Monday, 8 February 2016

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Bryniau Clwyd

23.01.16  Garreg Mountain (SJ 133 782)

The last of our three hills of the day was Garreg Mountain with its summit positioned in a wood not surprisingly named Coed y Garreg.  This hill is situated to the west of Chwitffordd (Whitford) in the north-eastern part of Wales.

Aled parked his van on a grass verge next to a minor road at SJ 129 787, and we headed to the adjacent field where a 12ft high stone monolith is situated, this is named Maen Achwyfan.  This stone structure has carvings similar to those found in Celtic tradition on its sides and is capped by a wheelcross, reputedly the tallest structure of its kind in Britain.  It stands in a field, next to a minor road and is protected by railings.

Information board which is positioned next to the access gate

The impressive Maen Achwyfan

It is another structure that I did not know existed and I’m thankful to Aled for taking me to see it.  We approached over a fence, not knowing that an access gate exists, which we found when heading back to the road.  As we walked toward the stone structure the grey cloud behind framed it in a spectacular display as wave upon wave of cloud formed gently fluctuating patterns.

Historians have never positively dated Maen Achwyfan although it is thought to date to around 1000 A.D.  Its purpose is also questionable, but again, it is thought to be a Lamentation Stone.

Leaving the monolith behind we used the gate as access on to the lane and then a foot stile to gain access on to the opposing field whose footpath led up through water clagged ground to the corner of a wood, where a good path led to the impressive tower which is positioned on the summit area of Garreg Mountain.

Approaching the summit of Garreg Mountain

The round stone tower is thought by some to be a Roman lighthouse to help navigate ships on the Afon Dyfrdwy (River Dee) estuary.  Others think it a Watchtower built in the 17th century.  Whatever its history it underwent extensive repair by Llewelyn Baron Mostyn in 1897 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the reign of Queen Victoria.

The tower is placed in a clearing with scrub undergrowth and woodland surrounding it; I assessed the lay of land at its base and found that the high point of the hill is approximately 4 metres from its base.  A slight breeze blew as I positioned the Trimble on top of my rucksack to give it elevation above the surrounding ground and I wedged my camera case at its base to cushion it against the increasing breeze.

Gathering data at the summit of Garreg Mountain

Sometimes it's good to be a bit mad!  Photo: Aled Williams

Once data were gathered I closed it off, packed it away and we retraced our steps down to the awaiting van.  It had proved an interesting day on the hill with Neolithic mounds, ancient barrows, stone monoliths and supposed Roman lighthouses all visited.

Survey Result:

Summit Height:  247.1m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 13361 78264

Drop:  c 53m

Dominance:  21.45%

For further details please consult the Trimble survey spreadsheet click {here}

1 comment:

Alex Cameron said...

Seems like you had an entertaining day. There's really plenty of interest to be found in the Clwydians north of the A55. Very much a forgotten corner between England and Snowdonia.