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Carreg Wen

Standing Stone / Menhir

<b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postmanImage © Chris Bickerton
Also known as:
  • Plynlimon-Arwystli Stone
  • Pumlumon-Arwystli Stone
  • Garreg Wen

Nearest Town:Llanidloes (13km E)
OS Ref (GB):   SN829885 / Sheets: 135, 136
Latitude:52° 28' 53.05" N
Longitude:   3° 43' 28.31" W

Added by Kammer


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<b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postman <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postman <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postman <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postman <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postman <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postman <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postman <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postman <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postman <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postman <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postman <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by postman <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Carreg Wen</b>Posted by Kammer

Fieldnotes

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I've been aware of this standing stone for absolutely years, but Kammers words of recommendation seemed to ring loudly for me, he said he had to cheat to get there by driving up a forestry track, he didn't like it. Instead he advises on a walk across the mountains to get there. So that's precisely what I did. It's been bloody hard work and I've yet to retrace my steps in order to get back to the car.
Coming down off the "other plum" I could see that some tree felling had occurred since Kammers visit, now the whole place would be harder to navigate and the little stone in a big landscape would be all the more harder to pin down. My one crumb of hope was the stone is near to a meteorological station which would I hope be easier to find. After more walking (ugh, wheres my electric mountain bike) and less height I fancy I can see a place that might be that long word place, fixing my zooooom lens and having a look I can see a large white thing and a tall slim pole like thing. That'll do, I make for those, and when they go out of view I make for the lake behind them.
It is at least all down hill, so pretty soon I'm standing right beside the standing stone of my dreams, and it is gleaming.

The large white thing is indeed Carreg Wen, the tall pole thing turned out to be a dead tree, the meteorological station is actually very low and all but out of view.
Going through a gate the stone is on the left, standing beside it is an information board, I was fair gobsmacked to see that all the way up here. Not much information though, it glistens, it was erected by bronze age miners who are buried on the hill tops, not much.

The stone is no longer surrounded by beautiful life, growing, breathing, wondrous living life, instead is a scene of destruction, all the trees are gone and replaced by a war like scene, death and destruction. Despite that extreme negativity the stone is still vibrantly alive and gorgeous to the eyes and the hands, it was all I could do to refrain from lying down with the damned lovely thing.
Thing?she is a lady, and I will refer to her as such throughout.
She stands a little over six feet tall, depending on which side of her your standing on, squarish, her southern side flat, straight and with a mottling of lichen. All around the rest she is smooth perfect white quartz, smooth except where the crystals angularity juts out unfairly this way and that.
Have you seen that Giant crystal cave deep underground in Mexico somewhere, Carreg Wen has a micro version on her east face, get up close and see the crystals sparkle and twinkle. She is a beauty.

I sit for a while, back against the information board, then I start to hear things, first voices then an engine, I stand up and peering over the broken forest I can see men, men on motorbikes, strewth how long have they been here? It's a good job me and the lady didn't get intimate, they'd have heard her for sure, then it would have quickly turned into a Pink Floyd song, I sit back down and roll a fat one. They soon put-put back off down the forestry track and we're alone again, I had thought we were alone already, but no matter, because I just felt a rain drop on my arm, I am not dressed for rain in the mountains so I pack up and give her ladyship a big hug and bid her a fond farewell. My what an attractive stone, it's like the Earth gave birth to a star, go there and see her twinkle, no don't look at her twinkle just be amazed at her beauty. A stone like that is worth a dozen hill top cairns.

The long walk back to the car was torturous and murderously long and slogging, I've never wished for alternative transport more than then, just thought I'd put that out there. Jeeves send for the helicopter.
postman Posted by postman
2nd August 2020ce

Visited 13th July 2003: We cheated to get to this one, driving up the forestry tracks from further down the valley (not recommended). The sensible way to reach this stone would be on foot from the peak of Pumlumon. Carreg Wen is on the edge of the forestry plantation to the east of Pumlumon, close to the source of the River Severn. At 610 metres above sea level it's the highest stone in the area. Although very close to the edge of the forest, the stone is surrounded on three sides by trees like some sort of hidden woodland cul-de-sac.

I had both the boys with me, and the weather was scorching. As soon as we arrived, killer flies attacked, so we kept the pace up. The intense sunshine made it hard to look at the stone, because it's made of a brilliant quartz. Near the stone was the remains of a camp fire, and at the foot of the stone I found entwined orange and purple ribbons (non-biodegradable) so I knew quite early on that the spot isn't as obscure as it feels. After spending quite a while taking it all in I spotted naturally formed recesses in the stone that had been used to deposit coins. Most of these had small quartz stones placed in them to block them up.

The flies and heat got to us all in the end, and we left in quite a hurry. I was genuinely surprised to find such a beautiful megalith here. On local standards, it's quite a big'n. Needless to say I was two ribbons, and several copper coins wealthier by the time we left (lucky me!).
Kammer Posted by Kammer
11th August 2003ce
Edited 11th August 2003ce

Folklore

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There are here two white stones, known as 'y fuwch wen a'r llo,' 'the white cow and calf,' standing close to one another on the moorland near the source of the Severn. They are best approached from Eisteddfa Gurig. The larger of the stones is 6 feet high, and the smaller 4 feet high. no local tradition would seem to be connected with them. -- Visited, 5th July, 1910.
An Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments of the County of Montgomeryshire.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th February 2013ce

Miscellaneous

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Antiquarians - or, indeed, anyone who feels the siren call to seek out magical natural phenomena... such as mountain top river heads... may wish to consider an alternative route to those taken by the other two gentlemen in order to visit the north-eastern extremity of Pumlumon's main ridge - and the source of the Afon Hafren (River Severn):

A minor road heading approx west from Llanidloes can be followed, as it traces the course of the aforementioned infant river back toward its rising, as far as a convenient picnic site at Rhyd-y-benwch (SN857869). Here a waymarked 'final stretch' - albeit a hefty one - of The Severn Way ascends through the Hafren Forest to the river's wondrous source at SN8231989929.

Now, assuming reasonable weather, the whole main ridge of Pumlumon and its cornucopia of great Bronze Age cairns lies open to the visitor. Personally, unless you are a very strong walker, I would recommend making for Pumlumon Cwmbiga and its cairn cemetery after gawping at the muddy pool and feeling your mind explode at the implication of what it represents... or perhaps Pen Pumlumon-Arwystli to absorb the association of its cairns with the source of the Afon Gwy (River Wye)? Yeah, take your pick.

It has to be said that solitary standing stones are very much peripheral to the central Pumlumon uplands - save the Carreg Wen, the only other I'm aware of is the (apparently destroyed) Pen Cor Maen at SN78228856? There are, however, a number of much more intriguing short rows/alignments, including the Cerrig Cyfamod Glyndwr - again composed of the naturally outcropping quartzite readily found in the locale.

Clearly, however, with SO much effort having been expended by the ancients to intern their VIPs up here, that was always the overwhelming, primary focus of activity upon Pumlumon. The unprecedented volume of great cairns speaks for itself. Furthermore, the association of such significant activity upon Pumlumon with the presence of an (again unprecedented) trio of three major river heads is hard to refute with any coherence. It was, surely, these fledgeling watercourses springing from within the mountain itself that were the catalyst for making Pumlumon the finest upland cemetery in these Isles, bar none? You do the maths.

Nevertheless, Carreg Wen, as a part of this complex (assumed ritualistic) scheme, is well worth a visit should the opportunity arise. I would suggest, however, there is a much bigger picture to be considered here. Should you decide to come, don't waste fleeting opportunities to experience something really special.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
26th August 2020ce
Edited 29th August 2020ce