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

Fieldnotes by Dunstan

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Traeth Fawr (Round Cairn)

This is indeed a beautiful spot. A nice little beaker/bronze age mound overlooking a stunning bay, with all of Snowdonia as a backdrop. As other people have mentioned, there is not much to see of the barrow itself; just a few large stones, but it's a great place to be - either lounging on the soft turf on a summer's day, or huddled behind the nearby stone seat when the big winter southwesterly gales are piling up the surf.

If you check out the eroded slopes just below the barrow you can pick up little bits of mesolithic flint. They're mostly just waste flakes, but it's a tangible connection to the people who were here 7,000 years ago.

The best thing to do is to park up at Porth Cwyfan (the church in the sea), and walk for a couple of miles along the coast path. This is a great little walk. The church itself is quite special, and rightly popular with artists. Further along the coast you can see the wreck of the 'Bothilde Russ' at low tide, lost in a gale in 1903. There are usually a few seals watching you from the sea, and if you're lucky there may be ravens or pairs of choughs showing off their aerobatic skills.

Overall, a great place to be. Make the effort and go there - whatever the season, you won't be disappointed.

The Three Leaps (Stone Row / Alignment)

I agree with Stubob and Hamish. These 'standing stones' are about the size of a housebrick. Interesting perhaps, but not at all spectacular. Took me ages to find them too.

Barclodiad-y-Gawres (Chambered Cairn)

The alignment of the chamber at Barclodiad-y-Gawres has been puzzling me lately. The Irish passage graves - of which this is surely one - were sometimes aligned on the sun. Newgrange is the classic example, aligned on the midwinter sunrise.

The orientation of the passage at Barclodiad-y-Gawres is just about due north, as measured with a compass, which means that it cannot be aligned on any movement of the sun.

It is, however, aligned on a pair of low hills in the distance - Mynydd y Garn and Mynydd Mechell. The standing stones of Llanfechell lie at the foot of the latter.

The horizon on this part of Anglesey is remarkably flat and level, so these hills do stand out on a clear day. The obvious feature of the horizon is the great lump of Holyhead Mountain, but the passage points instead to the two smaller hills. I've attached a photograph of these from the passage.

Was this a deliberate alignment? Were these sacred hills? I don't know. Go there on a clear day, sit in the clear air of Anglesey, soak up the view and see what you think.

Danesborough Camp (Enclosure)

Danesborough is an iron age hillfort, which if it were in say, the Welsh Marches or the Berkshire Downs, wouldn't get much more than a second glance from all but the most dedicated researchers. However, since it is no more than a stone's throw from Milton Keynes, an area not rich in prehistoric remains, it is worth a visit if you're in the area.

It is situated in Aspley Woods. Whilst the trees and bracken make it difficult to appreciate the scale of the site, they do make for a very nice walk to get there. You can wander through the forest for literally miles if you want to.

The hillfort itself is fairly standard: with a bank, ditch and counterscarp bank all visible. In places the top of the bank is still 12-15 feet above the silted bottom of the ditch. The land falls away fairly steeply on the southeast and northwest, making quite an impressive defended site, close to the pre-roman route of Watling Street.

The soft, sandy soil of the area (the nearest village is Woburn Sands - an accurate name) mean that there are numerous hollow ways and sunken tracks, which combined with the trees make interpretation difficult. There are entrances to the northeast and southwest which may be original, but it is difficult to make out any traces of outworks or other defensive gateway structures owing to the bracken and the confused nature of the ground.

There is no best place to park and no best route to Danesborough. It is at least half a mile from the nearest road, and the paths can be muddy. Get yourself a decent map, park up in either Woburn, Woburn Sands or Bow Brickhill, and enjoy the peace and quiet of the woods on the walk there.

Glyn (Burial Chamber)

This site is known as 'Glyn' in Frances Lynch's 'Prehistoric Anglesey'. It isn't the easiest site to find, nor the most accessible, but it is certainly unspoilt and away from the crowds. It is about 100 yards south of a well made footpath, but still difficult to find. I strongly recommend the use of a detailed OS map.

The whole area consists of a limestone pavement (imagine a miniature Burren) which seems oddly out of place on Anglesey. The chamber itself appears to be a large slab of the local limestone which has been propped up with small uprights to form a small space underneath.

Incidentally, it took me two attempts to find the chamber. On the first trip I got a little lost and ended up wandering about north of the path. In the woods and fields there are a number of walls and hut circles, very similar to those on Holyhead Mountain. I haven't been able to find any information on these, so they may be prehistoric or they may be post-roman, but you can feel like a proper explorer as you trace their outlines in the trees.

Overall it is a nice site. Not spectacular, and probably not worth making a long trip for, but if you're in the area (say, at Lligwy or Pant-y-Saer) then it is definitely worth a look.
I'm a gentleman adventurer and an antiquarian of the old school.

I'll only post if I feel I can add something new to the site. All my opinions are my own, but as Colt Hoare might have said - "I speak from facts, not theories".

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