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Also known as Llywn y Fedwen after the nearby farmhouse.
Permission must be gained from the farmer before visiting.
His contact details may be provided by Glanusk Estate on which he is a tenant farmer (Glanusk Estate are the landowners of the nearby Fish Stone).
Those who are unprepared for a formal visit can spy the stone (About 14ft high) from the minor road which crosses the river Usk at the narrow medieval Llyndgynidr Bridge.
Before the bridge is a small cottage (with a public right of way marker) on the lefthand side of the road from here about two fields over the stone is clearly visible along the hedgeline.
If travelling in the opposite direction on the minor road on the southern side of Myarth Hill, the stone can be seen from this road after Gliffaes Hotel, but before reaching Llwyn y Fedwen farm (on the lefthand side).
It is reasonably easy to spot, apart from being approx 14ft high it is covered in white lichen.
The usual type of small Breconshire stone circle comprising of low stones.
Experts believe it to be late Bronze Age or in use for a very short time because of the looseness of some of the stones.
It is the only fully excavated stone circle in the old county. This work was carried out in the early 1940s shortly after the MoD took over the land. Since that time many of the stones have gone missing.
Until the discovery in 1994 of a stone circle further north, it was previously the most northerly of the concentration of stone circles in the western part of the old county.
The bleakness of the upland heathland makes the feel and views from Ynys Hir similar to those in the nearby Mynydd Bach and Nant Tarw examples, ie. wind, no trees, sheep, marshland.
To visit, as Kammer has posted below, will entail contacting SENTA (Sennybridge Training Area) for written permission. They do have a website, and parts of the firing range are being opened up to public access.
However, Ynys Hir will never be fully open as it is located in the central impact area (all ranges for safety purposes aim into the centre of the range).
The best time to visit is usually August when the range is least in use.
I had an excellent visit which involves:
Electronic security gates
Briefing (don't pick anything up or try to talk to soldiers as you may become involved in an exercise)
Having to use X Range Exchange to telephone back to HQ when I was on and coming off of the range.
The circle is a good 20min + drive away from where you have to sign in and pick up your car pass.
From X Range Exchange to the circle is a 10min + walk up an old unsurfaced track (muddy in wet weather).
Sadly, on my visit quad bike tracks were visible running through the circle.
Actually two long barrows in the same field.
These long barrows are part of the Black Mountains group of tombs.
OS map required
Permission to visited need from Ffostyll farm.
On unclassified road about 3km northeast of Talgarth.
Monuments are in a field to right and behind farmhouse.
Walk up a track a short distance.
Ahead are three gates on left, ahead and to right.
Take the one on the right.
Ffostyll South is visible ahead in the field.
This is the first time I have ever been intimidated by livestock. Rams, tupped or otherwise were in the field, and although content to urinate and growl around me when I was writing up fieldnotes for Ffostyll North, by the time I went back to Ffostyll South, one had decided he had had enough of me and then the other dozen or so took an interest. So be prepared if they are still there when you visit.
I know the idea of being threatened by sheep is amusing, but rams are quite large, and if they butt you onto the ground, they’ll probably keep doing it for a while. They do have impressive testicles mind, like badly inflated footballs.
Apparently if you leave them alone they won’t chase after you, but in my case they came up to me growling and dipping their heads and the only trees to climb there are the thorny hawthornes on the barrows.
Two long barrows 70m apart.
Partially excavated 1920-23.
There was once a round barrow nearby
The larger of the two, like Little Lodge, mature hawthorn trees up against the remaining stones causing root damage to the monument.
Measurements for the mound are given as 40m by 22m. It has been ploughed up to and livestock have had a go at it as well as previous excavations. A lot of stone scatter is present. It is orientated not far off west-east.
The is a surviving eastern chamber, consisting of five upright stones (no capstone) all around 1m in height and of similar lengths. The western and eastern sides of the chamber are comprised of two stones each, whilst the fifth stone is set traversely between the two pairs on either side, probably making it a blocking stone. The depth of the chamber is around 1.2m
The opposite end of the mound has many field clearance stones, some quite large which lie under the barbed wire fence which cuts up against the monument. Many of these must surely have once been part of the monument.
The centre of the mound has some very large and impressive flat stones, one which appears to be the broken halves of a large capstone. The measurements for these two stones are given as 2.7m long by 2.3m wide and 0.25m thick and the other 2.3m long by 0.9m wide and 0.12m thick.
To the southeast are four more. This is where my notes went to pot because of the rams, but I did write:
Front (west) about 1.3m apart two parallel ground breaking stumps about 0.4m long.
Mound f**ked, say 1m high.
My notes are abysmal for this one, as no sooner had I got onto the mound than I was intimidated off of it.
They read: mound higher nearly 2m. lot of small stone scatter from tiny to heavy.
However, measurements for the mound are given as 36m by 23m. Orientated northeast-southwest.
Towards the northern end are the visible remains of a single chamber comprising of seven stones. Four in a row making up the western side, two in a row making up the eastern side, and a single blocking stone set traversely at what remains of the north-eastern end of the chamber. Measurements for it are given as 3.3m by 1.2m. A large ‘covering slab’ at least 2.4m by 2.1m has been displaced to the south-west.
‘Prehistoric sites of Breconshire’, Children and Nash, Logaston Pr, states that permission to visit this long barrow is obtained from Trevithel Farm. It isn’t, the site is on land owned by Pipton Farm.
When I got there no one was in, but this is how you get to Pipton farm:
A479 at Three Cocks take the A4079 to Builth Wells.
Less than 1km, on the right is Pipton farm.
Pen-y-Beacon is on common land with open access (an OS map is helpful).
Located at the foot of Hay Bluff, about 5km south of Hay on Wye.
In Hay on Wye head west on the B4350, look out for a turning on the left signposted: Capel y Ffin. Take this turning.
Shortly afterwards when the road forks: take the left fork.
After about 4km when the road forks again: take the right fork.
If all is well you will cross a cattle grid in 100m.
When you reach the next fork in the road: take the right one.
When you reach the plateau on top of the hill, the stone circle is on your right beyond the car park area.
The car park area is bounded by a series of low stone blocks (to protect what remains of the stone circle from encroachment by parked cars). What appears to be a reasonable sized standing stone is clearly visible just beyond this area.
This is one of those sites where guides promote the view more than the quality of the remains of the site.
If you enjoy exercising the powers of imagination, this is the stone circle is for you.
Proved to be a circle in 1970. Guides state that 18 stones are visible in a circle of 30m diameter.
My notes read: one large stone, 1m high, broad yet thin edge on, leaning. Stone circle: go figure?
This is the stone on approach which gives the site the impression of a standing stone. Apparently it is the remaining half of a pair of stones set radially, which may indicate a ceremonial entrance/exit of about 1.5m.
The stump of the other radial set stone is visible. To its right in an arc I could find only three other low stumps.
To the left of the remaining standing stone I could find only two remaining stumps at ground level.
Infront of the radial pair (just inside the circle) are two fallen stones now almost submerged into the ground,neither is large.
Walking across the uneven, quarried and still heavily metal detected area for about 30m, away from the car park. There is a shallow arc of three stone stumps at ground level. I would imagine that it is this, which gave archaeologists the diameter of 30m for the circle.
It really does take a leap of imagination to visualise the circle from the evidence which is left on the ground.
Thwarted field notes:
Just off of the A438 at Clyro. One of the Black Mountains Group of tombs.
Travelling in either direction look out for the Texaco petrol station set back slightly from the road.
One of the exit/entrance sliproads goes past the entrance to Clyro Court Farm (there is a sign on the entrance).
Landowners were out and farmworker would not give me permission to visit.
Guides state that what is visible is a low mound and a few uprights. Indicating remains of single chamber and passage. Orientated in the direction of the valley southwest-northeast.
Nearby there once existed another long barrow: Clyro Long Barrow, but this has since been destroyed.
Chambered Long Barrow
Part of the Black Mountains Group of Tombs
OS map required
Permission to visit required from Little Lodge farm.
Although a public right of way does cross the field.
A438 from Brecon.
At Three Cocks take turning on right just beyond hotel signposted: Velindre.
Less than 1km later at the crossroads continue ahead do not turn right for Velindre.
Around 1km later (the first building you reach) is the Little Lodge farm on the right.
The barrow is in the field before the farmhouse (on the right). Set back against the field boundary on the side of the field furthest from the house.
The barrow sits between two trees and is easy to locate.
This was the first of two long barrows I visited that day where hawthorn trees have been allowed to take root on the barrows causing extensive root damage.
Excavated in 1929.
Orientated north-south. The mound is in a cultivated field and is badly damaged. Many small cairn stones lie around the site. Measurements are given as 55.5m by 22m.
There is a chamber at the southern end (no capstone). Wedge box shaped, that is to say, narrower at one end and broader at the other. About 2m by 1.4m, consisting of five stones, all less than 1m in height. At the southern end, one either side up against the outside the chamber are two stones aligned west-east. I guessed at it being a forecourt of some kind, but according to the plan the one on the right is the remaining upright of another chamber which would have stood next to the remaining one, or in English: two contiguous chambers with one common side.
To the west of the chamber are three stones just breaking the surface. Archaeologists are unsure of their function.
The largest stone there, is a huge traverse slab towards the northern end, supposedly from the main chamber. It is almost 3m long, 1m high and 0.45m wide. To its east is a broken stump of a stone also arranged transversely. Further towards the northern end (covered in nettles) is another low slab, which according to the plan is the eastern side of a chamber. Apparently kerbing is visible at the northern end, but my summer visit co-incided with the height of nettle growth so I didn’t see it.
Well ruined, but enough remains to keep a visitor occupied, I like the guidebook which says ‘possibly a typical Severn-Cotswold type’.
Chamber Long Cairn
Part of the Black Mountains Group of Tombs
OS map required
In Hay on Wye head west on the B4350, look out for a turning on the left signposted: Capel y Ffin.
Take this turning.
Shortly afterwards when the road forks: take the right fork.
Proceed for about 3km until a footpath sign is visible on the righthand side of the road.
(After this the road goes sharply to the left and up hill to the nearby Penyrhenallt farm. If you reach the farm you have gone too far).
Cross over the stile, keep to edge of field and monument is ahead 100m, visible from road.
Almost, if not on, a public right of way.
At first all that seems to remain is the long box like chambered created by the four upright stones, but if you do visit in the summer when the nettles are high, it is worth having a look around the mound as there are other stones still in situ.
Excavated in 1920-21.
Main Chamber of four uprights, is about 2m long by 1m across. All four stones are a little less than 1m in height. There is no capstone. Packing stones visible.
Mound: described as pear shaped of approximately 18.5m in length. When visiting it, the monument is now closely bounded in by field boundaries and nettles abound so it was difficult to pace it out as the mound is also now low in height. Orientated southeast-northwest.
There is the remains of a small chamber towrds the north-eastern end of the mound. Three low stones (less than 0.3m) arranged in right angles to form the plan of three sides of a rectangle. Many smaller stones lay jumbled around them.
Black Mountains group of chambered long cairns.
A 479 Up over the Black Mountains, from Talgarth to Crickhowell.
Not far from the hamlet: Pengenffordd.
Views of Castell Dinas hillfort from the road (access possible but a steep 100m climb).
From Talgarth heading to Crickhowell:
Take the first ‘real’ road on the left after Pengenffordd.
100m or so on right over fence in field you can see the grass covered cairn.
The field drops away and the building you can see is Tyisha farm, where you need to ask permission.
Several dogs running around loose, but farmer nice enough.
I was a bit disappointed with this because I have an illustrated copy of the excavations that were carried here, and I was aware that the back of the cairn has an unusual circular setting. Of course it was all filled in and left for the next 60 or so years. So it was another undulating lumpy mound with a stone here and there.
The impression of the site was also disappointing: two rusting farm trailers loaded with scrap wood next a large area of bare soil. The area of bare soil was where an earth mover had been used to clear a large area of ground either very close to or into the back end of the monument itself. Next to the cleared area was several pieces of Old Red Sandstone lying on the field (hopefully not from the monument).
The mound is 30m long by around 18m and less than 2m high. No visible kerbing. I couldn’t make out any horns, but these were found during excavation in 1938.
Close to a north-south alignment, with the false entrance to the north. Two protruding stones side by side indicate the false portal. Infront of these stones on the eastern side are two stones set one infront of the other at right angles to the portal stones, probably indicating a forecourt.
Proceeding along the top of the mound about 4m is another visible setting of stones, which appear to be a central chamber with no capstone, but referring to a plan of the site there was not one. So it has to be one of the side chambers. There is a further jumble of stones towards the back on the west side, but it is difficult to imagine their location according to the plan.
All in all, it is argued that it was a multi-phase monument, with possibly three phases of construction and use. It would have had horns in the Cotswold-Severn tradition, a false doorway or portal, two side chambers with passages, and most interestingly (though not visible now) a circular setting at the back. The circular setting was an oval cairn with a south-east facing passage and southwest-northeast orientated chamber (so the whole internal settings make a T shape).
OS map required as lots of puttering around on unclassified roads.
Black Mountains group of chambered long cairns. On open heathland.
The site is on the western side of the hill Mynydd Troed. With views down to the largest natural lake in Wales: Llangors Lake. If the weather is good you can see the tree covered man-made crannog (settlement built on an artificial platform of timbers) on the lake (there is no public access to it).
Ty Isaf chambered tomb is on the eastern side of the same hill.
Approaching from Llangors, take the road that goes past Ty Mawr farm and stay on it.
When the road forks take the right one.
If all has gone well you will pass a sign for a farm called Cockit.
100m ahead up a steep hill is a cattlegrid.
Proceed to the top of the hill and with any luck you are in a parking area.
To your right is the main haul up Mynydd Troed.
On your left is a gate, go through it.
Rather than take the main track up the hill, there is a fork to the right.
Look for the taller bracken mound amongst the shorter bracken just to the right of this track, say 100m from gate.
Usual stuff: impressive views, etc.
Cadw gives the measurements for the oval mound as 20m long and 16m wide and 1.5m high, and orientated north-northeast to south-southwest.
The term ‘recent historical disturbance’ is apt for it, as it would appear to have been quarried quite heavily. It was only discovered in 1921.
Visiting the site, there are a three stones poking up out of the ground; two of them set at right angles, which give the appearance of being a chamber with missing capstone. The stone appears to be Old Red Sandstone.
There are a few others stones poking up here and there across the undulating mound as well as a few big hollows, which may indicate where chambers once stood. These stones appear to have been set on edge as opposed to just lying about.
As always, worth a look in, but I wouldn’t visit it as a birthday treat.
A40 from Brecon travelling east to Abergavenny
At the hamlet of Llansantffraed (church which spire) turn right for Talybont.
Bridge over river Usk.
200m, turning on right for Gilestone Camping and Caravanning.
Proceed to farmhouse to ask for permission.
‘Prehistoric sites of Breconshire’, Children and Nash, Logaston Pr, gives the name of this monument as: Llwyn y Fedwen.
This is as far as I got as the landowner said no, but to come back another day.
A friend recently e-mailed them and they said it was no problem with access. So it’s worth a try.
Gilestone, is one of a several standing stones which follow the route of the river Usk. Most stones are large and on the northern bank, but this one (though large) is on the southern one
Measurements given for the stone are as follows: Height 2.97. Breadth 2.44m. Thickness 1.37m
OS map required as lots of puttering around on unclassified roads.
Black Mountains group of chambered long cairns.
Public rights of way pass the site, but ask permission to visit the farmhouse of the same name.
A479 from Talgarth to Crickhowell.
Take first unclassified road on right.
Ground begins to rise and after a righthand bend Penywyrlod Farm will be on your right.
Footpath goes around bottom end of farm, follow it to a stile with arrowed wooden signpost 'burial chamber'.
Follow track along edge of field to another stile.
Two gates ahead, take one on left.
Monument visible at top of field.
Fence around it but access by gate towards the left end as you approach.
Tremendous. Usually my field notes are two pages in an A6 notebook, but I easily did three times as much here.
Size isn't everything, but this is standing to a great height and is generous in length. Surprisingly the damage to it is rewarding because it has exposed so much of the internal settings. My only concern is that it looks in danger of collapse in places and may well be allowed to do so as it is not an over-restored famous named long cairn like Belas Knap.
The apparent plan is supposedly in the Cotswold-Severn tradition. At the end with the false portals a huge bite has been taken out through quarrying down to ground level revealing passages and chambers.
It was discovered only in 1972 and is the largest of the tombs in the Black Mountain group (55m in length by 25m across). Only the quarried area has been surveyed. The quarried area was used as hardcore for roads.
I think I cocked up my compass bearings, so I am unsure of the orientation. So for the sake of description the front is at the west and the back at the east.
South side: no kerbing visible, tree growth: holly and oak.
West end: signs of quarrying
North side: kerbing visible, much like a collapsing dry stone wall made of thin stones.
Quarried out section
Exposed passage and chamber on north side. Half of it has been removed, what is left is where the quarrying came to a halt. So in other words just the eastern half of the passage and chamber. Three large stones remain below a significant height of the cairn (up to 2m). The passage and chamber stones being overall around 4m in length. Set at right angles is the stone from the back of the chamber as well as one other at the opening to the chamber (a blocking stone?). Behind the blocking stone is another set into the walling of the cairn (both of these stones have split). The stones are around 0.6 – 0.7m high. Next to the stone at the back of the chamber is the remains of the stone from the western side of the chamber, giving an indication of the width of the passage, around 1m. Guides mention paving, but so much loose cairn material has fallen from the exposed face I don't think what is visible on the ground is original paving.
Further towards the front on this empty side of the long cairn is the remains of a large tree stump. Underneath it is the remains of another chamber. Two parallel settings of stones indicating a passage width of say 0.8m. A stone set at right angles is behind the one on the eastern side, perhaps indicating the back of the passage or a blocking stone.
Set up high in the cairn is a length of capstone, around 1.5m, underneath which is a gap and set back around 30cm is a supporting stone set vertically beneath the capstone running almost the length of the capstone. This is much higher than the chambers on the northern side. Cairn is also built up above the capstone.
Towards the front end on southern side. Huge vertically set stone at right angles with cairn on either side, at least 2m high. This supposedly defines the portal, so everything to the right of it is internal and to its left a horn. It has walling above so it probably didn't hold a capstone. Infront of this stone lying on the ground is another large stone, 2m by 1m which appears to be a fallen forecourt stone which may well have stood next to the stone still set into the structure.
Further towards the front of the long cairn on the horn is what appears to be a dislodged capstone, roughly circular say 1.5m in diameter.
Running across the front is walling, quite low, and this makes me wonder if it had a blunt end rather than horns.
OS map required
This really is in the middle of nowhere on open moorland. Crossing several streams and it’s boggy.
Head out to the Usk Reservoir and use the car park just before the bridge Pont’ar Wsyg.
Follow the track beside river Usk in a southerly direction away from the reservoir.
After 200m or so of this the river forks. Cross the river and follow the right fork.
After 400m or so the river forks again. To your right is the Usk, on your left is the Nant Tarw. Cross the Nant Tarw.
Hopefully you are now between both rivers and ahead of you is rising land. Walk in a southerly direction keeping closer to the stream on your left (Nant Tarw) rather than the Usk on your right.
400m ahead you will hopefully reach a ruined (robbed) circular stone cairn. It is a good landmark and the stone is bare of grass and some 16m by 11m (0.3m in height).
The stone circles are over to the east of the cairn on a plateau.
Behind the hill you are walking along are two mountains (with dramatic scarps: Picws Du and Fan Brycheiniog). If you reach a point where the hill you are on is obscuring these two peaks: you have gone too far and missed the stone circles.
If you reach a point where you are having to cross several streams running down from the hill to the river Nant Tarw: you have gone too far and missed the stone circles.
At the top of the hill is a fence, so it is unlikely you will wander off and die of exposure on the Black Mountain (although there is supposedly a stone circle up there SN 823232 around 600m up Fan Brycheiniog).
It is worth considering when at the circles that if you stand facing north: in the wooded hill north of the Usk Reservoir are two standing stones; another two at the eastern end; another two stone circles (Mynydd Bach) on the hill beyond that just below Y Pigwn. To your right less than 2km away is the standing stone Blaenau Uchaf. Behind you 3km or so away is another stone circle (as previously mentioned, but I cannot find any information on it). Infront of you is a ruined stone cairn (antiquarian accounts indicate 5 or 6 erect stones once defined its circumference).
Nant Tarw consists of a pair of small Bronze Age stone circles 110m apart and intervisible with each other.
The western circle is the higher of the two, slight ellipse of 15 stones with a diameter of 19m. Stones vary in height from nothing to 1m. A guide states that there are entrance gaps at west and east, but because the stones are small and some missing it’s not that obvious. It is comprised of glacial boulders and Old Red Sandstone slabs.
Between the two circles is a large fallen stone 2.6m long by 1.5m wide.
The eastern circle is similar in size (slightly larger at 21m and also an ellipse) and has 18 visible stones. The stones vary in height from nothing to 1.25m, one of the fallen stones would have been higher than that. Again the guide I consulted suggests two entrance gaps, this time in the southeast and southwest sections. Similar stones used to the western circle
Many of the stones are very low. To give you a better idea, many of the guides state that the visiblity of stones is dependent on weather conditions on the ground and plant growth: we are not talking Avebury here by any means. It is a fair slog across open moorland and streams to reach the site.
That said on the day I visited the weather was fair, the scenery majestic and I had the mountains to myself all day. I did run out of water though, so be prepared to be self-sufficient when you're out there.
OS map required
On Mynydd Illtyd 8km west of Brecon and 1.6km Southwest of Brecon Beacons National Park Mountain Centre.
Situated in the gap between the two halves of Glasfynydd Forest.
Middle of nowhere.
In 'Prehistoric Breconshire' by Children and Nash, Logaston Pr. the name of the stone is given as: Troed Rhiw Wen.
At the farm buildings Caerllwyn, head up the single lane tarmac track with a no through-road sign.
About 1km west go through a gate across the road, 200m later go through another gate.
Over the small bridge and through a gate into the yard of Blaenau Uchaf farm.
A bridleway runs up along side the farm house (access through a gate).
Follow the bridleway in an uphill curve to the left.
When near the top look into the field up to your left and the stone will be in the upper field 100m or so away.
The stone reminded me of a smaller version of Maen Mawr (6km or so to the south), a large block of sandstone stood on its longest side. It appears to be raised on a grass covered stone cairn.
(Dimensions given as: height 1.68m, breadth 1.3m and thickness 0.94m)
On open moorland upon a steep hill.
1km north of Cerrig Duon stone circle, or 8km south of Trecastle on mountain road headed toward Craig-y-nos. The stone stands up on a hill and is easier to see up on the left when headed in a southerly direction, rather than up on the right when headed north as it is set back 300m from the road.
On the side of the road is a stile, with Brecon Beacons National Park signage indicating 'access to standing stone only'.
I am not convinced of the intervisibility between Waen Lleuci and Cerrig Duon, as there is a hill slope in the way.
The stone stands on a small plateau about 15m in diameter close to the field boundary. Broad blade shaped, very nearly 2m high and 1.5m wide, yet it is only 0.26m thick. The stone is aligned in a north-south direction and so can be considered to be pointing in the direction of Cerrig Duon. It is made of Old Red Sandstone.
OS map required
Middle of nowhere on an unclassified road between Trecastle and Craig-y-Nos
The road follows the river Tawe. At the point where both run along side each other, the stone circle is up on a plateau on the other side of the river (30m from the road). It is easier to see from the road if you are travelling from Trecastle (heading south), because the large stone (Maen Mawr) slightly to the north of the circle is reasonably easy to spot. Whereas heading from Craig-y-Nos (heading north) the plateau hides the circle.
You will have to cross the river on stepping stones and the monuments are on open moorland.
Cerrig Duon (the name translates as ‘Black Stones’)is a small Bronze Age stone circle, directly to its north is a large standing stone (Maen Mawr) and beyond that two small outliers, all aligned north to south. To the east is the river Tawe which also runs in this direction.
For those of you who love the super henges, all the stone circles on the Brecon Beacons are small in diameter with small stones and badly damaged, but with exceptional views.
Ynys Hir, is a single stone circle. Mynydd Bach is a double stone circle, as is Nant Tarw and Cerrig Duon is a single stone circle with a large standing stone outlier as well as an avenue.
The most impressive monument is Maen Mawr (translates as ‘Big Stone’) a large block of sandstone nearly 2m high, 1.3m wide and nearly 1m thick. Rectangular in appearance with an almost flat top.
Just to the south of it is Cerrig Duon. Not quite circular (Egged shaped) around 18m in diameter. It comprises of 22 stones. As usual all stones are small, with the tallest only reaching up to 0.6m. The stones are (Pennant) sandstone and slab-like.
To the east of the circle is the avenue, made up of even smaller stones (described in the CADW guide as ‘very small stones, which can be difficult to see…’). Around 5m apart, narrower at the end nearest the stone circle and headed in a Northeast direction. Guide books give the number of stones in each of the two rows as around 16, but I found them difficult trace beyond 6 or so. The CADW guide gives the total lengths of the rows as 42m and 25m (or 35m in another guide).
There is speculation that the avenue points to a nearby standing stone (Waen Lleuci), 1km to the northeast.
Access less than 1km south of Dan-yr-Ogof showcaves on the A4067.
On the road is a property: Nant Gwared Bungalow.
Behind it is Nant Gwared Farm, ask for permission here to visit Saith Maen (there is a bridleway, but signs on the road inform that it does not give access to the hill on which the monument is sited).
Then over the stile and up the hill, which is a short but steep climb over open moorland.
Just head for the top of the hill and Saith Maen will come into view on the summit.
Try not to fall in the very deep kettle hole next to the monument.
The name translates as Seven Stones. Of the seven stones two have fallen (the largest).
They are all of the same stone (carboniferous siliceous grit stone, apparently) except one which is Old Red Sandstone, which means it was either dragged there or was a glacial erratic.
The orientation is north-northeast by south-southwest.
The heights of the stones (including those fallen) range from 0.6m to 2.8m. Edge on (looking along the row) the stones present their thinnest sides. From in front or behind they show their broader faces.
First stone (most northerly): 1.6m
Second stone (fallen to west): 2.3m
Third stone: 1m (sandstone)
Fourth stone: (fallen to east): 2.9m
Fifth stone: 0.8m
Sixth stone: 0.8m
Seventh stone: 0.7m
The length of the row is about 12m, the gaps between the stones appears to be a similar distance (around 1m).
Barber and Williams (1989) suggest that the alignment is pointing to the nearby stone circle Cerrig Duon, which is 6km to the northeast.
CADW also mention a possible outlier 7.9m to the southwest.
Beautiful views up there, but do take care as it is boggy on the track and the limestone outcrops, tough grasses and steepness of the hill can make the decent a bit ankle-bending.
OS Explorer OL 12 gives the name as Ty Elltud
Part of the Black Mountains group of chambered tombs(Severn-Cotswold type).
Heading out from Brecon on the A40 to Abergavenny.
Just after the end of the dual carriageway is the village of Llanhamlach.
Beyond this (before reaching the pub ‘the Old Ford’) is a turning on the left for Pennorth.
Take the turning, go past the first property on the left and continue until you reach a large farm on your right (all buildings plain grey stone, approx 700m from main road turn off).
This is Manest Court, and you should ask here for permission before visiting Ty Illtyd.
Opposite the entrance to the farm on the other side of the single track road is a field gate. Beyond this, pasture rising up the hill to another field gate. Beyond is the brow of the hill with a few trees on it. Head for the trees, because infront of them is the burial mound (it can be seen from the A40 at the Pennorth turning once you know where to look).
Illtyd was a local saint, and ty translates as house.
Great view of the Usk flood plain, with views of nearby Iron Age settlements (Slwch, Pen-y-Crug and Coed Fenni-fach, all to the west).
The mound is orientated north-south, with the chamber at the northern end. It has the shape of a long oval, the west side is badly plowed but does appear to give the impression of the remains of kerbing (thin flat stones) in places. It rises to around 2m and its length is given as 23m by 15.7m across at its widest point.
There is a large stone lying half buried halfway along the east side as well as a smaller one towards the back. I am aware of the large chamber being excavated, but I do not know if all of the mound has been. I am sure that if side chambers were present someone else would have mentioned it in print, whereas all the sources I have read just refer to a single main chamber.
The rectangular chamber consists of three uprights (sides and back) surmounted by a single large capstone (2m long by 1.75m width). In front of the chamber one on either side are low standing stones and in front of them is a large long stone, suggesting the remains of a forecourt of some sort (I couldn’t make out the remains of any horns).
The chamber is cramped, CADW gives the internal dimensions as 1.6m long by 0.9m wide and 0.6m high, so be prepared to crawl in and out through the mud and sheep excrement.
Of additional interest are the carvings (if you can find them, I just about made out 3 crosses and nothing else) inside the chamber: 60+ crosses and lozenges, two sets of dates in roman numerals and a lyre.
John Aubrey perhaps visited the tomb in the 17th century, making it the earliest known reference to a megalithic tomb in Brecknockshire: ‘…The Doctor caused it to be digged; and there rose such a horrid tempest of thunder & lightening, that the workmen would work no longer; and they sayd they sawe strange apparitions; but they found a cake of gold, which was of a considerable value. This was about 1612. From Sr Tho: Williams Baronet, Chymist to K. Charles II.’
From Brecon on A40 heading towards Abergavenny. The Stone stands on the verge of the road where the dual carriageway ends just before the village of Llanhamlach. It is protected by wooden fencing, now in a bad state of repair.
I have read that this stone may not be prehistoric, and I mention it here as it is less than 1km away from the Ty Illtyd burial chamber.
The stone is recorded on OS maps.
Square in plan and approx. 1m high. It looks promising on approach as the faces towards the road are eroded and weathered. However upon closer examination two of the edges appear to be neatly chamfered at 45 degrees. These chamfers also appear to show diagonal tooling marks.
I am assuming it is the remains of a preaching cross or boundary marker. It is well weathered and probably ancient, worth looking at and making up your own mind, if you are intending to visit the nearby burial chamber.
OS map required as it is on an unclassified road off of an unclassified road a little west of Cradoc, which is itself 2km or so northwest of Brecon.
Stands on private land, but the owner of the nearest house told me 'everyone just goes up to it'. The land owner is somewhere in the village of Battle. If you do fancy trespassing the stone is visble from the road and less than a minute's walk away from the gate that will let you into the field in which it stands.
The Battle Mound and Standing Stone, is one of a group of standing stones which stand on the north bank following the course of the river Usk.
Leaning slightly to the south, the Old red Stone megalith is covered in the pale green moss familiar to anyone who has seen the standing stones on Anglesey. It stands raised on a stone cairn, which is now mostly covered with grass. Square in plan, tapering slightly through weathering it is impressive to stand before.
A local archaelogical publication gives its dimensions as: Height: 3.96m, Breadth: 1.22m and Thickness 1.01m
OS Map required.
Be prepared to walk across several kilometres of open moorland. If you cycle it is up and up hill on the way there.
Two stone circles.
In the hills around 4km northwest of Trecastell/Trecastle.
From Brecon take the A40 to Llandovery; turn left at the far end of Trecastell. Head up the hill for almost 1km; take the first right and keep on going for 3km until the road stops at a gate (signposted 'unsuitable for motor vehicles').
Worthy of note: on the right is a tumulus with an OS triangulation marker on it (trig point 383m OD).
Continue on the track (as far as I am aware this is a Roman road) for around 1.5km.
The reservoir to your left is the Usk Reservoir; there are two standing stones close to the end you are looking at, but not visible from the track.
The track will rise and curve to the right, at this point up ahead to the right is the highest point; a hill called Y Pigwn (with a roman fort on the top). Look carefully along Y Pigwn, most of it is open moorland, but running up along its right hand edge is a fence, beyond which is the green grass of pasture land (there are also trees on it which can be seen against the skyline).
This is what you want to walk towards, at some point leave the track and wander in that direction, you shouldn't get lost as you are headed toward the field boundaries along the edge of the moorland.
You should be walking across a gently rising saddle of land and the larger of the two circles should come into view first.
Neither circle is visible from the track.
In guide books Mynydd Bach is described as a ritual complex, because nearby are also the standing stones as previously mentioned, cairns and a round barrow.
The smaller of the circles has only four remaining stones, but it is possible to locate the empty sockets of a further four more which reveal it to be a small circular setting rather than a four poster. All the stones are leaning and less than 1m high. It is 8m in diameter.
A short distance to the northeast is the larger circle, it has 21 remaining stones, and pits suggesting 3 more. At the southeast is a jumble of larger fallen stones, which it is suggested may have been a ritual entrance (I suppose something like a small Swinside). There is a very slight rise in the centre of the circle. Like most Welsh circles, the stones are low, between 0.4 to 0.6m.
All stones, like most in this vicinity are given as being Old Red Sandstone.
There are some other stones close by: 'Prehistoric Sites of Breconshire' Children & Nash claim that the two circles are linked by 3 low stones, (which I couldn't locate), whereas 'Clwyd and Powys' CADW Guide has an illustration that the stone setting is to west of the smaller of the two circles.
The CADW guide also mentions an isolated stone 3m long lying some 100m southeast of the larger stone circle.
It also mentions that the barrow is not visible from the circles.
A4215 from Brecon heading west to Defynog.
The stone is close by, but hidden from the road by hawthorne trees on the approach to a severe right hand bend indicated by black and white warning chevrons.
Before approaching the chevron markings up ahead, the road to your right will be tree-lined. there is a place to stop infront of field access gates. Walk towards the chevrons. The wedge shaped coppice on your right narrows as you conitnue towards the corner up ahead, just before the coppice ends you may well see a well worn gap between hawthorn trees leading to the stone.
The stone is on the other side of the coppice (only 3 to 4 metres away from your side) and should be visible through the trees. It is now incorporated into the field boundary, close enough for the fence to run directly infront of it.
Around 1.5m in height and quite broad, the stone reminded me of a grave stone in its dimensions, in particular as it has a broken curved top edge. Situated under the permanent shade of the trees the gravestone effect is added to as the stone has taken on a green colour.
This stone is reputed to have once been a robber who stole a herd of pigs from Saint Illtyd. His companion was turned into the nearby Mountain Centre 2 standing stone.
This stone is reputed to have once been a robber who stole a herd of pigs from Saint Illtyd. His companion was turned into the nearby Mountain Centre 1 standing stone.
Apologies for the name, it is given as this in:
Brycheiniog Volume 18; 'The Prehistoric Standing Stones of Breconshire' James, D.J.
OS map required.
On Myndd Illtyd approx 2km Southwest of Mountain Centre 1 standing stone. Situated on Traeth Moor Nature Reserve.
From Brecon: just before the cattle grid marking the end of the reserve is a pond. At the pond leave the single track road by heading left. follow the field boundary (you should end up leisurely curving around to end up walking back towards Brecon) and eventually the stone will come into view (5 minutes walking).
Just under 1m in height. Old Red Sandstone, but unlike the square Mountain Centre 1, this stone is more like a boulder, deeply eroded and pitted, much like the Rollrights.
Apologies for the name, it is given as this in:
Brycheiniog Volume 18; 'The Prehistoric Standing Stones of Breconshire' James,
OS map required
On public Moorland with numerous rights of way.
On Mynydd Illtyd, 8km west of Brecon and 1.6km Southwest of Brecon Beacons National Park Mountain Centre.
From Brecon, opposite the right turn for Blaengwrthyd Farm. Visible from single track road. Situated close to the field boundary.
The stone is square in plan, and stands just under 1m high. Gives the appearance of a broken stump, leaning towards the track. I believe it is made of Old Red Sandstone.
Near A40, 5km west of Brecon, Powys.
OS map required.
Public rights of way lead up to it.
Worth it for the view alone. It is worth bearing in mind when visiting that the tree covered hill across directly to the east also has a hillfort on it but that there is no public access to it.
Oval in shape, single bank and entrance, 112m across (east to west). Evidence of quarrying and perhaps the remains of a medieval stone foundations.
Mountain Centre Standing Stones 1 and 2 are nearby.
Disabled access: The road by which you gain access to the site goes through the circle. The site itself is a field on a gentle slope.
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