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


Garth y Foel

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork

<b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postmanImage © Chris Bickerton
Nearest Town:Blaenau Ffestiniog (8km ENE)
OS Ref (GB):   SH62564428 / Sheet: 124
Latitude:52° 58' 40.34" N
Longitude:   4° 2' 50.07" W

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<b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman <b>Garth y Foel</b>Posted by postman


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Thesweatcheat and I passed very close by a few years ago en route up Cnicht, so I've been waiting for the chance to return and have a poke around for three years. After mooching around the southern slopes of Moel Hebog I only had a limited amount of time left and these hut circles are closer and easier to get to. So here we are, or were.
Parking was had in Croesor, at an actual car park, mostly used by walkers who are going up mountains, but it serves equally well for those going hut circles.
From the car take the road north west up the hill, stop when you reach the long farm track/driveway going left to Cae-glas, go down it and straight past the farm house. Follow the wooden posts marking the footpath, after the house the path goes through a gate in a wall, then, following wooden posts, through another gate, this time in a fence, then over a wall with stile. Immediately after the stile go down hill towards the sound of the river. A low wall must be got over, just over the wall is the first hut circle, I note it with much glee, then walk away further down hill, where I see the biggest and most impressive of the four hut circles here.
On the lowest terrace, just by the river are three hut circles, one is really quite large and immediately obvious. Made of head sized stones now covered in moss, as is everything down here, with a south east facing entrance, facing the river, or something else.
The second lower hut circle is quite recognisable, but at the same time indistinct, because the moss covers everything, everything. The third circle is the most ruined, nay practically gone, I have supplied a photo of where I think it is.

Then it's back up the hill to the lone upper hut circle. The entrance has grown somewhat to the extent that a third of the circle is very ruined, but the rest is quite good, the two trees would give some welcome shade in summer, but at the end of the day, through the camera, they seem to suck the light out of the scene making photography a little tricky. But to the naked eye, a more magical place would be hard to find, the river making one of the best sounds in the world, moss and ferns still hanging on to that summer feeling. The golden glow of a typical North Walean sunset rose slowly up through the trees, I thought I'd got there only just in time, but as I wandered about in a fairy tale I decided I'd got there perfectly on time.
postman Posted by postman
28th October 2018ce
Edited 28th October 2018ce


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Back at Croesor, where you parked, is the spring Ffynnon Elen. It's named after Saint Elen, who features in the Mabinogion. She was Romano-British, and noted for founding churches in 4th century Wales. Since Garth y Foel looks like something out of Welsh mythology, here's some local folklore.
The following story is handed down, generation after generation, in this parish, of Cidwm and Elen Lleuddog. When Elen was marching with her army from the south to Caer Eryri, her youngest son marched his men from Segontium to meet and welcome her. One of her sons, whose name was Cidwm, - the Welsh for wolf, - was an impulsive and prodigal fellow; he was filled with a deep rooted jealousy toward his youngest brother, and was ever planning to take away his life.

He had heard of this march, and had hid himself on the high and precipitous cliff on Mynydd Mawr, close by Llyn Tarddeni, beneath which ran the Roman road. He had watched his opportunity, bent on shooting his unsuspecting brother as he passed with his men.

In the meantime Elen had marched as far as the hills which join the hills of Nanmor, and was resting herself and her men by a sweet, clear spring on the roadside, in the parish of Llanfrothen. In marching through Nant y Bettws, her son had taken the rear of the regiment, and walked behind them all.

Cidwm's opportunity had come, but as he emerged from his hiding-place, one of the soldiers saw him and recognised him. His bow was bent, and his arrow aimed, before his cruel intention flashed upon the mind of the soldier, who, as soon as he could collect himself, shouted, "Llech yr Ola'" (Last man, hide). Quick as lightning was the cry taken up by the whole regiment; but before the last man had time to take in the warning, the arrow of the fratricide had dealt him a deadly blow.

The sad news was immediately conveyed to his mother by a batch of soldiers, and when she heard it she threw down her sword, lifted up her hands, and cried, "Croes awr, croes awr i mi!" ("Sad hour, sad hour for me!").

The well at which she sat is called "Ffynon Croesor" (Croesor Well) to this day, and the village which has grown within a couple of hundred yards of it has been named "Croesor" from it.
From Bedd Gelert: its facts, fairies and folk-lore. by D E Jenkins, 1899.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
28th October 2018ce
Edited 28th October 2018ce