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

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Trichrug (Sacred Hill) — Links

Trychrug Round Barrows, Ceredigion


What's an extra barrow between friends?

Trichrug (Sacred Hill) — Miscellaneous

Trychrug - or Trichrug, if you so prefer - is a fairly substantial hill (rising to 1,125ft) between Trefilan and Cross Inn. The B4337 crosses its eastern shoulder, actually a Drover's Road in times gone by... which, given the (alleged) propensity of those chaperoning animals to market to the odd shandy or two, might help explain sightings of fairies 'round about across the years?

Having said that, the hill does have form - and not just in a topographical sense - since it seems quite plausible to The Citizen Cairn that the hill's nomenclature is a reference to the massive Bronze Age round barrows which still crown the summit plateau. Sure, although there is actually a quartet of such monuments to be found here, one example is a relative 'tiddler', at least nowadays....

Set upon a north-west/south-east alignment, the northern pair is actually comprised of two very substantial round barrows indeed, albeit seriously overgrown with sundry industrial-strength vegetation. I assume by the OS designation of 'Tumuli' these are not heavily 'grassed-over' cairns? Whatever, the vibe is excellent for it would appear even the local dog walkers - who see fit to leave their mess (presumably of their guiltless canine charges) upon the approach track - do not bother to venture here.

Llethr Waun-lwyd (Round Cairn) — Links

Llethr Waun-lwyd, near Newbridge-on-Wye, Powys


What's in a name? Or lack of one...?

Llethr Waun-lwyd (Round Cairn) — Miscellaneous

Despite having walked the uplands of Wales for over 30 years now, The Citizen Cairn 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]

Graig-wen (Llanddewi Brefi) (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

Set in a forestry clearing at the head of Cwm Twrch, a few miles above and to the approx south-east of the idyllic village of Llanddewi Brefi, this Bronze Age cairn is very much of the 'if you didn't know it was here' variety, despite being hidden in plain sight immediately beside the sole road traversing the valley.

The monument was more-or-less engulfed with springy heather at the time of The Citizen Cairn's September visit, with just a small section of exposed cairn material - topped by a fading, hand-painted sign confirming its prehistoric ancestry - visible amongst the otherwise all-prevailing green.

Those who, the alien presence of conifers upon our uplands notwithstanding, discern a special vibe within the bosom of massed trees will find a brief (or extended, as you wish) interlude here worthwhile. The violent, wind-induced motion of the foliage was, indeed, something to experience... at odds, yet somehow complementary to the relaxed lunchtime vibe following a full-on morning upon Pen y Corn to the immediate east.

Coflein has this to say:

"A disturbed round cairn, 8.5m in diameter & 0.4m high, set on generally level ground." [J.Wiles 23.07.04]

Graig-wen (Llanddewi Brefi) (Cairn(s)) — Links

Graig-wen (Llanddewi Brefi), Ceredigion.


Blink and you'll miss it.. which would be a shame.

Pen y Corn (Cairn(s)) — Links

Pen y Corn, Ceredigion.


Rarely have I experienced such a prehistoric upland vibe with so little height gain...

Cryn Fryn (Round Cairn) — Links

Cryn Fryn, near Llanwrthwl, Powys.


One outta two 'aint bad, I guess. Especially when the survivor is this good.

Carn Wen (Cynwyl Gaeo) (Round Cairn) — Links

Carn Wen (Cynwyl Gaeo), Carmarthenshire


Approach and environs of the 'not-so-white' White Cairn...

Carn Wen (Cynwyl Gaeo) (Round Cairn) — Miscellaneous

This, another of Wales' numerous 'White Cairns', may well initially confuse the uninitiated ... since its hue is very much at the, er, 'greener' end of the spectrum nowadays. Hey, it rains a lot upon The Cambrian Mountains... grass likes it here. Likewise, The Citizen Cairn, if the truth be told.

A not insignificant trek starting from the farm of Blaneau (take the road north from the idyllic hamlet of Cwrt-y-Cadno prior to climbing steeply first left) will grant the curious visitor an audience with the grassed-over remains of what once must have been a pretty substantial monument in its time, now supporting an OS trig pillar. The expansive vistas to be had are worth the effort themselves. Although don't forget the waterproofs, the inclement Mid Walian weather seeing fit to give me a veritable pasting for my trouble.

Coflein has this to say about yet another obscure gem:

"A cairn, 18m diameter and 1.0m high, mutilated about its center and having an Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar... set upon its eastward rim." [J.J. Hall, Trysor, 28 March 2012]

Pen y Corn (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

The wild Cambrian Mountain uplands between Llandovery and Tregaron may appear windswept and deserted nowadays, the occasional hamlet or farmstead notwithstanding. However prospective Citizens Cairn donning boots and venturing forth upon overgrown - or simply non-existent - paths will encounter tangible reminders of significant occupation back in the day: the great burial cairns of Bronze Age VIPs foremost. So, times may have changed... but fair to say it can still be a tad windy.

Pen y Corn, the southwestern spur of Bryn Brawd, possesses a pair of such monuments overlooking Cwm Twrch. OK, not as obvious as the massive example visible upon Craig Twrch, perhaps... but nonetheless a great place to sit, chill and watch the soaring Red Kites for a while.

Coflein gives a little sparse detail, thus:

SN6946051520 - "A Bronze Age cairn on a ridge... The cairn measures 12 metres in diameter and up to 0.75 metres high."

SN6934251349 (to the southwest) - "A Bronze Age cairn, on a local summit, measuring 9 metres in diameter and up to 0.55 metres high."

[R.P. Sambrook, Trysor, 22 March 2012]

Banc-y-Gwyngoed (Round Cairn) — Links

Banc-y-Gwyngoed, Ceredigion


It's a good place to be.

Bryn Rhudd (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Links

An ascent to the Bronze Age cemetery of Bryn Rhudd, Ceredigion...


But one of a significant series of Mid Walian high hilltops crowned by equally significant Bronze Age cairns, there is no simple way of getting here. But then, perhaps that's a good thing, right?

Mill Mound, Salcott-cum-Virley (Round Barrow(s)) — Links

The 'Mill Mound', Salcott-cum-Virley, Essex


Another obscure gem of Essex.......

Mill Mound, Tolleshunt Major (Round Barrow(s)) — Links

The 'Mill Mound', Tolleshunt Major, Essex


Now Essex doesn't have a great many round barrows still upstanding.... although upon viewing this - and its not too distant neighbour at Salcott-cum-Virley - one might be tempted to quote the old adage 'quality before quantity'?

Prittlewell Camp (Hillfort) — Links

Prittlewell Camp, Essex


At the northern end of Southend-on-Sea. Or something like that....

Danish Camp, Shoeburyness (Hillfort) — Links

'Danish Camp', Shoeburyness, Essex


'Scandinavian design' not required. Apparently.

Springfield Lyons Bronze Age Enclosure — Links

An extended walk around the Springfield Lyons Bronze Age Enclosure, Essex


Visitors might have to stop, pinch themselves and note that... yes... this is indeed Essex.

Springfield Lyons Bronze Age Enclosure — Images (click to view fullsize)

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Mill Mound, Salcott-cum-Virley (Round Barrow(s)) — Images

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Danish Camp, Shoeburyness (Hillfort) — Images

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Hi, I'm Robert ... with a passion for attempting to understand the lives of the pioneering prehistoric inhabitants of these British Isles, seeking out the remains they left behind in order to ask myself "why here ... why did it matter so... why such commitment?". Needless to say I'm still pondering such intangibles. Just as an empty house appears to retain echoes of past humanity... so does the stone circle, the chambered cairn, the long barrow and the mountain top funerary cairn. Visiting them, I think, helps engender a certain 'connection' with this land of ours, with ourselves - our past, our present and our future; a reference point for those of us perhaps struggling to make sense of this so-called 'computer world' Kraftwerk warned us was a'coming in 1981.... danke, mein herren (RIP Florian).

For the record: I make no claims for my contributions. My views are based upon observations made in the field, the inevitable factual errors mine alone. Needless to say, I'm happy to be corrected by the better informed. Should my posts prove inspiration for others to venture into the Great Outdoors, why thank you! I hope you receive as much pleasure as I have. But please bear in mind hills and mountains are unpredictable, potentially dangerous places. Ensure you have the appropriate survival kit and know how to use it (even in high summer). Don't be the one airlifted to safety - or the morgue - because he/she thought it didn't apply to them.

George Orwell - 'The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.'

Martin Gore - 'Like a pawn
On the eternal board
Who’s never quite sure
What he’s moved towards
I walk blindly on'...

Truman Capote - 'Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour.'

Oscar Wilde - 'The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.'

John Lydon - 'It is a reward to be chastised by the ignorant.'

Winston Churchill - '“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”

Ultravox - 'Taking shelter by the standing stones
Miles from all that moves....'

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