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

Nant Tarw

Stone Circle


According to my map of the area, my only previous visit to these two obscure moorland stone circles was way back on 20/4/03... and it would appear I wasn't overly impressed. However a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then - an awful lot, if the proverbial bridge in question happens to be the Pont 'ar Wysg which stands some way north of the site. Time for a reappraisal, then. Perhaps my 'tastes', such as they are, have matured a little?

The aforementioned Pont 'ar Wysg is a good starting point, if only for the fine skyline profile Y Mynydd Du presents.... or would present if the cloud base wasn't so low today. There are two car parks to choose from... take your pick, then the path diagonally opposite the one currently not within forestry, that is north of the road, to the right if coming from Trecastle. Incidentally, one can only hope the Roman legionnaries who marched up and down this road [there are the remnants of a camp to the approx west] got continually soaked and hated every minute of their posting! Ha! I suggest you follow the path as best you can and head for the general area to the right of Foel Darw, the most prominent hill in the locality. The circles are fairly obvious once you orientate yourself correctly, the larger being the nearer to Foel Darw to the east.

According to Coflein [see misc post] both 'circles possess 15 stones, but since several barely break the turf, I could neither confirm nor deny this. Hey, I'd make a good politician, me. Not a good mathematician, though. Other orthostats are pretty substantial for your typical Welsh moorland 'circle and a lot larger than I recalled. A large recumbent lies between the two monuments, although whether this is an erratic or fallen monolith is a moot point. The latter would be nice, since there is another large recumbent to the north-west beside two much smaller orthostats... and thus - if it indeed once stood - begging comparison with a similar arrangement at the nearby Maen Mawr and Y Cerrig Duon. Add a pretty large cairn sited upon the banks of the Nant Tarw itself - not to mention several other 'are they or aren't they?' stones - and I do believe we have a Dartmoor-esque ritual complex upon these brutal northern slopes of Y Mynydd Du, the whole overlooked by the summit funerary cairns themselves.

As I sit and take in the vibe - and occasional shower - the cloud swirls around the high mountain summits to eventually reveal them in all their glory, Fan Foel particularly striking in unfamiliar, stark section. Family units of wild ponies wander to and fro across this landscape, seeming to give their unfortunate brethren with humans upon their backs a very wide berth. Just beyond the eastern circle I find a pile of stones, not to mention several shallow holes upon the circumferance itself. No need to worry, however, since it transpires that our very own Cerrig has been doing a bit of local restoration work. Which is good to know - if only in retrospect - since I leave Nant Tarw wondering how anyone could fail to be impressed by this place.

Dylan was right. The time's they indeed are 'a changing.
3rd October 2010ce
Edited 3rd October 2010ce

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