Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Carreg Cennen Castle

Visit Date : August 2021

WELSH: Castell Carreg Cennen meaning castle (on the) rock (above the) Cennen) is well named as this fortress is well above the outlying land high upon a limestone cliff.

The site has a long history and may well have also been the site of an Iron Age hillfort.

There is also some Roman history as Roman coins have been found in the area, although it is unlikely the Romans occupied this site on a permanent basis.

Legends of the original fortress goes back to the Dark Ages, held by Urien Rheged, Lord of Iskennen, and his son Owain, knights during the reign of King Arthur.

Stories claim that there is a warrior (perhaps one of the knights, or Arthur himself?) asleep beneath the castle, awaiting a call from the Welsh.

As with many Welsh castles, they will have been built, rebuilt and altered through the ages.

The first "castle" on the site was probably built by the Welsh Lord Rhys, Prince of Deheubarth, in the late 12th century, but was taken in 1277 by King Edward I.

The castle we see today replaced the demolished previous structure in the late 13th century by John Giffard and his son.

It was involved in many battles and was besieged during the rebellion of Owain Glyndwr in about 1403 and was considerably damaged.

Around 1461, the castle was deemed too much of a threat to the monarchy and was destroyed the following spring and is basically in the same state today.

Despite being in a ruinous state in the 18th century it started to attract artists (Turner sketched the castle in 1798).

In the 1960s Carreg Cennen Castle was acquired by the Morris family of Castell Farm, when Lord Cawdor's legal team made a mistake in the wording of the deeds and included the castle as part of the farm.

The image below is an interesting feature (at least to me) was this tower with the hole at the bottom. It was the outlet for the latrine.

Although today the Castle is maintained by CADW: (Welsh Historic Monuments) the castle is still privately owned and managed along with the farm and tea rooms by Margaret & Bernard Llewellyn and their Daughters.


Visit Information:-

Google Reference 51.854408996393424, -3.935643592179748

Google Search reference: Carreg Cennen Castle

What Three Words reference : ///reason.winners.routs

The site is easy to find Leave north from Ammanford and turn left onto Ffordd Wern Ddu it is signposted from here.

The car park (51.85656999860168, -3.9376914809885473) is free with many spaces and overflow spaces. There are toilets and a "must visit" tea room and gift shop.


Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Maen Llia

Visit Date: December 2019

This is a post from a visit I made to this site in 2019.

This standing stone is situated in Brecon.

As you approach Maen Llia, the megalith is in a large area of scrub and does not look so large but gets more and more overwhelming as you get closer and close up is it very impressive. The stone is actually 12 foot high and 9ft wide.

The stone is made of Calcreate which is a form of old red sandstone which is found some distance away.

The stone is likely to have been brought to this location by a glacier many thousands of years ago and then placed upright in its exact position during the Bronze Age.

The myth associated with this stone is that on mid-summers eve the Maen Llia walks to the river to drink.

It is said that this myth stems perhaps from the shadow getting longer as the sun goes down and stretches down to the river before sunset.


Visit Information:-

Google Reference 51.860873062740495, -3.5636886724985617

Google Search reference: Maen Llia

What Three Words reference : ///compress.maple.display

The site is easy to find on Sarn Helen, in the Brecon Beacons.

Head north from Glynneath briefly on the A4019 and then the B4242 and Maen Llia is right next to the road, well marked and easily visible from the road.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Carn Llechart Ring Cairn

Visit Date:- August 2021

Today my short outing was to visit the small stone circle called Carn Llechart.
This is within the Brecon Beacons National park and is high on the hills overlooking the village of Rhyd Y Fro.

The site comprises the remains of a burial cairn probably dating to the Bronze Age (c. 2300 - 800 BC).

On observation, the ring is not really that impressive as other circles with the stones being not more than a few feet high and the ring not nearly as large as many others.

The reason for this is likely to be that the circle is not of the same sort of group ceremonial use that we see from the larger circle sites but is more likely that this circle is just the border of a burial site. But it does have significance in the history of this site.

An important ring cairn, It measures 13 metres in internal diameter

with its unusual circle of contiguous slabs, about 25 in number, around a large rectangular cist (A cist is a small stone-built coffin-like box or ossuary used to hold the bodies of the dead. Examples can be found across Europe and in the Middle East),

This site is important as it has the distinction of being mentioned in one of Britain's earliest antiquarian books, William Camden's 'Britannia' (1695 edition).

The twenty-five stone slabs leaning outwards slightly create a 'crown of thorns' effect. The circle is very slightly above the surrounding ground level. At the centre is the robbed-out rectangular cist measuring 2 metres by 1 metre Approx.

The cist was originally topped by a large stone slab, but this has been lost. Although I did read that it had been "moved" to a site 100 yards away.

I wish I had realised that the circle was so close to the ground as I would have taken a light ladder to get above the site to show it better, especially as the site was overgrown today at the height of summer, Maybe a return winter visit is on the cards?

There have been some interesting visit mentions for this site.

One of the visits was recorded by a couple who said "I have never seen anything like it. Claire was bodily thrown from the centre of the circle by some kind of force. I felt it too. It was like being punched in the stomach."

"Since our visit we suffered severe headaches, stomach problems, lethargy and general illness. It was almost as if our energy was completely sapped by whatever was in the centre of those stones."

By contrast, another reads:-

" I visit this place regularly and have found no ill effects when visiting, in fact, quite the contrary... I find the energy there is very warm and welcoming, not at all malicious, I leave with a renewed sense of wellbeing.


In an adjoining farm field to the southwest of the circle, you will see another stone circle with much larger stones. A more impressive site this has often been in reports mistaken for the actual site. The stones are much larger and set out not in a proper circle so you have to be more open to the circle description.

This is almost certainly more recent, however, it is likely that these large stones did mark something in the distant past but have been moved considerably.

One local resident stated that this was constructed by the gas board to stop the farmers cows from rubbing against the machinery that was stored there. This was going to be the use for the large flat stone. Although this may have been the recent use it is difficult to believe that these stones would have been brought here when the field with its dry-stone walls could have been secured more easily.

Another report was of a farmer building a stone circle in a field south of Carn Llechart ring cairn in 1985. Either way, I think these may have been of importance before being repurposed and the original position and purpose has now sadly long gone.

That said they are impressive to look at. Oh yes, the views are also great from up here but the light was very flat and not good for the long landscape shots.

--- Footer ---

Visit Information:-
Google Reference 51.73995923556227, -3.8880360662304243
Google Search reference: Carn Llechart Stone Circle & Cairn
What Three Words reference : ///fight.lucky.geek

To visit the site is quite easy, but it took me quite a time to find it but this should make it easier for you.

When entering the village of Rhyd Y Fro with the "Traveller's Well" pub on your right-hand side, take the turning left just past the pub. Go up the hill on the small farm track until you pass over a cattle grid. A little way after this is a sharp hairpin bend to the left, take this up the hill further.

Next, there is a right-hand hairpin turn with a larger tuning space. Here you can park or just a little way further up the hill there is an entrance to the hill with a yellow grit box on the right-hand side, you could park here also.

Take a walk through this entrance by the grit box with the wall on your left and then follow the wall 90 degrees around to the left. When you reach the second metal gate with the "walkway markings" and style stop.

You will see the false circle and stone in the field if you wish to visit but Carn Llechart is not in this direction.

With this gate at your back look opposite and slightly to the right and the Circle is just a few hundred yards away up the hill slightly. I visited in summer and could hardly see the stones of the circle from the gate as they were overgrown but in winter you may possibly see them.

The google map reference is very good and I found it from that.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

The Wreck of the Altmark

Date of visit: April 2021

This is a wreck on my favourite local beach.

It is located along the coast heading west from Sker beach where the S.S Santampa was wrecked.

This part of the South Wales coast is very treacherous in stormy weather and there are quite a few wrecks here.

There is not much showing of the wreck today because the level of and on the beach here does vary during the year.

The Altmark was a fishing vessel that was travelling from Britton Ferry to Barry in June 1960 when it developed engine trouble and ran aground.
Luckily there was only one person on board and he was rescued safely. 

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

The Keeper of the Woods (Bridgend Nature Keepers Project)

 Visit Date: April 2021

This is one of the ‘Nature Keepers’ oak sculptures.

The Nature Keepers project has been led by Bridgend County Borough Council, working together with local community groups.

They add interest to our beauty spots, and with the accompanying poetry, they capture the imagination of younger visitors by interweaving mythology into the sites.

Their aim is to spark an emotional connection to our green spaces, and so encourage people to visit as well as care more for them.

The Nature Keepers were carved out of Welsh oak by local sculptor Dai Edwards.

This will be a first of a series of posts on this topic

This keeper can be found in Tremains Wood Nature Reserve.

Brackla housing estate expanded greatly in the latter half of the last century and now accounts for nearly a quarter of the Bridgend town with a population of 11,749 at the 2011 Census.

Tremains Wood is a lowland mixed broadleaf woodland in the middle of the Brackla estate. It’s an easily accessible, leafy haven from town life and the meandering pathways through woodlands are a perfect place for children to explore. It is managed so the local community can access nature.

An area of ancient, semi-natural woodland, Tremains Wood is listed in the provisional ‘Glamorgan Inventory of Ancient Woodland’


I am a calendar, watch the seasons grow,

Warmed by summer sun, blanketed in snow.

I am a wardrobe full of things to wear,

Woven mossy blankets, woolly underwear.

I am a market full of tasty grub,

Caterpillar sandwiches, desiccated slug.

I am a mansion, fit for popstar folk,

Bunches of ash keys, wall to wall oak.

I am a classroom, open to the skies.

History surrounds me, imagination flies,

Woodland interface, nature’s open book,

Ancient hub of knowledge, welcome to the wood.”