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Stanwick Fortifications (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

Visited 5.8.16

Almost 6 years since my previous visit - where does the time go?

We were heading home after our latest adventures in Scotland and as we were in the area ish..........

The site is pretty much as I remembered although the E.H. information board is now looking the worse for wear. The depth of the excavated ditch is very impressive. From the top of the bank I would guess it must be 5-6 metres to the bottom. The bank itself is still about 3 metres high compared with the surrounding countryside.

The sky above was dark blue, the sun shone warmly and as far as the eye could see the fields were golden with wheat ready for harvesting. Across the other side of the ditch were two women training dogs to run over and through an obstacle course. I wonder what the builders of Stanwick would have made of that? :)

All in all, Stanwick is a good place to visit. Particularly when the weather is as fine as it is today.

Buchlyvie (Broch) — Miscellaneous

Drive-by 4.8.16

Immediately to the south of the A811, a short distance east of Buchlyvie which is at the junction with the B835.

The broch is next to the road and looks (in passing) for all the world like a Norman motte.

Canmore states:
The broch measures 19m in diameter, with a wall 1m in height and 5m wide. It occupies the site of an earlier timber round house.

Craighead (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 4.8.16

South West of Doune. To the north of the B8031 - next to Craighead Farm.

The cairn is easily seen from the road as a large tree covered mound. As the rest of the field was in crop I settled for a view from the road.

Canmore states:
The cairn measures 14m x 1.5m in height. Surrounded by a dry-stone wall, surmounted by trees.

Stronach Wood (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.16

A short distance out of Brodick - along the B880.

We parked next to the metal barrier at the entrance of the forestry track and while Karen and Sophie stayed in the car, myself and Dafydd headed into the trees on another mini adventure.

There was mist in the air with a hint of light drizzle. Very atmospheric in a forestry setting. We simply walked along the track (passing a sculpture of a face carved out of a tree and someone's camping gear (although no sign of the person) All very 'Blair Witch'!

Once we reached the end of the track (10 minute walk) we carried along the 'path' for a short distance and soon spotted the large, flat rock outcrop.

The carvings were covered in pine needles and we had to brush them off as best we could. However the rock face was slippery in the wet and we had to take care not to fall. The light was far from ideal to see the carvings although we managed to make out several easily enough. Looking at the photos there were clearly many more we couldn't make out properly.

Dafydd then asked me 'what do they mean?' You can imagine the conversation which followed!

This is a fine (and relatively easy) site to visit and well worth the effort although (in my opinion) the carvings are not in the same league as the Killmartin ones - but then again - what is?

Dun Doir A'Chrorain (Hillfort) — Miscellaneous

Drive By 30.7.16

On the eastern side of the A846 - the only road on the island! The site is easily seen as a small flat-topped rock outcrop near the road.

Canmore states:
The dun measures 14m by 9m with walls up to 3m wide. Several stretches of outer facing wall is visible on the western side, in places up to 1m in height. A narrow entrance-passage is on the SW side.

Port Ellen (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.7.16

Drive east out of Port Ellen, past the school, and take the first track to your left (north). The stone is a little way uphill on your right. Access over the drystone wall via an old wooden stile.

It was our last day on Islay and we had to be up to catch the early morning ferry. However, I couldn't resist a quick 'cheeky visit' to one more 'old stone' before departing.

The stone is huge (well over 2m) and covered in the 'hairy' lichen I have become so fond of. This is a lovely rugged part of Islay with fine coastal views. I have really enjoyed my brief visit to Islay and Jura and would highly recommend others to do so if possible. The scenery is great, the people friendly and excellent places to visit. It was even sunny! (and they have a mobile chippy on a Friday and Saturday night in Port Ellen) - what more can you ask for!

I can see the ferry coming into port. Quick run required back to the car to make sure we don't miss it! :)

Avinagillan (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.7.16

From Tarbert take the A83 south and then the B8024 turn off. The stone is found about 2 miles along the B8024 on your left (east). Easily seen from the road.
Access is by hopping over a rusty metal gate.

The wooden fence is still there and this 2m stone is further protected by waist high nettles. Not good when wearing shorts! The surface of the stone is covered in green lichen.

This is a very easy stone to visit (and well worth it) if you ever happen to find yourself in Tarbert - which is in itself a nice place to visit.

Kames (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.7.16

As Postie says these stones are well looked after in the small but pretty village of Kames. Even the grass bank where two of the stones reside is well trimmed and neat looking. The one behind bars is also suitably manicured.

Watch out for the speed of cars on the road running through Kames - particularly at ferry departure times. As Greywether says, you pass the stones along the road if you only fancy a 'drive by'.

Nice little place Kames.

Ardnadam (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 2.8.16

Follow Mr G's advice although I would add that it is not a water works you pass but in fact an electricity sub power station. If you continue walking along the track you will pass stables on your left and a field gate is immediately on your right - this allows easy access to the site.

Well, here I am again in the footsteps of Mr G - a little over two weeks since he was here. It's a small world!

There is little I can add to Mr G's fine notes other than when Dafydd peered under the capstone he was convinced he could see cup and ring marks! As you can imagine I got very excited about this and eagerly tried to see for myself. Much trampling down of vegetation and lying on the floor at various angles followed. Unfortunately all I could see was the natural uneven contours of the stone. However, Dafydd is still convinced the marks are there. I think he is mistaken but his eyesight is better than mine to be fair! Perhaps another TMAer can visit and confirm I am right? :)

Either was this is a fine tomb to visit and one which is easy enough to access. The ground is likley to be boggy in wet wheather - bring yer boots.

Balliemore (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 2.8.16

Driving along the B836 you will come to a horseshoe bend at the head of Loch Scriven. At this point (next to a bridge going over the burn) is a track north leading to a farm. The stones are easily seen in the field on your right, near the farm house.

You can access the field to the stones via a gate. The field was full of sheep and cows on my visit. As well as views down towards the loch the stones are surrounded on 3 sides by hills. It reminded me of being in Killmartin Glen - reason enough to visit these stones when passing on your way to catch the ferry to Bute.

Colintraive (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.7.16

The cairn can be easily seen in a field next to the Colintraive ferry terminal which takes you over to Bute.

Whilst waiting for the ferry why not visit this large (if a bit mangled) grass covered cairn? As well as having good views over to Bute the cairn also has two hawthorn trees growing out of it which look quite nice.

Canmore states:
The cairn measures 13m x 12m x 1m in height. It stands on a stony platform about 1m above the level of the field. There are two possible kerb stones on the SW side. The centre of the cairn has been extensively disturbed.

Acholter (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Drive By - 1.8.16

This small stone can be seen across a couple of fields when driving south along the A884. I couldn't spot the stone when travelling north along the same road.

From a distance the stone only appears to be about 1m in height. It appears to be leaning towards the nearby field fence/hedge.

You would need to negotiate a couple of field fences to get a closer look.

Ettrick Bay (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.16

Visible from the B875 (south) on Ettrick Bay.

We parked outside a rather run down house and I walked back up the road, hopped over the metal field gate and walked over to the stones. Access to the circle is via a weathered wooden kissing gate. The stones being fenced in for their protection no doubt.

Looking at Mr G's photos a lot of growth has occurred since his visit. The stones were surrounded by tall rough grass. In fact, the two small 'stumps' of stone were only visible once I had trampled the grass down.

To concur with Mr G, I also liked this circle - a lot. The views over to Arran are lovely. I am sure this point wasn't last to the builders of the circle. The 'modern' large old tree now sharing the scene with the stones merely adds to its charm.

Ettrick Bay is a very popular beach destination on Bute (we also liked it - superb views over to Arran - at the risk of repeating myself) and it is well worth paying a visit to this circle at the same time.

East Colmac (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.16

Visible from the B875 (south) on Ettrick Bay.

We parked next to the field gate and I simply hopped over the gate and walked over to the stone. The field had already been harvested so no problems with access.

The stone is about 2m high and has a chunk missing from its shoulder. It looked natural to my untrained eye. Surprisingly enough it didn't have the usual 'hairy' lichen on it you usually find on the Scottish islands. Ettrick Bay stone circle can be seen in the distance, with the sea beyond that. Nice stone.

Glecknabae (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.16

From the delightful Ettrick Bay take the minor road north along the shore. Just before you reach the parking area (where the road narrows) you will see a metal field gate on your right. The chambered cairn is visible from this gate - 2 minute walk away.

It appears I an following in the footsteps of Mr G with these reports. I am sure there are worse people to follow!

I have to disagree with Greywether about this site. I think it is well worth visiting, even if you don't get chance to visit the other sites in the area (like me!).
The surviving cist, in situ, with capstone, makes the trip worthwhile in itself. Once you factor in the superb coastal views over to the mountains of Arran it becomes an obvious place to seek out.

After spending a glorious day on the beach in the warm sunshine (a rarity no doubt) it was a great way to end the day. My last site on Bute before heading back to the mainland. Bute is an easy island to visit and small enough that you could see all the main sites in a day if you so wished. We had two nights which seemed just about right. I also managed to knock another 3 Historic Scotland sites off the list for good measure! :)

Blackpark Plantation (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.2016

At the southern end of Bute take the minor road south off the A844 near Kingarth. This is signposted for St Blane's Church (Historic Scotland site). You will drive past trees to our left. Take the first turning you come to on your left which leads to a small parking area next to the trees. From the parking area follow the 'path' through the ferns, into the trees, to discover the circle.

There is an information board at the car park showing the circle (and other sites) but the sign from the roadside has fallen down (hence the reason we drove past the parking area - twice!) It is only a 1 minute walk to the stones.

it has to be said, there is something special about seeing standing stones in a woodland setting - even if it is a plantation. The sun was shining brightly but the density of the trees left the circle in a sort of twilight. The first stone you come to has a metal bar helping to keep it standing. It is covered by the wet spongy moss you find in this environment. The other two stones are studded with quartz chips - some quite large. The smallest stone is built into a mound which allows all the stones to be of a similar height. This is something I can't remember seeing before? Was this part of 'restoration work' in the past or is this original? The large stone which has split in two reminds me of the stones forming the Ring of Brodger for some reason.

Either way, this is a cracking site to visit and one I would highly recommend. Once you find the parking area this is a very easy stone circle to access. Enjoy!

Tarbert (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

Once off the ferry head north along the only road on the island - A846. You will eventually come to Tarbert and a turning to the east with a large sign informing you this is a private road! Although you may not be able to drive down the road you can of course walk down it!

This large 2m+ standing stone is next to the turning in a field of sheep. Accessed via the usual field gate. The stone is covered with 'hairy' lichen and stands on an obvious low mound. There are lovely views out over Tarbert Bay.

A short distance along the 'private road' can be seen the old cemetery. Unfortunately I didn't have time to explore this. I did however see several deer - the only ones we saw on our visit to the beautiful island of Jura.

The Paps of Jura (Sacred Hill) — Miscellaneous

The 'Paps' are a magnificent sight to behold. Not only do they dominate the Jura skyline, they also dominate most of Islay. Even though we were blessed with beautiful weather the Paps summits were mostly covered in clouds although they did occasionally permit us to see them in all their glory.

They must be difficult to climb but I imagine there must be an incredible view from the top? Top marks to anyone who achieves that feat!

Knockrome (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 30.7.2016

From the ferry terminal take the A846 north (it's the only road on the island!) When you reach Knockrome take the minor road towards Ardfernal. You will shortly come to a rough track leading south towards the shore - park here. The stones are either side of this track.

At least that is what my O/S map shows! I couldn't spot either stone. The terrain here is poor. In addition to the normal bog-like wet conditions underfoot you also have to content with chest high vegetation and many small trees and large bushes. I traipsed around, fighting my way through the very long grass, vainly hoping to spot the stones. The smaller stone (said to be 1.3m high) is shown right next to the track but I couldn't see it amongst the bushes and trees. Neither could i see the stone a little further away (said to be 1.8m high) No doubt the stones are here somewhere - but unfortunately they got the better of me!

Port Charlotte (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

Head south out of Port Charlotte along the A847. You will shortly come to the Kilchoman Community Park / camp site on your left. There is a large car park. This ruined tomb can be seen in rough grass between two football pitches, surrounded by tents.

Although there is an information board giving details about the tomb I would imagine that most of the campers were oblivious to this ancient tomb in their midst. As Merrick correctly states, this site has the feel of being unloved, uncared for and largely forgotten. At least the unkempt long grass affords some protection? Also of course, at least it is still with us!

Although it is worth viewing when in the area, the tomb at Cragabus is a much better visiting experience.

Uiskentuie (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

This fine stone is easily seen when driving along the A847, just west of the junction with the B8017. There is plenty of room to park on the wide grass verge. Access to the field is via a metal field gate - so an easy stone to visit. There are fine views to be had across Loch Indaal.

Was this stone erected as a 'marker' for sea-going travelers? It would make sense?

Dalarran Holm (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 26.7.2016

A short distance north of the A712 / A713 junction at New Galloway. The stone is easily seen from the A713 on the western side of the road.

This stone is easy to access. You can pull in at the open field entrance and it is only a very short walk to the stone. This fine grey stone is 2m+ tall and well worth a look if you are ever in the area.

Lower Heysham - Heysham Head (Natural Rock Feature) — Miscellaneous


Although I didn't get to manage to visit the rock feature I did visit the atmospheric ruined church, rock cut graves and superb hogback grave stone.

In the church tea rooms is a small display of Mesolithic flint tools found at the site whilst being excavated. The information sign states that over 14,000 such flint tools were discovered at this site!

I have to say it must have been a pretty bleak and exposed place in the winter months!

Moyish (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 28.7.16

It was early evening on our last night on Arran and I fancied a walk along the sea front at Brodick to see if I could spot any otters. This is where I had been fortunate to see two last year. It was a lovely evening and the sun shone on the mist covered mountains to the north - a really beautiful sight. Arran is a beautiful island. Anyway, I thought I would take the opportunity to seek out the Moyish standing stone.

I first attempted to reach the stone from the back of the houses to the east. All this achieved is wet and muddy boots and my route blocked by a combination of impassible high gorse hedges and several electric fenced horse paddocks.

I then walked back down the hill, past the houses, and attempted a route via the children's play area. I climbed over the fence at the back but was again beaten back by the hedge / stream / brambles etc.

My third attempt was from the west, along a footpath from Brodick to Lamlash. The walk was much easier but again my way was blocked by electric / barbed wire fenced horse paddocks.

In the end I gave up and went back to 'otter spotting' - something else I failed to do! This standing stone was very close the the B+B we were staying in but as they say - 'so near, yet so far.....'

Stronach (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes


Hurrah - the wheelie bins are no more!
The stone looks far more stately as a result :)

Monamore Glen (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.16

Take the minor road west across the island out of Lamlash. This is known as the Ross Road. The cairn is opposite a house, next to a forestry picnic area with wooden benches.

It is amazing how quickly the weather can change on the Scottish islands. One minute we were in warm sunshine, the next the hill clouds had descended and we were in a real 'pea souper'. This was the last site on my stay on the beautiful island of Arran and everyone was tired after a long days adventures.

I thought I had spotted the cairn as a gorse and fern covered mound but after re-checking the map once we had got back to the B+B I think I was slightly too far east and what I was looking at was a natural feature? I certainly couldn't see a stadning stone although this could have been hidden by said gorse/ferns?

CANMORE states:
The cairn survives as a tapered turf-covered oblong mound with maximum dimensions of 21m NE-SW by 18m NW-SE and a height of 1.5m. The single 1m high standing stone is within the suggested limits of the cairn material, but its purpose is not obvious.

Cragabus (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.16

Take the minor road west out of Port Ellen towards the Oa. This road is narrow with passing places. When you reach Lower Gragabus the ruined tomb is immediately next to the road on your left (south). You can park in a passing place a little further down the road.

The tomb is on the top of a rise and the road appears to have sliced off the northern edge of it. Access to the field is simply by stepping over a half-fallen old rust fence.

I thought this site was superb. The standing stone is about 4ft high and covered in the lovely 'hairy' lichen you often find in northern Scotland and the Isles. The outline of the chamber is easy to see and there are many large kerb stones on its southern edge still in situ. There is also a lovely large slab of stone which is largely made up of a pink quartz.

Although this is only my first afternoon on the island (another days adventures awaits tomorrow!) I would say this is a 'must see' site if you ever happen to be anywhere near Port Ellen.

Knocklearoch (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.2016

Head south out of Port Askaig along the A846. When you reach Ballygrant take the minor road south. The stones are easy to spot, near the road, next to a farm. This road gets progressively rougher the further south you drive.

Due o problems with the ferries it was with great relief that we (eventually) managed to reach Islay - a place I had wanted to visit for a long time.

This was my first 'old stone' site to visit and not a bad one to start with. The stones are approximately 4ft high, both leaning to the south. The stones have been fenced in within the field to protect them. The stones look well weathered and suitably old.

Well worth a look when in the area.

CANMORE states:
Two standing stones of local limestone, situated 2.4m apart. The west stone is triangular at the base, measuring 0.65m by 0.9m by 1.5m.
The east stone is also triangular and measures 0.8m by 0.8m by 1.7m. A pronounced natural fissure has caused part of the stone to break off.

Rhos-Goch Chapel (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.6.16

You can park outside the chapel in the hamlet of Rhos-Goch. The barrow is in the field behind the chapel.

At first I walked through the chapel graveyard in the hope of seeing the barrow in the neighboring field (the graveyard is on a slight rise). However, due to the high hedgerow this was not possible. I then walked a short distance down the main road and came to a field gate.

Unfortunately I could see no trace of the barrow.
Either I was looking in the wrong place or it has been ploughed out?

Lane Farm (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 25.6.16

There are two barrows showing on the O/S map adjacent to Lane Farm. Unfortunately the hedgerows here are huge, at least 10ft in height. I could see no access points near to where the barrow are so had to resign myself to defeat on this occasion.

I have no idea what condition the barrows are in?

The Four Stones (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.6.16

Wow, has it really been 6 years since my last visit? Where has the time gone? Needless to say, the stones are aging better than me! :)

The field where the stones live has been left to go fallow and the grass and nettles were knee height. The stones felt warm to the touch and I sat upon the smallest stone, which is half-fallen. The clouds had cleared and the sun shone. Despite being close to a country lane and being overlooked by a farmhouse, all was quiet. This is a nice place to sit and ponder. The stones are off a decent size (5 to 6ft tall) and are well worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.

Hopefully it won't be 6 years till my next visit.

Crossfield Lane barrow (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.6.16

Despite the field being in crop the 'bump' of the barrow could quite easily be seen from the field gate.

Not worth going out of your way for.

Kinnerton Court Stone II (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.6.16

The stone can be found at the edge of the road pretty much opposite the public footpath sign. I notice the grass verge has recently been cut back by the council. I wonder how many mower blades have been damaged on this stone? The low stone was covered in nettles on my visit. This is a stone which would be easy to miss!

Kinnerton Court Stone I (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.6.16

Where the road kinks there is a public footpath sign. Go through the field gate to the left of the sign. The stone is visible from the gate.

The field had been left to go fallow and the grass was waist height. Only the top of the stone was visible from the gate. Upon approaching I could see the stone was in a slight hollow. No doubt due to it being previously used as a rubbing post?

From the stone you can easily see how the stone (and all the other prehistoric sites in the area) sit within a natural bowl, surrounded by hills in all directions. This is a pretty area and well worth a visit if in the area.

Coldrum (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.5.16

A short distance north of the Addington and Chestnuts long barrows – east of Trottiscliffe. As this is a National Trust site a small (free) parking area is provided. Another site in this area where an O/S map comes in handy – at least you only need the one map!

From the parking area, myself, Dafydd and Sophie walked down along the obvious wooded path and out into the open fields. It is a lovely walk in this weather and we strolled along with not a care in the world. Unlike the local land owners who clearly have concerns judging by the proliferation of ‘private’ ‘no trespassing’ ‘private road’ type signs we have seen in the area – welcome to Southern England. An Englishman’s ‘home’ may be his ‘castle’ – although the drawbridge always seems to be raised!

Anyway, the path is well sign posted and after about 10 minutes we reached the N.T. info board at the bottom of the rise on which Coldrum stands. At this point we could hear the beating of a drum and it was obvious that someone was already at the site. We hurried up and upon reaching the summit were met by several people who were watching a lady sat within the wooden fenced off area playing an African drum. The lower branches of the large tree at the top of the rise were covered in clooties. I also spotted the remains of a fire which someone had made next to the stones but other than the grass appears to have made no damage.

Once she had finished most of the people wandered off although we ducked under the fence to have a closer look of the stones. The stones are enormous and many wouldn’t look out of place at Avebury. The two square ‘walls’ are particularly impressive, some of the best standing stones I have seen. Although I note they have been concreted in to help keep them up.

Whilst the children played around the stones I got chatting to the lady with the drum. She explained all about the drum and how she liked to visit Coldrum to take in the atmosphere and try to ‘connect’ with the ancestors. She said she also liked to visit Stonehenge and Avebury at the solstices but preferred Coldrum for the equinoxes. We spent quite a while chatting about all things ‘old stones’ before I left her to get back to her drumming. I did say that the music certainly added to the atmosphere of the place and there is a fair chance music would have been played at that very spot when the barrow was in use. As I looked down the valley across the farm land it was comforting to think that these were the same fields that the ancients would have farmed.

With these thoughts and with the sound of the drum it was quite easy to form a ‘connection’ with the past. It is surprising how music can help bring the stones to life. Stones can often seem quite sterile places.

Before I knew it we had already been gone an hour and I am sure Karen would have been less than happy sat in the car waiting for us. ‘I won’t be long’ being my usual last words before disappearing into some field or other. I suppose she is used to my definition of ‘long’ by now! However, we did have a long drive back to Cardiff ahead of us and we both had work the next day so it was time to retrace our steps.

Coldrum is a place I have really wanted to visit ever since seeing the site in Neil Oliver’s wonderful Ancient Britain series – I am so glad I finally got to visit. This was the last site of our long weekend in Kent and my favourite place we visited. Coldrum is a ‘must see’ site - particularly given its current status as the oldest long barrow in Britain. As Neil Oliver said – ‘It all starts here………..’ ?

Addington Long Barrow — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.5.16

Along a minor road between Addington and Wrotham Heath – immediately south of the M20. An O/S map would be handy although the barrows are signposted from Addington. Parking can be had at the entrance to Rose Alba.

The entrance to Rose Alba was closed and locked. The sign on the gate gave a telephone number you could ring to make an appointment for a tour of the barrows - £1.00 for adults / under 16 free! I rang the number but there was no answer so I walked back along the lane to have a look at the Addington long barrow.

From the lane you are really quite close to the stones but a barbed wire fence prevents you from getting too close. The stones were a little overgrown with long grass all around. However, the stones are large and can be easily seen. In fact, I am sure I was standing on the edge of one of the fallen stones which comes out to the edge of the road. By standing on the stone you are a couple of inches higher to look into the field. Dafydd and Sophie were none too impressed with the stones – I can understand why. No doubt had we been able to have a ‘tour’ things would have been different.

From the road you cannot see the Chestnuts long barrow which I assume is the other side of the house? Pity there was no one home, I would have loved to have seen the Chestnuts………..

Kit's Coty (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.5.16

Park at the ‘vineyard type’ place opposite the Countless Stones and (carefully) walk up the busy road towards the junction. Then (equally carefully) cross the junction and head for the obvious path up into the trees. There is a small wooden sign pointing the way once you reach the trees.

I left the children in the car (with their mother!) as I decided it was a bit too dodgy to walk them up the lane and across the junction. I was amazed how bust this minor road was – perhaps it’s a Bank Holiday thing? However, once in the trees it was a lovely walk up the hill towards the Dolmen. The sun was shining through the trees and the weather was nice and warm. A lovely late spring day. Fortunately it hasn’t rained for a while so there was no need to don my boots although it wet weather it would no doubt be a bit of a squelch. The walk was a bit steeper than expected and my legs soon started to grumble – I am definitely getting old!

Once you reach the top of the hill Kits Coty appears ‘as if by magic’ as Mr Benn would say (ask your parents!). And a magical sight it is. I didn’t realise how large and tall the stones were, I was quite taken aback at their impressive stature. The only thing spoiling the sight of course is the large black railings surrounding the stones. I assume this ‘protection’ is required? I would have thought that the Dolmen was sufficiently far enough away from urbanisation to deter your average riff-raff from taking the trouble to come so far to get up to no good? Perhaps not? Either way, how do ‘officials’ access the stones? I couldn’t see a gate. I assume they use ladders? Someone had clearly scaled the fence (not an easy task I would have thought) as they had left a corn dolly inside the chamber.

There are fine views across the countryside. The siting of the dolmen was clearly set to impress (as these things often are). Approximately 5,000 years later the stones still impress. I doubt there is much we build today which will still be impressive in 5,000 years time?

Kits Coty is a famous site which I had wanted to visit for a long time. Despite being a long way from home it was certainly worth the drive. This is a ‘must see’ site if you happen to be anywhere in the area. In fact, this is a ‘must see’ site even if you are not in the area.

As an added bonus for me this is another English Heritage site ticked off the list – only 130 to go!

The Coffin Stone (Natural Rock Feature) — Miscellaneous

‘View from afar’ 30.5.16

From the entrance to the ‘vineyard type’ place opposite the Countless Stones a large stone can be seen in the distance in the middle of a field. It is next to a tree, near the overhead power lines. This is a close as you are likely to get as the ‘vineyard’ has a double row of 6ft high fences ‘protecting’ the entrance. The vines (or whatever they are) have been planted all around it.
Once they have grown taller it is likely that in the summer months the stone will not be visible from this spot.

The Countless Stones (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.5.16

Along a minor road north east of Aylesford. Although this is an English Heritage site there are none of the usual Brown signs to be had. An O/S map is useful. The best place to park along this surprisingly busy lave is directly opposite the stones. There is a ‘vineyard type’ place opposite where you can park at the entrance. Look for the 6ft high green metal fences!

Once parked, a quick scamper across the road (look both ways!) and you are in the safety of the enclosure where the stones reside. The small information board tells you a little of the history of the stones and you are free to clamber over them as much as you like. E.H. call this site Little Kits Coty House. I was able to count the 20 stones said to be here – although one of them is mostly buried

As there are so many of these large stones remaining I wonder if any thought has been made to re-erect them? I don’t know if it is possible to work out which stone goes where but it seems to me that would be better than leaving them in their current jumbled state? I know not everyone would agree with this idea.

All in all not a lot to see other than a pile of large stones, but as I always say – ‘it’s not what it is, it’s what it represents’ that counts!

Certainly worth a look when visiting the nearby famous Kits Coty.

Standing Sarsen Stone at Eynsford (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.5.16

In the village of Eynsford, outside Bridge House (which is a sweet shop!), next to the ford and medieval pack horse bridge. This is all opposite the church.

Eynsford is an attractive village and on this beautiful late spring / early summer day was looking its best. We had just visited the nearby Roman villa (E.H.) and had stopped off for a drink and a sit along the river bank. There were lots of families about and many children paddling in the water next to the ford. Of course, it didn't take Dafydd or Sophie long to join them!

As they splashed about I walked over the narrow bridge to where the stone resides. I initially walked past the stone and back-tracked until I spotted it wedged right up against the wall. In all honesty the stone is not much to look at - small and a bit pointy. Easy to miss and easy to dismiss. However, it has been preserved so I assume it has importance? How old the stone is and what its importance is I have no idea.

Still, if you happen to be in the area and fancy visiting this pretty village it is worth a quick look - and you can stock up on your sweets at the same time! As an added bonus the remains of Eynsford castle (another E.H. site) is only a short walk from the stone :)

Glastonbury Lake Village (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

Not a visit to where the Lake Village was but a visit to the museum in Glastonbury where some of the finds from the excavations are held.

The museum is upstairs in the Tribunal House in the centre of Glastonbury. This is an English Heritage sites which doubles up as a tourist information office.

There are several information boards with may finds in glass cases including pottery, metalwork, weaving worles, items made from bone etc. However, the prize item is found in a separate building in the back garden. This is where the oak log boat is found. It is well preserved and certainly something you don't see very often. It is worth the admission price to see the boat alone.

Well worth a visit when in the wonderfully eccentric Glastonbury! :)

Moor View (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.4.16

A short distance north of The Deerleap Standing Stones – either side of the minor road.
Park in the large (free) car park on the brow of the hill. Short walk from there.

I found the barrow on the North West side of the road (A). It is adjacent to a stone field wall amongst an area of rough, overgrown ‘waste ground. There is a ‘path’ running adjacent to the wall and it makes a tell-tale small ‘up and over’ what I assume to be the barrow? Otherwise I doubt I would have spotted the barrow.

Unfortunately I could find no trace of the second barrow on the South East side of the road (B). The field it is in was full of sheep and is quite uneven. There was nothing I could see which was an obvious barrow. I did see an area of rough stones which I assumed was natural. Perhaps this was the barrow?

E.H. state:
Barrow (A) – The barrow mound is 9m in diameter and 1.5m in height. The northern third of the barrow has been reduced by ploughing and is 0.5m high. A drystone wall crosses the barrow mound.

Barrow (B) – A Barrow mound 18m in diameter and 2m high. A large central depression may be the result of a partial excavation or stone quarrying.

Deerleap Stones (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.4.16

As Ravenfeather states the best place to park is in the car park for Ebbor Gorge (free). Walk up the hill and you will come to a double wooden stile on your left. The stones are visible from the stiles on your right. Easy access – as long as you are able to manage a stile! The stones are shown on the Natural England map I picked up for Ebbor Gorge.

We were heading home after spending the day in Glastonbury (birthday treat for Karen) and I was keen to pay these stones a visit. The sun was still high in the sky and white fluffy clouds skimmed across a dark blue sky. However, the cold wind reminded you we were still in spring. Myself, Dafydd and Sophie walked across the field to the stones and the first thing that strikes you is the wonderful view across the Somerset Levels over towards Glastonbury. I pointed out the Tor to the children in the distance which they seemed impressed by – although Sophie wasn’t impressed enough to climb the Tor earlier in the day. I believe the words she used were ‘There is no way I am walking up there………!’.

The first stone you come to is the smaller of the two. This stone is approximately 1 metre high. The second stone is perhaps 1.3 metres high. A half-decomposed bunch of tulips had been left at the base of the stone. The children sat on top of the stones and we all admired the view.

If you are visiting Ebbor Gorge it is well worth the short walk to seek out these stones. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit the Gorge but I will definitely return to put that right. This is a very pretty place and deserves a prolonged visit.

Swayne's Jumps (Standing Stones) — Miscellaneous

‘Drive By’ 23.4.16

As far as I could make out Swayne’s Jumps stones are immediately to the south of the A39 within Loxley Wood. As you enter Loxley Wood (heading east) there is a minor road to the north (Wood lane) which leads to the village of Shapwick. Next to this turning is a layby – this is the closest parking spot to the stones.

The problem would then be finding them! The stones are very small – no more than a couple of inches high – and the woodland is very overgrown. Along with the usual long grass, bushes etc the woodland floor appears to be completely covered in ivy. I suspect it would be quite a challenge locating the stones. I couldn’t see the ‘old sign’ previously mentioned which was said to designate the location of the stones. A place to return when I have more time.

Y Ffor Menhir (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

A view from afar - 5.4.16

Whilst walking down the lane to visit the excellent Y Ffor burial chamber you can see Y Ffor Menhir a couple of fields over to the north. It looked large from a distance so I imagine it would be a big old chunk of rock close up!

Unfortunately I didn’t have time for a closer inspection.

Y Ffor (Burial Chamber) — Fieldnotes

Visited 5.4.16

A short distance south of the junction of the A499 / B4354. You can park in either the Garden Centre or the small layby opposite.

We parked in the layby and I walked north along the busy A499. On the same side of the road as the garden centre is a large vets. If visiting ‘out of hours’ you could park outside the gates which would save a walk. You can see the burial chamber across the field from the vets. Following Sam’s directions I walked along the lane towards Cromlech farm and then hopped over the field gate on the right. Across this field and over the opposite field gate and you are there.

This is a cracker of a site, the best I have been to for a long time. The capstone is tall enough to stoop under (although I did hit my head on the way out!) and the stones are covered in pretty white and yellow lichen. The stones have been concreted in at some point. Perhaps they had previously fallen?

There are great views towards the Snowdonia mountains in the distance.

I would highly recommend a visit if you happen to be on the Llyn Peninsular.

Maen Huail (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 6.4.16

In the centre of Ruthin in St peter’s Square – outside Barclay’s Bank.

I was very impressed by this historic part of Ruthin and St Peter’s Square is surrounded by ancient black and white timber framed buildings. Most of which had information plaques attached to them. There is also a plaque giving the folklore attached to the Huail Stone. The stone is approximately 1m high x 1.5m wide.

Llangwnnadl Menhir (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 5.4.16

I saw this standing stone marked on my O/S map and (as I was in the area) thought I would have a look. However, I didn’t have any details about the stone with me so I was hoping for the best. The lane which runs to the east of the stone is narrow with nowhere to park and has very high banks – the sort of banks you have to scramble up to see into the field.

We had a quick stop but I couldn’t see the stone – I must have been looking in the wrong field. If I had had Postie’s notes at least I would have known what I was looking for!

If you plan a visit I would suggest finding somewhere a little further away to park and approach on foot.

Ty Mawr Rhos Ganol (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

‘Drive By’ 6.4.16

Next to the A5104. A short distance north east of Bryneglwys.

Three low grass covered ‘bumps’ can be seen in a field.

COFLEIN state:
‘A group of 3 barrows approximately 26m in diameter and 1m high’.

Pant y Maen (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 6.4.16

Next to a narrow lane a short distance north east of Brynegwlys on the A5104.

Approaching from the south I initially drove and then walked past this site. Despite being a sizable stone (and being right next to the road) it was hidden by trees. The stone was a lot easier to spot when approaching from the north. It is slightly south (uphill) of a static caravan of the same name – on the opposite side of the lane.
Although Postie describes the barrow as a ‘small hill’ I would describe it more as a ‘raised embankment’. The stone is approximately 5ft high and has a nice green hue to it. Ivy is growing up two sides of it which adds to its charm. This is a ‘cute’ stone!

This is well worth the short detour off the A 5104 to seek out.
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I have visited both historic and prehistoric sites for a number of years but since 'discovering' this website my visits have spiralled out of control!
I am now out 'exploring' as often as possible and have been to many wonderful places I didn't even know existed before using this website.
Having visited all the CADW sites I am now trying to visit all the E.H. sites and as many H.S. sites as possible.
In trying to achieve these goals I get to travel all around the country and with it the chance to visit as many sites as possible mentioned on this fine website. I hope some of you find my contributions a little helpful?
I have certainly found the contributions made by others to be both very informative and often quite amusing!
I must also mention the lovely Karen whom without her help, encouragement and understanding I would not be able to visit half of the places I do.
I am forever grateful.

My TMA Content: