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Hannibal's Carn (Natural Rock Feature)

Carolyn Kennett (CarolynK on TMA) took us to this special site. A gap between the rock of the tor forms an aperture that frames Carn Galva to the west. The midsummer sunset can be viewed sinking along the crest of the rocky ridge.

Whether it's a natural arrangement or has been set up to give this view, I guess we'll never be sure.

Conquer Downs (Cairn(s))

There is a further large barrow on Lady Downs at SW 4717 3651. Cornwall & Scilly HER description:
tumulus is marked at Lady Downs on current OS maps. Edmonds mentions a barrow 80ft (24.48m) in diameter and between five and six feet (1.52m to 1.83m) high. Henderson recorded "a very large ring type barrow, 66ft diameter (20.19m) and composed of loose stones. It is in a very mutilated condition and no large stones remain evidently due to having been used as a quarry". Survey by the OS in 1961 recorded that the barrow is as described by Henderson and now has a maximum height of 1.7m.

Lle'r Neuaddau Circle (Kerbed Cairn)

A quick update on access: my old OS map shows the circle as being outside the access land area, so I went and asked in the farmyard (three people, one barking dog) where permission and directions were readily given.

I do note however that the latest editions of the OS 1:250000 map available online show the site as being within the open access land boundary now, so no permission is technically needed. Given its proximity to the farm and the fact the easy and obvious route to it is through the farmyard, asking still seems like a good idea and may be appreciated (if anyone is around to ask, other than the dog).

Penybegwyn (Round Cairn)

Coflein description:
A possible cairn, set upon a summit, 8.0m in diameter and 0.4m high, has had a shelter constructed into its centre and an OS triangulation pillar erected upon its S margins.

There are reports of a circular feature, or earthwork in this vicinity.

Gelli-benuchel (Cairn(s))

Coflein descriptions:
I - at SN81150591 13.4m in diameter and 0.6m high, with indications of internal structure and having a modern shelter constructed over its N side;

II - at SN81200589 7.0m in diameter and showing signs of robbing.

III - at SN8105005840 A simple regular, round cairn, 8.0m in diameter and 0.3m high, with occasional kerbing showing about the perimeter.

Carn Cornel (Cairn(s))

Coflein descriptions of the two cairns:
Large round cairn (A) measuring c. 20.4m long from E to W by c. 17.7m wide and 0.9m high. The base of the mound may be partly natural and the actual cairn appears to have been circular and about 15.2m in diameter. A kerb of slabs laid flat is visible for a short distance to the S. At the centre are irregular hollows and a dry-built modern shelter.

At 12m NE of cairn A is another circular mound of stones about 7.6m in diameter and 0.6m high. A deep central hollow testifies to disturbance and shows the cairn is built mainly of slabs lying flat upon one another.

Maenllwyd y Rhos (Standing Stones)

This is almost definitely a natural rock outcrop on the boundary between common heath and forestry. The site consists of a massive stone block, c.2m high x 3m wide x 3.5m long, originally recorded as a possible standing stone by the RCAHM in 1914, which lies in association with other outcropping rocks. Natural feature. N Cook PFRS 2004

Prehistoric Funerary & Ritual Sites Project Pembrokeshire 2003-2004 ( © DAT)

Ffos-y-frân (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

Coflein description:

Five cairns, 2.1-3.4m across and 0.1m high, have been noted in an area of "faint humps", possibly representing further cairns.

Merthyr Common (Cairn(s))

5 cairns marked on the OS 1:25000 map, in a line running from NNW to SSE over the course of about 3/4 of a mile. Coflein descriptions, NNW - SSE:
Cairn I (SO0751705038)

This Bronze Age cairn lies on a relatively level part of Merthyr Common. It measures 5.2 metres in diameter and stands 0.30 metres high with a slight dip in its centre. It is grass-covered so the make-up and structure of the cairn cannot be ascertained.

Round barrow (SO0754504975)

First surveyed in 1960, this low, grass-covered, stony mound lies to the east of the minor road, NPRN 528728, that runs down Merthyr Common. It measures 8.5 metres east to west by 6.1 metres and 0.2 metres high. When the area was surveyed as part of the Uplands Initiative by Trysor in 2012 vegetation cover was grass.

Ring cairn (SO0773904493)

This small ring cairn is one of several cairns on this relatively level area of Merthyr Common. It measures about 9 metres overall, with the ring itself being 3 metres wide and 0.3 metres high. It is grass-covered but a few stones can be seen, the southwest part of the cairn has been damaged by vehicles in the past.

Possible ring cairn (SO0779304404)

This cairn on the eastern side of the minor road across Merthyr Common measures 16.8m in overall diameter. It is defined by an encircling bank of stones 2.5m wide and 0.4m high on the west, diminishing to 1.8m wide and 0.3m high on the east. Whether a robbed round cairn or possible ring cairn is uncertain. Previously surveyed in 1960 and 1979.
A centrally placed electricity pole has been sawn off at the base. When the area was surveyed as part of the Uplands Initiative by Trysor in 2012 vegetation cover was grass and moss.

Possible ring cairn II (SO0785004250)

A turf-covered ring of stones measures 14.9m (N-S) by 13.7m overall, 1.5m wide and 0.2m high. A large amount of loose stone at the centre of the ring suggests the former presence of an internal platform though possibly caused by more recent stone dumping. Like its neighbour it is unclear whether this is a robbed round cairn or a disturbed ring cairn.

An electricity pole has previously been inserted into the inside of the ring on the south, but this has now been refused.

Mynydd Cilfach-yr-Encil (Cairn(s))

Coflein descriptions, north to south:
Northern cairn I (SO0792003970)

A turf-covered cairn with many stones exposed, much of the cairn having been robbed. There are no visible traces of a cist or other structural features, nor of a surrounding ditch. The cairn measures 11.6m diameter and takes the form of a platform 0.1m high with a rim 2.5m wide raised to 0.3m high. On the north-east is superimposed eccentrically a second mound 6.1m in diameter and 0.3m high. The latter may well have resulted from interference with the mound. The site is otherwise as described in 1960 (RC Inventory) and 1979 (OS).

Northern cairn II (SO0795003980)

A low circular bank 1.5m wide and 0.2m high, 15m in overall diameter. Set eccentrically (SW) within the otherwise level and stoneless interior lies a mutilated mound 5m in diameter and 0.2m high.

Summit cairn I (SO0791303464)

This grass-covered stony mound lies in a prominent position on top of a ridge on Merthyr Common. It measures 9m (N-S) by 8m and 0.5m high and has an uneven dished surface. When the area was surveyed as part of the Uplands Initiative by Trysor in 2012 vegetation cover was bilberries and grass.

Summit cairn II (SO0788003330)

A turf-covered cairn measuring 4.8m in diameter and 0.5m high is surmounted by a OS trig pillar. This may represent the re-use of a round barrow though the mound may have been created to support the pillar.

Southern cairn (SO0796003010)

A cairn on open land is defined by a slightly raised circular platform and measures 12m in overall diameter. Around it is a perimeter bank 2m wide and 0.3m high which contains three protruding stones. But on its west side it is dominated by outcropping rock and boulders. A possible ring cairn or rimmed platform cairn.

Mynydd y Capel stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

GGAT description:
Upright slab of sandstone, trapezoidal in shape. Flat faces to SW and NE, leans slightly towards NE. Slab is spalling, but not apparently very badly. Ground worn into shallow hollow on NE side, revealing small blocks and slabs of sandstone; others are visible on the other sides. Dimensions: Lgth base 0.9m, top 0.65m; max ht 0.85m; 0.3m thck.

(1956) A considerable weathered stone slab situated on the top of a hill. It is 0.8m wide, 0.7m high, and 0.3m thick. There is no visible trace of surrounding mound. It looks as though it has been erected, but in this area rock-outcrop is often similar in appearance though usually it has a slight lean in contrast to this stone.

(1976) An upright slab too small for inclusion.
GGAT 72 Prehistoric Funerary and Ritual Sites Project.

Mynydd y Capel cairns (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

CADW scheduling description of the cairnfield:
The monument comprises the remains of several prehistoric round cairns, burial mounds probably dating to the Bronze Age (c.2300 BC - 800 BC). Located on an elongated plateau at nearly 360m above OD, the number of cairns is exceptional.

Seventy-eight small stony mounds have been identified scattered irregularly over an area about 640m north-south by 230m wide. One mound (Cairn A) is 6.1m in diameter and 0.6m high and appears to have contained a cist and to have been surrounded by a rough kerb. The remainder comprise structureless cairns of stone, mostly very low and inconspicuous; only three are as much as 1m high. The majority (sixty-six) have their larger diameters ranging from 2.8 to 6.7m; of these, fifty-one are round, the rest oval. Ten are larger, four being round measuring from 7.3 to 10.4m in diameter, the remainder being oval, lengths ranging from 8 to 11m. Near the northern limit of the group, a low bank, about 3.7m wide and 0.6m high where best preserved crosses the plateau. Near its eastern end two upright slabs 1.7m apart probably indicate its original width. A branch to the south forms an incomplete enclosure. Near the southern limit are the foundations of two rectangular buildings about 10.7 by 4.6m, now represented by slight low banks about 0.9m wide. The presence of these buildings and of the low bank suggests that some of the cairns may be no more than clearance dumps, but some would be acceptable in isolation as burial cairns, especially that which shows traces of kerbing, and the larger cairn at the south-eastern limit of the group.

Mynydd Llangeinwyr (Round Cairn)

Two cairns on Mynydd Llangeinwyr, Coflein/GGAT descriptions:
Southern cairn (SS9197090610)

An oval stony mound, 7.6m E-W by 6.1m and 0.3m high.

Entirely grass-covered and roughly flat-topped mound, slightly dished in from the edges; stone can be detected in the interior so it is unlikely to be a ring cairn, unless the centre was later filled. Sheep track runs across monument N-S, and appears to have dug into it slightly.

Northern cairn (SS9198291967)

This low circular cairn measures 6 metres in diameter, and is up to 0.5 metres high. It is covered with bilberry and grass.
The northern cairn is not marked on the OS map.

Pant Blaenhirwr (Cairn(s))

Two (possible) cairns on the upper slopes of Pant Blaenhirwr, Coflein descriptions:
Garn Lwyd (SS9198090140)

A suggested ring cairn, 14m SW-NE to 12.5m overall diameter, in an uncharacteristic on a steep NE-facing slope.

Pant Blaenhirwr SW (SS9170189893)

A low mound, 3.5 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres high with a high stone content. The vegetation cover was grass in December 2011.

Roundway Hill (Round Barrow(s))

From the Heritage England/Pastscape record:
The round barrow cemetery includes six bowl barrows, all of which have been excavated and all survive differentially: four are circular mounds of between 11.8m and 24m in diameter and from 0.2m up to 2.1m high surrounded by buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived; two are preserved as entirely buried structures layers and deposits visible as soil or crop marks on aerial photographs with diameters of 10.9m and 21.9m. Two of the extant mounds are conjoined but excavation showed them to be two entirely separate bowl barrows.

All except one of the bowl barrows were excavated by Cunnington in the period from 1855-8. They produced a wide range of finds, including barbed and tanged arrowheads, burnt bones, animal bones, daggers, worked antler, a quartz pebble, whetstones, a slate wrist guard, a bell beaker and sherds of Romano-British pottery as well as the primary and secondary cremations and inhumations set into grave pits or wooden boxes. One further bowl barrow was excavated by Thurnam in the mid 19th century but only an empty cist was revealed. The southernmost ‘barrow’ excavated by W Cunnington in 1805 appeared not to be a bowl barrow despite still surviving as a circular mound of 15m in diameter and up to 1m high. Instead this mound was a hlaew which contained a primary Anglo-Saxon inhumation orientated east to west and accompanied by an iron ring, a bone gaming piece and a shield boss. A second excavation (by a different Cunnington – Henry or William Jnr) carried out in 1877 which produced a flint knife and whetstone may not have been from this mound at all.

The entire cemetery lies within the Registered Battlefield - the Battle of Roundway Down, 1643 - an English Civil War skirmish which saw a defeat for the Parliamentary forces many of whom were killed as cavalry horses hurtled over the steep scarp sides at nearby Oliver’s Castle (scheduled separately) plunging into what became known as ‘Bloody Ditch’.

Wiltshire and Swindon HER Descriptions of the barrows that still exist above ground surface level, from west to east:

Northwestern barrow (SU01490 64839)

Two confluent bowl barrows. The West mound was opened and revealed a wooden coffin containing burnt bones and a dagger. East mound contained a primary cremation and other finds. Also an intrusive burial of unknown date. Barrow G5b contained a small unworked pebble with a fractured end. It was Petrologically tested and found to be a rolled chert pebble. An unworked fragment of stone from the primary cremation in barrow G5b was also Petrologically tested and found to be coarse grained grey sandstone, and two other fragments of stone proved to be ferruginous sandstone.

Southwestern barrow (SU 01937 64340)

Bowl barrow with intrusive Saxon burial, opened by William Cunnington in 1805, who also found an iron ring, bone gaming pieces and a possible shield boss. Thought to have been opened again in 1877 by Henry or William Cunnington Jnr., who recovered a flint knife. An irregularly shaped tabular whetstone from a primary cremation in the bowl barrow was sent for Petrological testing, and was identified as being made of fine grained reddish sandstone.

Central barrow (SU02128 64604)

Bowl barrow opened by J Thurnam who found an empty cist indicating a previous disturbance.

Eastern barrow (SU02513 64754)

Mutilated Bronze Age bowl barrow.

Mynydd Bach (Maesycymmer) (Cairn(s))

Several cairns of various types along the Mynydd Bach ridge. North to south descriptions:

Mynydd Bach 2/Maesycymmer cairn (ST1703292614)

GGAT description:
A robbed cairn 16m in diameter with a few stones protruding through its grass covered surface. It is 0.6m high on the E side and 0.2m high on the W side. There are shallow depressions in the top and sides. No cist or retaining circle is visible.
Maesycymmer Ring Cairn (ST16979246)

Not shown on the OS map. GGAT description:
A cairn 23m in diameter with a maximum height of 1m. A fragmentary rim is visible but within the rim mutilation is extensive and the mound is of irregular height and plan. No cist is visible. The cairn is partly grass covered and is in the path of an encroaching coal tip.
Mynydd Bach 1/Ynysddu/Pen-rhiw cairn (ST1678991977)

GGAT description:
The cairn is situated on the top of the ridge, in a grass field. It is turf covered, c.13m in diameter and 1m high. In the middle two slabs of a cist are showing, 1m and 0.75m long, in a depression, 1.5m by 1.5m and 0.7m deep. Some small stones are lying in this depression, and some larger ones are lying on the surface. On the northern side is a disturbance hollow, turf-covered, 2m in diameter, and 0.5m deep, with a few large stones lying in it. To the W of the cairn is an area of quarrying.
Pont Bren Gwyn ring cairn (ST1708091940)

Not shown on the OS map. Coflein description:
On a narrow strip of open land between field walls and a track over the mountain lies the remains of a ring feature. It is defined by an arc of stony bank, open on the W side, measuring 2m-3m wide and 0.5m high on the outer E side but only 0.25m internally. The overall diameter of the ring would have been about 10.5m.

Tyle-gwyn (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Coflein description:
A possible standing stone near the intersection of a field boundary and road south-west of Tyle-gwyn Farm, Wyllie of presently undetermined date and character.

A.N. Coward, RCAHMW, 02.01.2019

Llyn Cau (Natural Rock Feature)

From Dr Toby Driver, RCAHMW, 9th October 2018:
There is a high likelihood that the lake was a place of sacred importance in the Iron Age given the find of a hoard of La Tene Late Iron Age metalwork (NPRN 419531) a kilometre to the south-east on the mountain path up to the lake. However, further archaeological investigation of the landscape environs of the lake are required to place it in a more robust archaeological context.
The horde was found below Llyn Cau in a cavity below a large boulder protruding from the mountainside;
Field visit by Toby Driver, RCAHMW, 11th December 2013. The find spot is marked by a prominent glacial boulder, naturally fallen into its present position and propped up on massive upright stones so as to resemble an artificial 'burial chamber'. Beneath the boulder is a dark, nartually formed 'chamber' which may have attracted Iron Age people to use the site as a place of deposition. The find spot lies alongside the modern Minffordd path up to Llyn Cau and Cadair Idris, suggesting considerable antiquity to this particular route. Across the path from the propped boulder, and below the line of the track, is a minor spring formed of rock slabs on three sides of a cleared, damp area. This spring head, if ancient, may have further influenced the hoard site. The boulder marking the find spot is the most prominent and impressive of its kind flanking the path as it ascends from the valley floor to the open mountain above. It is perhaps the only boulder formation which may have suggested an artificial construct or chamber to prehistoric people. It is likely that the corrie lake at Llyn Cau was the focus for any traveller climbing this path in antiquity, perhaps for ritual purposes, and therefore the attribution of the hoard to 'Tal-y-llyn' is potentially misleading in the interpretation of its landscape context.

Diffwys (Y Rhinogydd) (Cairn(s))

According to Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, there are the remains of a cairn and cist right on the summit of Diffwys:
On the highest point at 750m, approx 18m N/S and 12m E/W, with high crags dropping to the E.

Heavily robbed for the modern wall crossing the cairn but with undisturbed cairn material surviving up to 0.5m above the natural hill top.

Just W of the wall are two arcs of large, radially set stones and two large edge set stones, 1.5m and 1m long, set at 90 degrees, forming part of a cist which appears to have been robbed.

Kicking myself that I didn't check Historic Wales before traipsing up here in September!

Tick Law (Cairn(s))

Details of the two of the cairns on Tick Law from the SMR:
The two round cairns, 655m and 882m SSW of Blawearie are reasonably well-preserved and are highly representative of their period. The presence of upstanding remains indicates that the monument will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction and use. The presence of a covered cist indicates that these will include below ground funerary deposits and comparison with other similar sites suggest that they may also include evidence of earlier funerary structures such as stake-holes or the remains of prior treatment of the ground surface such as ard marks.


The monument includes the remains of two round cairns of Bronze Age date, situated on a north west-south east ridge-top stretching northwards from Tick Law. The southerly cairn (NU0810 2158), which measures approximately 7.6m in diameter and 0.4m in height, has evidence of kerbstones and a depression in its centre that has revealed a stone cist cover stone. To the north west is a second cairn (NU0825 2176) measuring approximately 7.6m in diameter with a height of up to 1.1m. The presence of kerbstones, a cist cover and the similarity between the two suggests them both to be funerary structures.

The grid reference for the second cairn doesn't appear correct. The "southerly cairn" at NU08102158 is shown on the OS map lying to the NW of another cairn at NU08352132. The grid ref given for the NW cairn in the record would actually lie to the NNE not the NW of the "southerly cairn". I found cairns at the two locations on the OS map, but I didn't look for anything at the NNE reference above, which is in an area of deep heather.
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"The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal. Always there will be the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest; always there will be the exhilaration of the summits. These are for the seeking, and those who seek and find while there is still time will be blessed both in mind and body." Alfred Wainwright

"The movers move, the shakers shake, the winners write their history. But from high on the high hills, it all looks like nothing." Justin Sullivan

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