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Fieldnotes by tjj

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Uffington Castle (Hillfort)

Today (after the nation's collective bad weekend) I had the opportunity to walk up White Horse Hill at Uffington. Probably my favourite place, the place that represents home to me. The moment my feet start to walk up, peace descends and the turmoil of our current political situation fades, not into insignificance but certainly into proportion. This is my England, ancient and symbolic. A profusion of orchids and wild thyme growing on the banks of the hillfort. Sat on a wooden bench up there to have a snack, listening to the skylarks, watching red kite soar up from below and rise high into the thermals, in the distance the London train speeds by - looking almost toy-like from this height . The white horse is currently being re-chalked but paid my usual respects anyway. Then for a walk along the Ridgeway, more wild orchids. Didn't go as far as Wayland's Smithy today, just wanted to see, touch and hear my little bit of old England again. Feeling a better for it - for now anyway.

Kilbeg (Court Tomb)

My final stony entry from my memorable holiday in Donegal. This is thanks to my map reading, tomb hunting companion for the week. After visiting the Muckros peninsula, we found a rather breath taking megalithic tomb at Kilbeg on top of hill overlooking Teelin Bay and the Slieve League mountains. We had to climb over a fence and up a hill to see it - I must admit to being a little reticent but friend went up the hill first before urging me to follow. I did and it was so worth the climb to the top of the hill - siting a tomb in such a place of wild beauty makes so much sense when you are actually there. The tomb is basically what we would describe as ruined but still very recognisable as a court tomb.

Nearest town Kilcar, Map ref: OSI (Ireland) Discovery Series, No. 10, grid ref: 598755. This series of maps has all the megalithic tombs and other ancient monuments shown on it so an 'essential'.

Croaghbeg (Court Tomb)

Visit to what we thought Shalwy Court Tomb 23rd May 2016. Having read Gladman's field notes and studied the existing photos I think we may have found Croaghbeg so am transferring my original field notes from Shalwy to Croaghbeg. Both close to each other and both very difficult to access.

Tuesday dawned warm and sunny and in the morning we set off to find Shalwy /Croaghbeg Court Tomb (east of Kilcar: our ref - OSI 648753).
Using OSI map (my friend is pretty good at this) we parked car in layby on the main road out of Kilcar and walked down a steep single track road, turning right at the bottom. We then walked about a mile along a straight(ish) narrow road to the next right turn back uphill – the walk overlooked the sea which was sparkling that morning, early foxgloves had started to appear, a peat stream fell down the hillside and appeared from under the road on the other side to tumble down the rocks to the sea. Quite a few houses along this road, all well spaced out and beautifully maintained, some unoccupied, probably holiday homes. In fact we asked a woman who was painting her garden bench for directions and it was she who directed us back uphill to the spot where we could a large, newly built grey house on the side of the hill.
Walking back uphill again, we passed a well at the side of the overgrown track – this beautiful wild hillside now has individual houses appearing (something we noticed around Kilcar too) and we finally spotted the rather splendid court tomb - with a four stone chamber standing separately in the court area - at the bottom of the hill behind the houses we had walked past earlier and immediately below the new grey house, which didn’t appear to have anyone living in it (another holiday home perhaps). The court tomb was surrounded by nettles and brambles, the climb down very steep. My intrepid friend was up for it but I wasn’t – mindful of the fact there is often no mobile phone signal in Donegal (and there wasn’t here) I felt it wasn’t worth the risk of turning an ankle or otherwise injuring self so settled for taking a photo with my zoom. Yes, I admit to being a wimp but this wimp went on to have lunch in Killybegs before spending the afternoon exploring a narrow unspoilt peninsular known as St. John’s Head – which has a lighthouse at the end and a coral beach.

Malin More (Portal Tomb)

We visited these on our second visit to Glencolmcille, after going back to Cloghanmore (and last full day of the wonderful week in Donegal) . Our first attempt had been unsuccessful as we weren’t able to find them. This time we asked in the visitors centre/gift shop and were given a little hand drawn map. Leaving Glencolmcille on the road to Malinbeg just over a bridge we turned right up a narrow road to some farms (a house on this turning had a rather impressive garden ornament in the shape of a small portal tomb). The six great portal tombs were not in such good condition – they span two narrow fields both of which had farm animals in them. The three in the first field had three nursing cows with their off-spring standing close by. The cows became agitated by our presence at the gate so we decided to not go in the field. All three of these enormous tombs were unrestored and partially fallen. The other three tombs were in a similar state although the largest one was partially restored with some supporting stonework – also partly in the garden of a nearby house. The second field had a ram and ewe standing guard – again we erred on the side of caution and didn’t enter the field.

This short passage is taken from “Gleancholmcille – A guide to 5000 years of history in stone” by Michael Herity:

“ … towards 2000BC, Gleancholmcille was lived in by a later group of stone age farms with a rather different style of tomb building. Their monuments are portal tombs. This type is well represented near Gleancholmcille – on the north side of the valley behind the school and again across the valley to the of Cloghanmore. At the west end of Malin More valley, six portal tombs arranged in a line are part of one huge, unusual monument, probably 90m long originally”

Edit: Have belatedly posted a photo of a beautiful white quartz stone which incorporated into the field wall by the Malin More tombs. Given the tombs are in a ruinous state I do wonder if this stone was taken from one of them?

Drumskinney (Stone Circle)

I had seen the sign for Drumskinny Stone Circle on the journey towards Donegal and made a mental note to try and visit on the way back as just over the border with Northern Ireland in County Fermanagh off the main road between Donegal Town and the village of Kesh. The monument consists of a stone circle, cairn and stone alignment and comes as something as a surprise as it seems to be in miniature. The peat bog has also been removed around the monument replaced by gravel. There is an information board by the gate into the site which verifies it authenticity - I've recorded it below as some will find the measurements a little odd. Could this be a place of 'the little people' I wonder :)

"Management History: Drumskinny Stone Circle first came under public management in 1934 when it was taken under the charge of the Ministry of Finance (MOF). Lying in shallow upland bog, poor drainage had caused recurring water-logging of the site. This was detrimental to the presentation of the monuments and inhibited inspection by visitors. In 1962 measures to improve the site’s amenities were implemented by the Ancient Monuments Branch of the MOF and involved the removal of peat down to the natural boulder clay and the laying of stone chippings in the area of the monument. As no previous examination of the monument had taken place, these works allowed for an archaeological excavation under the supervision of D.M. Waterman.

The Monuments: The archaeological monument at this site consists of a stone circle, a cairn, and alignment. The stone circle, although not geometrically accurate, maintains a fairly consistent diameter of 13.1m and includes three apparent gaps. Waterman’s excavation discovered 31 standing stones, an additional fallen stone lying adjacent to its socket and the former presence of seven more uprights (indicated by stone socket holes), suggesting an original minimum of 39 stones around the circumference. The stones vary in size and shape with the shortest only 38cm above ground level, while the tallest rises to almost 1.8m.
The circular cairn, lying one metre north-west of the stone circle, is carefully constructed of boulders and slabby stones. It has a regular diameter of 4 metres, and stands approximately 30cm in height at the edges, rising to 45 cm in the centre of the cairn. During excavation, no trace of burial or any other form of deposit was revealed.
The alignment directed towards the centre of the cairn consists of small stone uprights and extends to a distance of 15m towards the south. Of the original estimated 24 stones only 16 remained at the time of Waterman’s excavation. The highest stone still standing rises to 48 cm.

The Finds: during excavation, a small number of artefacts were discovered. A small piece of probable Neolithic potter was found in clay at the east of the stone circle. A hollow scraper was found under stone spread at the north-west side of the cairn. Six further flints were found in the area of the cairn, two them burnt."

Note: After our visit, on the drive back to the main road we noticed three large standing stones in a field opposite a small white church, not far from Drumskinny. Didn't have time to investigate as had to get down to Dublin. I'd very much like to know any information about these stones.

Farranmacbride (Court Tomb)

This site was a complete surprise and ultimately far more satisfying to visit than the easy to find and well preserved Cloghanmore. Firstly, we weren't really aware of it except it was listed in Michael Herity's little book 'Gleancholmcille - A guide to 5000 years of history in stone' as one of the stations of the turas - number 9 in fact. His book was first published in 1998 (reprinted 2005) so some things may have changed. We had gone to Glencholmcille on the first full day of our week which happened to be a Sunday. Wandering around in the sunshine, partly to dry off from an early soaking while visiting Cloghanmore we noticed a large number of young people walking from turas to turas. We walked to a few of them out of curiosity as much as anything - gradually soaking in the ancient atmosphere of the place. Turas number 9 was an unremarkable mound of stones with a cross-pillar but no sign of a more ancient monument.

Just as we were about to leave Glencholmcille, my friend drove back to 'station 9', then while driving slowly uphill along a narrow road I spotted something in a field that looked like a portal tomb. We left the car and walked back downhill, really just following our feet and came to a narrow gate into a field. Still following our feet we walked uphill to another gate into a stone walled enclosure. Here were two what looked like very fine portal tombs - now for the surprise. Next to this stone walled enclosure was another enclosure with a separate gate - here, completely out of sight to the casual observer, was an unreconstructed court tomb facing towards the two portal tombs. The front court still very much intact. All facing down from their hillside towards the rocky hills surrounding Glencolmcille.
This must have been where it all started in this area, with early Christians following in the footsteps of people far more ancient. I was moved in way that just didn't happen at Cloghanmore - here, amid all the early Christian cross slabs and history was something far, far older.
The atmosphere at this site was wonderful, it felt as though the day, which had got off to an inauspicious start, had suddenly given us a gift. I really didn't want to leave.

Cloghanmore (Court Tomb)

Visited Cloghanmore Court Tomb on the first day of my week in Donegal. The sky opened and we experienced that Donegal phenomenon 'four seasons in one day' just as we reached the tomb. We stayed quite a while though in truth were preoccupied with trying to get some shelter from the torrential shower. My friend had left car in the carpark at the Gleancholmcille Woollen Mill about 100 metres from Cloghanmore's own small car park but eventually decided to go ad get it while I waited huddled by one of the chambers. It felt a bit eerie standing alone in the rain in what is probably Donegal's largest court tomb.
Paid a return visit on the Friday, this time it was warm and sunny. There were a couple of people already there so I went and sat on some higher ground slightly above the tomb until they had finished taking photos etc. This turned out to be a useful thing as this very large court tomb probably seen better in its entirety from above.

See Gladman's excellent fieldnote for a full description of the tomb.

Beltany (Stone Circle)

Information taken from leaflet obtained from the Heritage Centre at Raphoe.

Beltany Stone Circle (also spelt Beltony):
“On the summit of Beltony Hill just over a mile from Raphoe there stands one of the finest stone circle in Ireland. Reputed to be older than Stonehenge, it consists of 64 standing stones out of an original 80. The stones range in height from 4’ to 9’ (1.2-2.7 mts) while the diameter of the circle is 145 ft (44.2 mts). To the S.E. of the circle is an outlying stone 6 ft(2mts) high.
Beltony is a corruption of Baal Tine – the fire of Baal, this suggests the people who lived in this area worshipped Baal the sun god – ‘ruler of nature’.
Tradition tells us that the principle ceremonies were performed at Summer Solstice. A sacred fire was lit in the centre of the circle. The circle of stones were supposed to represent the stars and the fire in the centre the sun god Baal.
The Irish word for the month of May is Bealtine and on the first day of May two fires were lit. The cattle and other domestic animals were driven between the fires so as to gain protection against diseases. This custom is also practiced in parts of Brittany and Scotland.
One romantic tale with a puritanical flavour suggests that the outlying stone is a musician whilst the circle of stone are dancers who are turned to stone for their revelry during the Sabbath.
A more credible theory suggests that the outlying stone as well as other features of the adjacent horizon were used by these ancient peoples to determine astronomical alignments. Various alignments have been pointed out including the Winter and Summer solstice. The Spring and Autumn equinox and early November sunrise marking the beginning of the Celtic festival of Samain. But the most persuasive alignment must be from the tallest stone at the S.W. to the triangular stone decorated with cup marks at E.N.E. This alignment points to a small hill about five miles away known as Tullyrap where the sun rises over its small summit on the first day of May – the Celtic festival of Bealtaine from which this stone circle gets its name.”

Our visit took place on Thursday 26th May -
after stopping off briefly in the nearby town of Raphoe we followed the brown heritage signs to Beltony about 2 km outside of the town. There is a small parking place and a rather lovely wooded walk uphill to the Circle. The stone circle is one of the best I’ve seen, in my view comparable to Castlerigg and Sunkenkirk in Cumbria as, like them, it is surrounded by hills. There is an outlier stone similar, though not as big, to the Heel Stone at Stonehenge. A wonderfully atmospheric place in the lush green fields of east Donegal.

Kilclooney More (Portal Tomb)

Kilclooney More Portal Tomb
Visited Monday 22nd May 2016
Notes from the information board at the nearby Dolmen Eco Centre.

“The tomb is 4000 years old. Unburnt and burnt human remains with remains of plain and decorated pottery vessels and flint tools and weapons including arrowheads.
Consists of two chambers about nine metres apart: within a destroyed rectangular cairn lying north-east the base of which measures about 25 metres long. The smaller chamber in the south-west, faces roughly the same direction and into the remains of the cairn. The larger tomb has portals about 1.7 metres high with a sill 50 centimetres between them. The backstone supports a small padstone on which the back of the great roof stone, 4.2 metres long rests. This is set to slope upwards over the portalled entrance and to oversail it, making a very impressive monument even in its present state. The side stones of the monument are set on their long ends and are lower in height. They may originally have supported corbels which would have sealed the chamber to the level of the roof stone. The second smaller tomb is similar in design but has an unused lintel above the portals which increases the slope at which the roofstone is pitched. There are the remains of roofing corbels (now slipped down from their original position) outside the side stones.”

The visit: We followed a grass path at the side of Kilclooney Church through two or three fields (one containing four donkeys). Kilclooney Portal Tomb was clearly visible in silhouette on higher ground in front of us. It is a spectacular site – as described in the Dolmen Eco Centre notes the two tombs sit within a large, though incomplete, rectangular cairn enclosure. As always seems to be the case there were hills in view. All we could do was stand and ponder a while with no small amount of wonderment. An couple with their dog came, took photos and went while we stood there.

Knockmany (Passage Grave)

This was a complete surprise. Stopped off in Co. Tyrone to visit some old friends of the friend I was travelling to Donegal with. They just happened to know Mark Bailey the Director of Armagh Observatory who holds the key for Knockmany. He and his wife very kindly accompanied our small group up to the cairn which sits at the very top of a reasonably steep hill - commanding 360 degree views in all directions. Going inside the chambered cairn was a real thrill - my first close encounter with Irish rock art. Mark Bailey has the theory (a good one I should think) that the skies were once far more active in terms of comets and visibility that they appear to be now. And that the spiral shape with a 'tail' replicates a comet tail structure. We decided that the cairn was aligned north/south orientated due south towards Slieve Gullion and the Mournes. The cairn now has a clear glass covering and is not accessible without the key to the grill gate. However, most of the tomb can be seen quite well through the gate.

Barbury Castle (Hillfort)

Sometimes Facebook throws up a delight. For a while now I've been linked up with a Facebook page called 'Swindon - Past and Present'. A Swindon archaeologist by the name of Bernard Phillips has been posting some very interesting items about sites of archaeological interest in and around Swindon. Just read this about Barbury Castle:

"South of Wroughton, stands the Boroughs largest and most impressive Iron Age hillfort - Barbury Castle. Like Liddington Castle it was built around 750BC. Its double defensive ditches and ramparts enclose an area 11.5 acres (4.65 hectares). A geophysical survey in 1996 and an earthwork survey in 1998 by the Royal Commission for Historical Monuments recorded forty hut circles and hundreds of pits within it. Chance discoveries include a blacksmiths hoard that comprised knives, sickles, awls, spearheads, an anvil and a chariot fitting, and pits containing pottery and skeletons. The combined evidence points to this hillfort being dominant in the region serving domestic, agricultural, trading, military and religious functions throughout the Iron Age."

The Longstone (Exmoor) (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Just had a short break in north Devon, walking on Exmoor; along the coastal path from Lynton; and the green paths around some of timeless, unspoilt villages. I was aware before going that apart from Bronze Age barrows there was no exceptionally impressive prehistoric archaeology on Exmoor – we did manage to find the Long Stone and associated barrows, Longstone Barrow and Chapman Barrows. The Long Stone stands in very boggy land about half way between them. A local man who worked in the Exmoor Visitor’s Centre down in Lynmouth told us he understood there was as much of the stone beneath the surface as there was above – the stone stands approximately three metres high (nine feet) and slim in width.
We started our walk by walking uphill towards the Pinkery Exploration Centre from Goat Hill Gate where there is a small road side parking area. The path up to Pinkery Pond was by and large a good one – once at the top it became considerably cooler and windier in the autumn sunshine. We then followed the fence line path to Wood Barrow Gate where we had to climb over a tricky barbed wire fence as the actual path was on the other side of the fence. At this point our progress was watched by a herd of Highland cattle as this was true moorland. The ground very boggy – good walking boots essential (I was very glad I changed my mind about going up there in light walking shoes). We stopped for a bit at the Long Stone Barrow to have a drink and a snack before going over to the Long Stone, which is quite well camouflaged against the moorland grass. It’s an intriguing stone and we couldn’t help speculating about why it was there, I imagine its purpose is closely related to the large barrows on either side of it. As we retraced our steps back to Pinkery Pond we saw a pair of red deer in the distance, one of them definitely a stag. Walking downhill into the warm afternoon sunshine following the course of a moorland stream made our walk an enjoyable experience indeed.

Cadbury Castle (South Cadbury) (Hillfort)

Visited Cadbury Castle a couple of days ago while driving back from the Somerset/Dorset area. The sun was sinking as we climbed up the steep stony track from the village of South Cadbury. When we reached the top everything was bathed in the glow of the setting sun. Fabulous views of the surrounding landscape, quite easy to imagine this may have been the site of a the mythical city of Camelot. Back down in the small car park, I tried to read the information board - the light was failing by now so I photographed it and have reproduced the text below. A fascinating potted history of England from the time of the Neolithic up to the 15th Century.
(Information based on the work of Leslie Alcock and the excavations at Cadbury Castle 1966-70).

From the Neolithic Age (3,000BC) to early 11th Century, the fortress of Cadbury Castle was in turn military stronghold, centre of trade and culture, and probably focus of a religious cult; by the early 16th Century folklore identified it with Camelot of Arthurian legend.

Iron Age Town – A modest Bronze Age settlement on the summit grew into a large and spectacular hill fort town, a centre of craft, trade and religious worship. The place was probably a ‘capital’ of the Durotriges whose territory included central and southern Somerset and Dorset. Dwellings within ramparts were wood, wattle and thatch. At first left alone by the Roman government, the town was forcibly cleared around 70AD by the Romans, an action which left some of the inhabitants dead and which removed others to settlements in the surrounding countryside.

The Dark Ages and Camelot – People returned to the site towards the end of the Roman period and by 500AD there was a massive refortification on the hill top. Defences of timber and dry stone walling replaced the earlier banks and posts of the new south-west gate were embedded in solid rock. Within the defences stood a large, aisled timber hall. The scale of the work and precious pottery found from the eastern Mediterranean imply a wealthy, sophisticated and highly organised military society.
The only surviving written record of the 5th Century shows Britain divided into tribal ‘kingdoms’ and later Celtic tradition tells of a series of battles against invading Saxons under the command of a figure called Arthur. Cadbury, strategically placed to defend south-west Britain, could well have been the base from which Arthur led his troops to the final victory of Mons Badonis, whether that was fought in Dorset, near Bath, or in north Wiltshire. Cadbury was first linked to Arthur by Leland in 1542:
“At the very south ende of the Chirch of South-Cadbryri standeth Camallate, sumtyme a famose toun or castelle … The people can telle nothing ther but they have hard say that Arthure much resortid to Camalat” (sic)

Saxons and Vikings – The threat of Viking invasion during the reign of Ethelred II (the “Unready”) brought the hill top into use again as an emergency administrative and commercial centre in place of Ilchester. Coind were minted at Cadanbyric between 1009 and 1019 in the safety of new defences, and a church may have been begun but the ramparts were again destroyed. Soon after the mint returned to Ilchester."

Great Orme Mine (Ancient Mine / Quarry)

Not sure what I can add to previous fieldnotes so this is just a record of my visit last week 2/6/2015.

Spent the morning walking up to Aber Falls which are truly spectacular. After lunch in Abergwyngregyn we made our way to Llandudno and the Great Orme. By now it was a bright afternoon but very windy - I mention this because the wind on the Great Orme headland was too fierce to stay out in for more than a short while.

However, the Great Orme mine was sheltered from the wind and needless to say non-existent underground. This was somewhere I've wanted to visit for a long time so was able to put my usual claustrophobia aside. Before going into the mine you have to select a hard hat and are invited to watch a short introductory video - which proved to be helpful, informing us that the ancient mines were unearthed in 1987. We were joined by a couple from West Yorkshire and let them lead the way down into the narrow 3,500 year old passages leading to a massive, prehistoric cavern which is lit by coloured lights. The passages eventually come back out into the 4,000 year old Great Opencast.
To say this place is awesome is no exaggeration - the visitors guide to Llandudno quotes Current Archaeology Magazine "Stonehenge is certainly a world class site but now it is joined by the bronze age mines at Llandudno."

In the Visitors Centre there are displays and artefacts depicting mining, smelting and life in the Bronze Age. The gift shop and second hand book shop are staffed by archaeologists and historians working on the site - all profits go back into the project.

For anyone visiting from Llandudno without a car there is the Great Orme Tramway - which apparently is Britain's only cable-hauled street Tramway. The first stop is Halfway Station and probably where you should get out for the ancient copper mine.

Capel Garmon (Chambered Cairn)

Visited Thursday 5th June, as part of a walk taken from 'Best Walks in North Wales' by Carl Rogers. The famous Victorian 'Fairy Glen' just above the Afon Conwy was at the start of this walk and of course a visit was compulsory on this beautiful warm June day (the best day of the week in weather terms). After visiting the Fairy Glen we crossed the lane to start the very steep zig zag walk up through a wooded area to eventually arrive on a peaceful lane leading to the village of Capel Garmon. Before entering the field to the tomb we had to run the gauntlet of a very barky border collie belonging to a nearby farm.

Capel Garmon burial chamber is described as "... one of the best examples of a Neolithic burial chamber in the locality and also has one of the finest settings - backed by a panorama of Snowdonia's highest peaks."
Very similar to some of the burial chambers to be found in the Cotswolds.
"The remains consist of a triple chamber faced with drystone walling as well as large upright stones using the post and panel technique."
A wonderful site in a stunning location.

Penrhosfeilw (Standing Stones)

Last visit of the day on 31/5/15.

I was starting to feel tired by now when I spotted a sign pointing uphill. My companion (the driver) kindly turned the car around and we went to investigate. These stones pleased me as much as anything I had seen earlier in the day. Early Bronze Age, standing in the middle of a field on top of a very windy hill. Visually aligned with Holyhead Mountain in one direction and Snowdonia in the other. These stones reminded me of the stones at the Ring of Brodgar - their narrow shape and height. No circle though, just two solitary tall standing stones.

Barclodiad-y-Gawres (Chambered Cairn)

Visited 31/5/2015

The interpretation board informed us that Barclodiad-y-Gawres means 'Giantess's Apronful'. I cannot add much in the way of field notes as we were not able to arrange a visit inside the tomb and could only look through the metal gate (which gave the tomb a cave like ambiance). A fabulous spot on the headland by a small bay, the entrance of the tomb faces towards the Irish sea and Ireland. The walk up to it was lovely, strewn with sea pinks on the day of our visit.

I understand there are engravings on some of the stones inside the tomb and these can be viewed by prior arrangement. I'm afraid we weren't that organised.

Bodowyr (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

This is a lovely ancient site to visit. Visited on 31st May as part of our little road trip around the south west side of Anglesey. Down a quiet, narrow lane with abundant wild flowers growing along the banks. The day was starting to warm up after a chilly start and it was a real pleasure to walk over to Bodowyr - the dolmen itself stands within protective railings but with the magnificent views towards Snowdonia, the railings melted away.

Wonderful!

Bryn Celli Ddu (Chambered Cairn)

This was the first site we visited on Sunday 31/5/2015. Easy access via quite a long path up to the burial chamber - to get to it involves crossing a small bridge and river, there was something about this that reminded me of Stoney Littleton. Anyway, suffice to say it lived up to expectations in spite of being extensively restored. The stone pillar was of course an enigma; the mysterious stone with spirals is in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff - a day trip I can make from home soon to take a closer look (see photo of information board).

The midsummer solstice solar alignment is well documented on the interpretation board over in the small car park.

Plas Newydd Burial Chamber (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

I felt bit intimidated by the organisation of the National Trust on the Sunday morning we visited Plas Newydd - we didn't particularly want to go into the house a it was shaping up to be a pleasant day weather-wise so viewed the dolmen from the top of the slope is has restricted access to the public. At that time we didn't realise that unless you view Plas Newydd Burial Chamber from fairly close up it is not easy to see how splendid it is, certainly not from the path at the top of the slope where you can only see the top of it.
We went back the next day as the weather had turned wet and windy, it seemed like a good opportunity to have a look around the house. This time we asked to use the little motorised buggy that ferries less mobile people down to the house around the restricted access area. Nothing wrong with our mobility but it was a way of getting closer to the burial chamber. The driver of the buggy told us that the NT doesn't encourage people to get close to it but will allow if you specifically ask. He kindly pulled up in front of the dolmen so I could take a photograph. By this time the rain was lashing down and I had rain on the lens - so my photos are not brilliant but they do show there are actually two dolmens - a large on and a small one. The smaller one is virtually hidden from view if you look from the top of the slope. Obviously, they were there a few thousand years before the house and would have looked out over the Menai Straights towards Snowdonia.

In spite of the rain, we didn't stay long in the house ... that wasn't what I come for.
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Passionate about:
Nature; stone circles and all ancient sites that involve walking through unspoilt countryside/being near the sea; islands around the the British Isles, especially those with ancient monuments.

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