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

Carn Nant-y-Ffald



Less than 300 yds - I think - to the approx NW of the shattered Carn Wen stands this beauty near the 'brook of the fold'. An historic reference to sheep husbandry, perhaps? Carn Nant-y-Ffald is by no means a massive monument, but, for me, possesses an inherent quality that is not immediately apparent during the short approach walk from its dishevelled neighbour. The grassy cairn is well defined and shapely. However there's more, the centre possessing a well preserved cist - albeit lacking capstone(s) - shielded by a small dry stone sheep shelter. Yeah, that'll do nicely... well, at least the former, although the shelter is perhaps appropriate, bearing in mind the nomenclature.

The location is archetypal of Y Elenydd, the monument set upon a bare, windswept ridge that, even when basking beneath today's periodic blue skies, or illuminated by sunbursts, exudes a somewhat primeval, potentially malevolent vibe. Yeah, this is a brutal, unforgiving landscape. In some ways perhaps that is one of its key attributes.... the area representing an ever-shrinking oasis of unpredictable wilderness within a cultural desert of pre-programmed 'life experiences'. Or something like that. Anyway... by all accounts the modern world seems to have passed Carn Nant-y-ffald by. Consider Coflein's RCAHMW field report from 1913... when the monument was described as:

"... a grass-covered stone mound.. some stone protruding through the vegetation. Some cairn material has been used to construct a sheep shelter.. enclosing the open central cist, which survives in remarkably good condition...1.3m east to west by 0.6m and..0.4m deep. It is stone-lined and of solid construction, but its covering stone or stones are no longer present. [RCAHMW 1913]"

As I said, very little seems to have changed upon this hill side in the intervening years. Odd, when you consider it. As I sit and ponder... the aforementioned vibe works upon my consciousness and I subsequently decide to have a wander westwards along the ridge (Gwar y Ty), veering south toward Esgair y Llwyn, searching for views. It seems like the only proper thing to do. How was I to know that Banc Cynnydd also possessed a probable Bronze Age cairn not marked on the map? How, indeed? Well, for what it's worth, it's where I'd have put one, overlooking the Afon Elan.
12th November 2013ce
Edited 18th July 2015ce

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