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

Nant Tarw

Stone Circle


29.1.2011. After the walk from Blaenau Uchaf along the "processional route" of the valley, passing wild ponies and frozen streams aplenty, I reach the easternmost of two circles at Nant Tarw. Wow! My heart sings with an overwhelming feeling of elation as I arrive. The walk from Crai Reservoir had sapped me, taking far longer than I expected - although partly restored by the lovely Blaenau Uchaf stone, it is only as I reach the first circle that I truly feel at one with the world again.

I must have just about the most perfect conditions for this visit. The sky is blue and the ground is frozen hard, meaning that what would normally be a wet and boggy crossing of open hillsides is actually very easy. The grass is also very low, making the diminuitive stones of the circles much easier to see.

Even though the stones are tiny, and many are missing, this place is a joy. I rush around taking pictures, which almost freezes my ungloved fingers off. But a cup of tea later and I'm raring to go. Both circles are beautiful, evocative rings, in a wild and remote spot that even most of the ardent Burl-enthusiasts may be unfamiliar with. Then I pop across thankfully frozen bog to the three stone setting. Suddenly, from out of the sun and an big bank of cloud, the enormous bulk of Y Mynydd Du appears. Good grief. The breath is almost knocked from me at the sight - I knew the mountains were visible from here, but because they had been hidden, the sudden appearance is a real shock.

I love it here. To quote Mr Tennant, I feel like taking all my clothes off and dancing to The Rite of Spring. But it's too cold and I might upset the ponies, so I content myself with sitting here in awe, literally chilling out. I have to come back here with more time, that's for certain. It seems criminal to have come to this spot, only to rush off again.

But a sobering look at the map tells me that I have 5 miles of trackless, open hillsides and plentiful streams and springs to cross if I'm going to get back to the road in time for a bus, let alone if I want to stop off at Maen Mawr and Cerrig Duon on the way. So I head south, at speed.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
30th January 2011ce
Edited 21st September 2012ce

Comments (6)

Sounds as if you were impressed? Nice. GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
30th January 2011ce
Yes, very, very impressed. But the logistics of getting there meant that time was cut much shorter than I wanted. I'd like to go back and have a proper poke around the surroundings, preferably in the company of yerself or Cerrig. There's a lot going on here, especially with the various rivers that start hereabouts (Usk, Tawe, etc). thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
30th January 2011ce
Yeah, that's the feeling I got. Very much a Dartmoor-like multiple monument complex hidden away up in the hills.... except - with all due respect to Dartmoor, which I love - the real deal in terms of landscape setting.

Incidentally the two rings upon Mynydd Trecastle are a fine - and maybe easier - visit too. Carl's just been there......
30th January 2011ce
Yeah, Y Mynydd Du was mostly invisible and when the tops did appear they were very weirdly lit (sun directly behind shining through the cloud gave it quite a spooky, otherworldy look).

Not been to Mynydd Trecastle yet, saw Carl's recent notes. Looks good. There's too bloody much to see isn't there?
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
30th January 2011ce
Mynydd Trecastle is indeed a good one or two, a match for Nant Tarw, but the latter is harder to get to, but not maybe for you.
What happened there?
Must be the spirit of Wales inside me.
postman Posted by postman
31st January 2011ce
There's lovely, oh Rhymin' Postmin. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
31st January 2011ce
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