by Sandy Gerrard

It is more than a year since what Cadw call “that row of stones” on Mynydd y Betws was brought to the attention of those responsible for Welsh heritage.  In the intervening time two segments of the row have been “preserved by record” a brand new environmentally friendly road has been built and turbines have started popping up out of the heather.

Putting aside for the moment the controversy regarding the stone alignment and the archaeology that has (not) been preserved by record, this photograph illustrates rather well the threat facing archaeology in the “windy” uplands:

View from the south of the Banc Bryn prehistoric ceremonial landscape with the scheduled areas highlighted in red and the stone alignment in green.

View from the south of the Banc Bryn prehistoric ceremonial landscape with the scheduled areas highlighted in red and the stone alignment in green.

Despite complete agreement amongst archaeologists that this was a really important archaeological landscape the need for renewable energy was seen by planners as much more important than the setting of seven unproductive scheduled ancient monuments. Actually it goes further than setting – the so called “empty” spaces between the constituent parts of this ritual landscape are in some respects as significant as the features themselves and their loss means that this site will never be quite the same.  The proximity of the road and turbines to the scheduled areas highlights just what might happen to your favourite bit of moorland archaeology.

If you want to see for yourself the scale of the wind farm development on Mynydd y Betws click here for a recent aerial photograph. Enter SN 67711053 into the Grid Reference Box and explore the mountain for yourself.