locked gates have to be knocked down, I mean climbed over, the track is long and straight and heads for some conifer trees. At the trees turn left through or over yet another locked gate, remember to fume and swear, this is a public footpath.
It was here at this locked gate that I realised I'd left my map in the car, or dropped it on the way down the track, I thought for a second and remembered all the map and google earth perusing I'd done prior to my arrival, even though it was over a mile from the road I was fairly confident of finding it without the map.
So, straight down the track to the confer trees, turn left and follow the path, green fields to the right, open moorland with stone curlew for added drama to the left. As you slowly go up hill, try to aim for the sharp angle of the north tip of Ros hill wood. Eventually we arrive at a wall, over the wall is a small but pretty lake, also not on the map.
Standing by the wall, I knew we close, look left and up hill, can I see a couple of stones peeping over the low but all covering heather, yes indeed I can, move in closer. Philli has come dressed for somewhere other than where we are and declines the opportunity to gaze upon the stones up close, like, so she sits by the wall and watches her dad wander off in the direction of those very interesting stones again.

Because of a single report of two stone holes found here, other reporters have presumed this is something other than a typical four stoner stone circle, but to my fully opened eyes this is absolutely what it looks like, a four poster.
The two big stones are really quite extraordinary stones, the star stone is perhaps a sandstone, red in colour and triangular in section, the sharp end of the triangle points uselessly at open moorland, or perhaps not. The other big stone is grey in hue, bulbous and cracked with dimples. The two smaller stones are, well, smaller, and less noteworthy, they could be larger than they look. One of the more ground hugging stones is about a yard away from a large hole, a hole that is situated perfectly to take up the final corner of the square, er, circle. It cant be anything other than a stone that has somehow come out of place.
The view is very commendable, Chatton hill and it's wealth of rock art and hill fort, the North Sea away over the hill, just visible, and the distant Cheviot hills, and nearer to is the pretty lake, framed with heather surmounted by forest. Whooooop!

I like four posters, and Northumberland.
Off to the seaside we go.

Pen Maen Wern (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Probably best to combine a visit with Waun Lydan standing stone one mile east, I approached from that direction, but I cant say whether it's the best way up.

So, the walk starts easily enough at Waun Lydan standing stone, Idwal says the way is pathless tussocky grass but surprisingly dry underfoot, I would go along with all that but I'd also add that the place looked to be totally devoid of life, no birds, no insects, nothing, just one mad postman stumbling round muttering to himself. The mutterings were mostly, god! where is it? how much further? and am I nearly there yet?
I couldn't see the stone from my start point so with limited help from map and compass I just aimed at something in the way and make it up from there, it was further than I anticipated, I nearly turned back, the only thing that kept me going was, you'll have to come back another time, and I really wanted to avoid that, this hill, not the whole place.
Nearing the top of the hill, for that is where the stone is, I could now see that the black shapes i'd seen from afar was extensive rock outcropping, which was nice. Among the rocks I could see the stone, massive sigh of relief intermixed with gasping for air and then I thought, what if it's a trig point? I am on top of a hill, I decided that if it was, and I couldn't see the stone from there, then screw it I'm going home.
Fortunately it was the standing stone, and it was a beauty.
Like it's not very near neighbour, it is wearing a ground protecting wire mesh skirt, which seems to be working well, and the views again are extensive, to be expected on top of a hill. One mile north is Claerwen dam where land rovers climb, but thats a different show.
There is far more quartz in this stone than it's neighbour, it is almost all perfectly white, like a covering of soft, refreshing snow. It is very lovely.
When I got there, there was two things that had been placed next to and on the stone, on top of it was a rams skull, complete with long curly horns, it was quite heavy so I didn't take it home, but I couldn't leave it on top of the standing stone so I put it on another smaller stone close by, it could still see the standing stone and perform any stone protecting from there. At the foot of the stone was a framed photo of a bunch of paratroopers next to their plane, perplexing, did they all die in a crash here in the last two years? did one of them die in action and this was a place he loved? who knows, it was better than some of the tat you see left at some Wiltshire sites.
On a nicer day with less wind and time to spare, this would be a good place to sit and relax some, but I have to go, right now, so channeling the spirit of tough as nails soldiers everywhere I set off across this grassy desert at a quick march, which then turned into a yomp, and then ended as it always does as a stumbling stagger.

Waun Lydan (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Driving south on the west side of Caban Coch reservoir, look for the end of the lake, there is a left turn by a telephone box and a small car park, if your a good boy, park there and walk all the way, it is a long way.
But if like me, your a naughty boy, take the left turn by the phone box, cross the bridge, turn right and proceed through the Rhiwnant farm yard, real quiet like.
A number of gates have to be got through and it's about here where you'll decide that the track has become way too rough and you should have left the car way back there. Unperturbed I left my watch daughter looking after the car, at the end of a long stand of conifers, and started the long walk up hill.

Proceeding up the track the nearest hill right in front of you is the one you want, the track will look like it's taking you away from where you want to go, passing the car mostly buried by house bricks, wait for the track to split in two, ignore both tracks now and just keep going up, up and a bit more up til you can see the stone.
Avery nice stone is this Waun Lydan, it's about 6ft tall, vaguely triangular in shape from two sides. At the bottom of the stone it is wearing a wire mesh skirt, is this stone a girl then? or, more likely, is it protecting the stones nether region from snuggling sheep, probably the latter.
Most noteworthy are the quartz seems, orange and white ribboning all over the stone, actual crystals are pooling in places, very nice.
The views from the stone are quite extensive, to be expected from the top of a hill, north, and east are the reservoirs, south are bigger hills like Drygarn Fawr, west is the distant rock strewn hill top of Pen Maen - Wern, site of another stone, even more quartzy than this one. To Pen Maen-Wern we go then.

Beddau Folau (Chambered Cairn)

On the east side of the Garreg-ddu reservoir there is a small wooded waterfall with room for two or three cars to park, as already mentioned by Gladman. Walk back south down the road til you come to the path, a sign states it is a bridleway but I cant imagine many folk take their horses up there, that would be bordering on animal cruelty, like riding round on it's back isn't.
The temptation is to follow the stream up but it is impassable, the bridleway is the way. It's pretty steep going, many pauses were had, and one lie down. Once over a rocky outcrop the path levels out, crosses the small river, the Afon Dolfolau, then heads straight off into the hills.

I knew it was close to the footpath, but I didn't know it was that close, if your wandering round with your eyes on the hill tops you will fall over it.
After picking myself up I scampered away up the heather covered outcrop right next to the cairn to have an over view of the site, something one has to do, surely. It's well worth the twenty yard detour.
Back at the cairn and I'm having another lie down inside the monument, it's stone, grass, earth and ants nest was surprisingly comfy so I closed my eyes for a while, then I remembered my daughter is in the car waiting for me and it took longer than expected to get here, so I arise creaking from my near slumber and set about the place with my camera, it's very photogenic from most sides.
I wont describe the site, photos do that best, but I will pile a bit of scorn on the Ordnance survey for calling this a cairn, it's much more, so, scooooooorn.

Crugian Bach Cairn(s)

Not including Ty'n Y Graig, Craig Cnwch cairn with cist, there are three cairns here, one a low stoney grassy mound north of the path by a pair of stones. The other two are left of the path that you might take to Crugian Bach stone circle, both have more exposed stone than the lowest of the three, but not much in the way of cists. Good views of valley and hills, cant see the reservoir from here, but I can see where Rhos y Gelynnen stone row is, away west.

Craig Cnwch (Standing Stones)

From the south west corner of the woods by The Clyn farm house strike out on the well defined footpath/bridleway south west, first you'll come to a low grassy cairn, about fifty feet further west is a clump of tall reedy grass which is trying and failing to hide these two big stones.
So Coflein are calling this a stone setting are they? the most non committal naming of a site, ever.
A stone setting, yes, there are stones, two in fact, but a setting? does that not mean they have been purposely set in this position. They look like they are still awaiting their uprighting rather than having fallen.
Both stones are fairly squarish in section, one stone is much bigger than the other and would look good as a recumbent stone up in Aberdeenshire. These two are not the only prostrate stones in the area, there are more over the hill closer to the stone circle of Crugian Bach, some mentioned by Coflein some not, but all are hiding in tall reedy grasses. Bother. There are also two other stone rows less than four kilometers away. Brilliant.

Ty'n Y Graig, Craig Cnwch (Cairn(s))

Leaving Elan village on the small road to Llanwrthwl take the even smaller lane south to the Clyn. Either walk all the way up, or drive up to the south west corner of the trees, by a gate and park there.
I'm not quite sure why this site isn't grouped together with the other three Crugian Bach cairns, does having a half decent cist afford one ones owns site, apparently.
From the gate by the trees follow the path south east, passing a low cairn and a pair of fallen stones, the cairn we're after is on a small hillock north of the path, it's fairly unmissable.

Getting up to the same level as the cairn you can see that it's a fair sized cairn this one, from one side it's as tall as me. Cairns are one thing where bigger is better, but better still is to have your cist showing, show us yer cists, get yer cists out, and so on.
The side slabs of the cist are fairly battered and incomprehensible, but the cist lid, the capstone, is still big bright and beautiful and more or less in place, quite an oddly shaped capstone, more hexagonal than rectangular.
From up on the cairn you can see the positioning of the other three cairns, if you know where they are, and the two big stones, and away over the hill the unassuming stone circle of Crugian Bach. Which is where I'm off to now.

Crugian Bach (Stone Circle)

I don't get out as often as I used to, for a variety of reasons, so if I do get the chance it has to be somewhere high on the list, the list has by necessity and my endeavors gotten smaller, the Elan valley is one such place high on my list. I've been near here before seeing stone rows and standing stones, but thanks to Gladman a burial chamber and a stone circle had been brought to my attention. But really just a quick look at a good map shows that there's all sorts of something interesting on just about every hill top. The pretty hills and valleys are a much needed bonus, juxtaposing nicely with the flat concrete of home.

I parked the car as out of the way as possible at SN932633, the top of a farm lane just through a gate by the turn off for the Clyn farmhouse. The stone circle is almost exactly half a mile away south.
The walk starts off with many delays, by way of fallen standing stones and cairns and a cist, some delays are worth putting up with. Then it's fairly plain sailing through the grasses, mires and bogs until you get out into the middle of this particular no where. There isn't much around to get ones bearings by, so I wasn't at all surprised to find that the stone circle was proving elusive, exasperated by the stones lack of height. I could tell I was getting closer when I came across what I presumed were two fallen stones, they looked more like it than the coflein certified fallen pair further north. From these I could see a stone sticking up so I made for that, it was one of those confounding boundary stones, but from that I could see another stone sticking up so I made for that. Tadaa, restlessly wandering about swearing quietly to oneself payed off again, stone circle.

I just cant get into the mind of the prehistoric Welsh, why are the stones so low, big hills, big views, big barren wasteland moors, equals little stones does it? Did they come up with a magical reason for smaller stones, or were they just lazy, was the stone circle fad losing it's power by the time it got here, yes they needed a stone circle, for what ever reasons, but great big super heavy stones, apparently not.
Is it wrong of me to want a Callanish everywhere, surely part of the draw of standing stones is, how did they do it? that question doesn't come up here.
I don't know, I just wish they'd tried a bit harder.

Despite my sizeist reaction to the stones I still liked it here, this is after all a stone circle, over three thousand years old, when three thousand years you reach look so good you will not.
The central stone is intriguing, I think it is exactly that, once standing in the middle, what are they for, some kind of scientific or magical reason or just another trend in stone circle building?
The edge of the circle nearest to cairn topped Y Gamriw has the tallest bulkiest stones, the stones on the other side are barely above grass height. It's quite satisfying pulling moss and grasses from these lowest stones, bringing them back into the light, it's usually best to be above ground, Ive found anyway.

Garn Boduan (Hillfort)

I've wanted to come here to Garn Boduan for so long that I cant tell how long I've been waiting, nor do I know how I first learned about it, it seems like we've been waiting for ever to get to meet each other, and when we met (it was murder) the pleasure was all mine, seeing as Garn Boduan is an inanimate object, not alive, or is it. No its not, or is it.

This is the third peak of the day and not the last, and to tell you honestly i'm really quite crackered, things just aint what they used to be. I parked on the B4354 where I presume Gladman did, and started the long walk, hopefully there would be no explosion at the end, unless it's an explosion of enlightenment.
Despite my exhaustion the walk up the switchback path wasn't unpleasant, the trees are nice, the views are nice and the weather is still uncharacteristically nice.
Eventually I reach the fort, my first sight of the forts entrance brought a cry of relief from me, "that's an entrance" I gasped, just as a bloke and his son emerged from god knows where, I presume they didn't hear me and nod sagely as I pass them. I'm in the fort.

Once through the entrance I'm confronted with a superabundance of large hut circles, but I turn my back on them all momentarily and continue up the hill, there's a "Citadel" at the top of the hill and that is where I shall start my exploration of the fort. En route to the citadel a couple with a barking dog barr my way, the dog is barking at me of course, I must ooze postie from every pore by now, but I do what I must and I stride through the heather to confront my noisy assailant, why do some people seem to have no control over their animals, they never told it to shut up once, I still smile at them as I pass, but shoot the dog an unsympathetic glare.
They tell me its windy up there, talk about superfluous information.
When I hear the word citadel, I cant help thinking of The Lord of the rings, Minas Tirith mostly. But here on Garn Boduan a citadel apparently is nowt more than a broken wall on top of a hill, no knights, no ale quaffing, and no needy princess, lots of wind though.
I'm not disappointed though, far from it, sat out of the wind in what I presume is a walkers shelter built into one end of the wall, I've got a good view of the Rivals and my sexy hill, and much more besides. After a good long rest I get my camera out and set to having a good look round the cit, nope I cant do it, it's just the top of the hill, ok, so I'm looking round the top of the hill and it's a bit confusing really. The top of the hill isn't a big place, at either end of the hilltop is a pile of rubble with scooped out interiors and inbetween them a wall, the wall is still very together and good looking in places. The piles of rubble could be cairns, I hear, and that kind of makes sense, but why have a wall join them, confusing.
From on top, I should be able to see lots hut circles all round me, the information board has them all over the place, but the heather is quite high, and though the huts are without doubt there theyre walls are all quite low, unlike those at Tre'r Ceiri.

So I start the walk back to the south west corner of the fort where all the visible hut circles are. On route another dog starts barking at me, I shall call him Barky, Barky the stupid dog, his mistress to be fair told him to stop it and shut up but he refused and barked at me constantly, I sat and watched and waited for them to go, here theres a cliff type thing where you can stand above the hut circles and take them all in, they do look really good, one of them has walls five times higher than the rest, Im guessing, but I think this one is the one folk sit and eat butties out of the wind in or someone likes to do a spot of wild camping in, i'll just build that wall up a little bit.
Even here though on the lowest terraces only those huts in the south end of the fort are visible, why cant we see more? has there been some clearing or restoration work done.
Passing by several well defined but low circles I get to the wall, but it's too overgrown to have the prescribed circuit of the fort,
so I concentrate on the houses.
They're walls are not as tall as those at Tre'r Ceiri, but better than those at Carn Fadryn, so the middle fort has the middle best hut circles, if that makes any sense at all, I congratulate you.
Then lastly it's back to the entrance, there is now nobody round to bark at me or overhear me talking to myself, so I have a good look round, I try and follow the wall through the trees round the corner, but it's all too dense, so I sit for a while on the entrance, it's all very well defined and the stonework is good, and that's about it, how much can one say about a long big pile of stones with a gap in it, it's old and it looks good, and i'm betting much much more, if you reeeally try.
That's it for round here now, it's time for a long drive down near Barmouth for the last fort of the day, I'm not sure I have the energy or the time but I'm going for it anyway.

Bryn Castell (Hillfort)

This is not the best hill fort in North Wales, it's not even the best hill fort within site of Cader Idris, bit it is a North Walean hill fort within site of Cader Idris and that alone gets it on to my list.
Leaving Barmouth east alongside the Mawddach estuary on the A496, turn left at Bontddu, and follow this road all the way, one gate has to be opened and shut, a large parking place soon presents itself, avail yourself of it's services, and walk. It's a gentle up hill walk for about a half mile, the fort is soon in view.
It's only a small settlement, large enough for a single house with family, but they still felt the need to build a large wall round it. Perhaps the other fort across the river had some impact on them.
The highest point of this little fort has a large pile of rubble on it, I don't know what it is or was, I like to think it is the site of the house, surely it must be.
The stone rubble that was the wall round it does not now go all the way round it, on the west side it's all grassed over, to the extent that I could not discern an entrance to the site.

It was the mountain view that drew me here, and had the sky remained the same all day it would have been a fine view. But sadly the day has turned, the mountains hidden in cloud and now i'm being snowed on, so it must be time to go, but not before I up my thumbs to the Mawddach estuary and Pared-y-Cefn-Hir hill fort across the way, always great in any weather.

Tre'r Ceiri (Hillfort)

Cor my blimey it's been ten years since I was last here, time passes far too quickly, in the end there may not be time to do everything one wants, so this spring equinox provides me with the drive to get out and see a few hill forts. Leaving the house at 4am, the plan is to get to Tre'r Ceiri before the sun rises. I very nearly made it too, after parking in the wrong layby, and following the wrong path, which then vanishes whilst I'm checking on the suns progress, forcing me to pick a route, any route, and go up, I'm getting too old for this shite, clearly. The sun approved of my star watching position, sat amid big stone scree two thirds of the way up and granted me a quick glimpse of it's starry magnificence, before it clothed itself in low clouds hanging over the Moelwyns. It was a quickie sunrise, the sun was as it always is at daybreak, the golden glow wrapped the land in beauty and I smiled my sunrise smile, then it was over, it was like the sun knew I had a few things to do today so it let me get on my way, which I did. I knew early on that I was going up the wrong way, nay, the very wrong way, but it didn't take me by surprise when upon reaching the very top right next to the cairn, it wasn't just the wrong way up, it is by far the hardest.
But, easy or steep, hard or soft, I had reached the top. It was windy, really very quite windy, but it was sunny and the countryside was looking good, the sun came back out and after a sit upon the cairn, which was lots bigger than I remembered, I set off down the north west wall. Until I came into the hole in the wall, is it an entrance, a secret exit, is it originally original, post Roman, or what, I sat here too, relishing the stones humble gift of wind blocking. Follow the wall south to the big posh entrance, wonder in silence for a minute or three, then dive into the interior of the fort to get lost among the houses.
There's maybe a dozen places in the whole of Britain where you can see and touch the past in such a satisfying manner as this, I love the closeness of the houses to each other, I love the size of the walls and the perfect corners, surely there must be some restoration at work here, but it doesn't matter at all, I am far too blown away to dig up such minor trifles. Now over at the east wall north of the entrance where I should have come in. I sit at the battlements, the rocky outcrop that grows out of the wall, from here Mynydd Carngwch has it's most evocative side to me, it has the desired effect once more, bending myself back into the upright position I walk over to some hut circles packed in right up to the wall. Then after a bit more hutting I'm back at the main west entrance facing Yr Eifl. It is now that I must decide whether or not to put into action part two of my plan, climb up there and have a meet with the big cairn, I'm cold and a bit knackered, hungry, thirsty, but whilst thinking these thoughts my feet decide for me and i'm off, striding across the wilderness like a man with a plan, which I aint.

It has to be said that though Tre'r Ceiri is a brilliant place to be, the place you want to see it from is on top of Yr Eifl, god what an eyeful.
Outstanding.

Gray Hill (Stone Circle)

Directions - Do as Carl says.

It's just over a hundred miles from my house, at the far end of another country, but I've just had my malfunctioning car fixed so I had to go and see some stones. I'm sure you understand.
I didn't have an OS map and that worried me greatly, but after reading Carls notes twice, looking on street map and Google Earth I was confident I could find it.

After slowly slipping and tripping up the steep sandy path I reach the summit cairn, all but unrecognisable now, I pause only long enough to acknowledge the ethereal beauty of the fast moving swirling mists and take the Carl path to the stones, my daughter is waiting for me in the carpark at Wentwood reservoir so no time for sitting around.
Some major forestry? work has occurred up on the common, all the trees have been cut down leaving meter high stumps as far as the eye can see, with massive piles of said cut down trees here and there, it was a bit unpleasant. But I suppose it did help me to spot the tall outlying stone, so it's not all bad.

The tall furthest out outlying stone is rather a good one, if it was nearer to home I'd have come just for that alone, but from here I can see the other outlier, which stands right next to the stone circle, and I've been waiting an age to make it's acquaintance so I go straight over and introduce myself.

The right next to it outlying stone is another impressive tall stone, a small tree with nice clumps of bushy lichen on it stands by the stone, I sent monkey boy up it and another to get a looking down photo of the stones but branches get in the way, I should've brought the drone, but frankly I'm a bit scared of it. The sun is beginning to get through now and the mists are lifting, I'm warm so I disrobe slightly and set to tidying up the place prior to photographing the site thoroughly. That can be hard work for my poor back, and if anyone were to see me pruning and whatnot I might get a bit embarrassed, so I keep an eye out for other people. Once, I looked up at a nearby thud and two ponies were being led back home by a grey haired woman, escapees she explains. Right, ok, that's normal I suppose.

After a tidy up, the sun hits us with it's full winter force, well, it was bright and sunny, so I dashed round taking pictures, it looked really very nice, the colours seemed to leap out at me, and now the bridges are visible it adds a new dimension to the scene, I don't like what people do to the planet, but for some reason I do like these big bridges.
Time has run out sadly, the time which I suggested to daughter has been and gone, so I thank the stones, tell them they were good, (they like that sort of thing) and they are good, and take my leave.

Gray hill stone circle is a good one.

Windmill Hill (Causewayed Enclosure)

I parked to the immediate east of Windmill hill, just off the A4361, opposite East farm, leaving my weary daughter on car protection duties, then made my way up the white horse trail. You only have to follow the path across two or three fields and already it has taken me unseeingly close by three barrows, I did see a lady who looked like she spends a lot of time sitting around ancient places. I could slip into her shoes or wellies as they may be, quite easily. In short time I reach the top, a National trust sign informs me I am at Windmill hill, tell me something I don't know, another more faded sign shows me there are more barrows up here than I had anticipated, something I didn't know.

Once through the gate the first barrow is almost on top of you, naturally, I got on top of it and had a look around. Oh dear, there's much more up here than I had thought. Close to me are more barrows, with ditches winding around and through and off away around the hill. I thought there may have been a couple of barrows at best, I'm not going to have enough time.
Then I make for a barrow shape, only to find it's one of them funny reservoir thingies. Humph!
From there I make for the big barrow at the top of the hill, only to get beaten to it by a whole family, first on the scene was a little girl who had as much energy and enthusiasm as a football team made of modern antiquarians, she was dancing and spinning round, rolling down the barrow, poking her nose into rabbity holes and everything. Don't see that very often.
Most of the family left quickly, leaving one adult overseeing the exuberant child, who was playing in the deep ditch of the barrow, I don't think I've ever seen such a good ditch around a barrow before, reminds me places like Bryn Celli Ddu and Maes Howe.
Time had passed by like I was stuck in a time warp, making it time to get going, I left the hill top to the next generation of barrow rollers, and passed out of view. Then we went home, the motorway was crap.

Falkner's Circle (Stone Circle)

I've been wanting to come here for simply years, it wasn't until I finally decided upon a return to Avebury that I had a look exactly where it is, and well, blow me down, but I've only driven past it about a dozen times. Heaping upon the feeling of my inadequateness I spotted the stone from the road, it was there all the time, practically yelling at passers by to come over and have a look, but oh no, eyes are always well and truly glued upon the avenue stones.
Parking in the aforementioned layby by the avenue stones, cross over and follow the hedge to the site of the circle. As easy as the peasy.
Passing on the way, as you do, the hedge stone, a hefty stone that looks large enough to have once belonged to the very nearby circle, but it is part of an old wall, and is a completely different colour to all the Avebury stones, which are a decidedly pale white, the hedge stone is brown. What this means I can only guess at in an uneducated kind of way.

I can see how someone might just be a touch disappointed with Faulkner's circle, there is after all only one stone, which may not be in it's correct position. But not me though, I liked it a lot.
Firstly I was taken a back as to where it actually was, hardly equidistant, but between Ridgeway and the Avenue of stones, barrows crown the horizon on the Ridgeway. Secondly, why did they put a stone circle here, so close to the Avebury whopper, it doesn't make much sense, it's like building a church in a cathedral porch. But then nothing round here makes much sense, it's a sensory overload, stoney saturation point was reached some time ago, about another dozen trips to Avebury and I might get to see it all.
Still haven't walked along the Ridgeway to have a closer gander at them big barrows, nor have I been to East Kennett long barrow, the polisher or the spring. But there's still time today to take in one more never been to, and it's up hill.
Bye stone.

Devil's Den (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

I haven't been here for years, it was even before I had a digital camera, my memories of the site are kind of dulled by time but I distinctly remember being underwhelmed. Seeing as we've taken lunch from Greggs of Marlborough this would be the optimum moment to revisit and see if my memories are reliable.

Parking is a problem, there is no where to do it.
I tried on the main road, but that didn't feel safe at all, so I opted to park in the same place as Carl despite the sign saying park here and we'll tow you away, like Carl I left backup in the car in case of emergency.
The walk up the track is very muddy, but the sun was shining, the birds were flying and I was ready for some stones. As you get to the barn you can see the dolmen, I pause a while here and ponder the barns use as viewing platform up the valley, decide i'm being silly and keep on splashing through the mud.

I enter the enclosure of the Den and approach the stones, much is made of the fact that you're allowed to go to the stones any time you like, permission is already given. But, if there's no where to park your motor it's just a bit of a laugh isn't it, probably best to get Scotty to beam you straight to the site, walking? who needs it.
A big chunk of concrete helps support the stones, no one seems to mention it much, but there you go. They also call it a dolmen, is it really a dolmen? a portal dolmen maybe? I don't think it is, yes it's a stone lifted upwards by other stones, but that doesn't make it a dolmen does it?
If you like dolmens go to Wales.

But none of this means I don't like it, I do, very much, what it does mean is that a place as famous as this should have a little car park, just a simple one will do, one without fear of being towed away. And I'd like to know exactly what it is that remains of what, is it really a dolmen, is it all that remains of another big chambered cairn, or is it a mad folly, were any burials found, what do we really know about it.
My ponderings were then rudely broken by my daughter in the car saying that a tractor with a big spikey thing on the back was there, so I said I was on my way, waved cheerfully to the stones and left readying myself for yet another confrontation with the farming fraternity. But it didn't happen, he just passed me by on the track.

Still, not hard to understand my slight disappointment with the place last time. Stones, it's not you, it's me.

Craig y Dinas (Hillfort)

I first came across this defended settlement whilst blue spotting on Coflein some years ago, always keen to find somewhere new to observe I spied it through the looking glass that is google earth, and it looked good.
But it can take me a while to get there, sometimes it can take years, as it did here. During my journeys elsewhere, esteemed TMA'er Gladman came over and had a look and provided much picturey goodness, it does look good. I'm on my way Craig.

Two dolmens, a cairn circle, five standing stones, and a cairn have seen us through most of the day, but Ive seen them all before so as far as I'm concerned I've saved the best til last.
Dark skies are brooding over the mountains, there is no threat of rain from them, this afternoon they are for aesthetic appearance only. But Thesweatcheat and I are basking in the late golden glow of a beautiful December day, the light right now is just sweet, you could bottle it up and sell it for a million pounds a bottle. Bloody cold though, the biting winds are searching out gaps in my umpteen layers of clothing, there are no gaps, but it's still cold.

Leaving the Pont Scethin stones behind us we head south walking the more or less level ridgeway up to the fort, the ground is littered profusely with rocks, I note like Gladman the small pointy ones that remind us of those black and white horses, whilst noting them I cracked my knee on a big rock, cor strewth that hurt, still does several days later, heroically I said nothing .
As anticipated we reached the fort, as this is the easiest route to the fort I was kind of expecting the entrance to be here, but it weirdly is just left around the corner on the forts east side, but we didn't know that until we had already climbed up and over the high rampart, instead of the expected entrance there are two extra lines of ramparts at the north end.

Once in the fort I follow Alken on an anticlockwise peripheral walk, but I soon get distracted by the large chunk of sloping bedrock with a small boulder resting upon it's very top, I park my arse on the slope and take in the scene, it is very lovely. The sea view is a good one, that's where the blue sky and sunshine are coming from, the far off Lleyn peninsula succeeds in looking further away than it is, the Afon Ysgethin is a river of lava, lit up perfectly by the soon to be setting sun.
The mountain view is better still, dark clouds keep the peaks mostly in shadow whilst the sun does it's thing lighting up the mountain sides, the way light hits something at this time of day is, well, it's special, it shouldn't be, it's just the ground interacting with light that's spent longer in the Earths atmosphere, but, my it makes you take a deep breath and stare longingly for this kind feeling all the time.

Three of us have been here now but the other two both said it was better than they were expecting, do they not do there homework, tsk, for me it was just what I was expecting, I knew it would be a good one, and the good weather was a true bonus, Voodoo priestess I love you.
The walls, in places, are in what looks like still genuine iron age build, true I wouldn't know if there's a difference between their walling techniques and those from other time periods, but it's there, and it looks good. Presently we have worked our way round to the entrance, it's a bit small, and curly, and someone has shifted rocks around to make a throne, are you seeing this Fowler, i'm looking your direction. Out of the entrance and down hill fifty yards are hut circles, I think I saw four, one of them is in very good condition, very good for almost gone anyway.

Back up to the fort and it's time for the sun to sink into a low bank of cloud that hugs the far horizon, once more I totally and inadequately manage to photograph the moment. A few deep breaths later and it is sadly time to go, there will not be time to search out the cairnfield almost right next to the fort, it is going dark and we've a long drive home, nothing more to look forward to today except the drive home with lovely Lisa Tarbuck, but I will most assuredly be back soon, well, relatively soon.

Oh God, is that Dale Farkin Winton?

Pont Scethin, Double cairn (Cairn(s))

The map just says cairn, and I think we found a cairn, well, it was a slight bump with several stones protruding, if it's where maps says a cairn is then it must be a cairn. But for some reason know it all smarty pants Coflein says it's a double cairn, whatever one of them is. It gives no more information at all, there is only one cairn, and even that one is easily ignored, as it is almost flush with the ground.

Dear Coflein
About this double cairn at Pont Scethin, I believe you have been grossly mislead, so I submit myself for employment at your soonest convenience, presumably when you have laid off your current, erm...fool?
Yours sincerely
Postman

Waun Hir (Ring Cairn)

New and improved fool proof directions.
Presuming you've gone past Bron y Foel Isaf, turned right into the fields by the footpath sign, and arrived easily at the ruined buildings with two pine trees. Now follow the wall from the ruins south, climbing unsteadily over two low loose walls, look right for an alcove in the field wall, pass it by and in the corner of this field is a gate. The east/west wall by the gate is actually aligned on the cairn circle. Go through the gate into the field towards a small circular group of bushes, the stones encircle the bushes.
Moving through the field towards the stones is harder than it sounds, the grass is very long, the ground very uneven and riddled with tiny streams.
The bushes within the ring are much more grown than my first time here, nine years ago, I couldn't find it second time round, but I didn't have fool proof directions like this time. Found it very easily, went straight to it.
The undergrowth, even in December, is covering the stones far too much, part of me wants to spend all day there cleaning up, chopping back, revealing stones, perhaps on a warm day in March, maybe I will, but I probably wont.
The cairn circle is in places several courses high, I find it hard to believe the kerb stones of a cairn circle would be on top of each other. Some fiddling seems to have gone on here, some large stones stand slightly off the circumference, a group of stones off the circles south west corner, suggest, something, Alken reckoned it might be another circle or something, maybe, they are very suggestive.
Some of the stones are very large, some are standing edge on to the cairn. It really does need clearing up.
The light was just amazing, the sun poured down upon us, blue skies over the sea, but cloudy darkness over the mountains. The weather and the light can make or break a site, I cant even imagine how gloomy and depressing the place would be in fog and rain, am I turning into a fair weather stoner?
Probably.
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After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website ten years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Callanish
Balnauran of Clava
Torhouskie
Swinside
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Drombeg
Uragh
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

My TMA Content: