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

Llethr Waun-lwyd

Round Cairn


Despite having walked the uplands of Wales for over 30 years now, one is nevertheless often gob-smacked at the scale of the prehistoric monuments which still remain 'up here'. Nowhere is this happy state of affairs more evident, perhaps, than upon the south-eastern tops of The Cwmdeuddwr Hills between the tourist hubs of Rhayader and Builth Wells.

Here, a glance at the 1:25k OS map will reveal numerous 'Cairns' annotated in 'Antiquarian Typeface'; however, what is not disclosed by those wondrous cartographers is the relative size of these monuments. OK, an indication of potential substantiality might be determined by whether local folk saw fit to assign a cairn an individual moniker... there are two examples nearby: Carn Wen (White Cairn) and, crowning Drum Ddu, Carn-y-Geifr (Cairn of the Goats). The massive monument upon Llethr Waun-lwyd, however, takes the weary traveller completely by surprise.

It would appear there is some debate between professional archaeologists as to whether the cairn represents the huge, low 'footprint of a heavily robbed round cairn... or perhaps a well preserved 'platform' cairn? I appreciate the dilemma. I approached from the 'dead end' road beyond Nantgwyn to the south. However, that would be just one of many options, depending upon the proposed itinerary.

Coflein says:

"A cairn, 13.1m in diameter and 0.5m high, set on an upland shelf open to the S and W, which possibly represents the base of a ruined cairn, or else is a platform cairn." [J.Wiles 23.04.02]
5th December 2021ce
Edited 17th January 2022ce

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