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Gors Fawr stone circle (SN135294) stands on a small moor beneath the Preseli Hills.  Gors Fawr in Welsh means ‘great marsh’, and the moor is indeed a wilderness of gorse bushes and reeds with sheep grazing the short turf.  The stones themselves are small almost indistinguishable from the sheep when viewed from afar.   N.P.Figgis (Prehistoric Preseli) says this small stone circle has 16 ‘squat’’ stones, they are of “spotted dolerite (bluestone-type), unspotted dolerite and undetermined rock, all of which occur as local erratics”.

  

The great jagged rocky outcrop of Carn Meyn crowning the Preseli hills in the distance may be  the focus of the circle  Two stones stand at a distance from the circle, and it is said that these two stones, about 50 feet apart, are aligned on the midwinter sunset, or the midsummer sunrise, but these are assumptions, and Figgis says these two stones may not  directly link back to the Gors Fawr circle but may have another relationship with the patterning of the landscape.

But if you look hard enough you may also see a faint path from the stones  back to the circle,  According to Figgis it is said that at the “beginning of the 20th century an Avenue was said to lead back to the circle“, there are traces still but this could be imagination working overtime.  The southernmost stone of the circle is said to line up midpoint through the two stones to the outcrop of Carn Meyn; presumed home and quarry of the Stonehenge bluestones, though this has not been proved either way and remains a great source of academic conflict.

What else lies on this moor, well there is the bluestone brought down by helicopter in 1980, it stands surrounded by smaller stones and can be found on the other side of the moor, near to the parking area (SN 127 308)  that is at the beginning of the track way that will lead you to the Carn Meyn outcrop.

This track way meanders over the hummocky moorland grasses, hidden streams and small rocky outcrops with sheep and horses as your only companions.   When you reach the first ridge, look down to your left for the ‘horseshoe’ settings of stones called Bedd Arthur that is similar to the settings of stones within the Stonehenge circle. Photographs of Bedd Arthur can be seen on The Modern Antiquarian here.

Perhaps finally mention should be made of the memorial stone to Waldo Williams, he is said to be one of the finest 20th century Welsh language poets who spent his childhood in the village of Mynachlog-ddu which is just a couple of miles south from Gors fawr.  The plaque is ugly on the stone, but is a reminder of where he grew up and what influenced his poetry, his most famous translated poem ‘Two Fields’ echoes the sombre feel of the Welsh landscape. 

The poem is given in full, for it captures the essence of the timelessness of the landscape, we cannot know for sure whether the bluestones were taken to Stonehenge, only that the great high ridgeway of the Presili hills would be the travelling place of the Neolithic people from Ireland down to the far west.

ref; N.P.Figgis – Prehistoric Preseli (a field guide) ISBN 1 89979306 2.  An essential book for discovering the prehistory of the Preseli Hills and surrounding district.

Two Fields By Waldo Williams

Those fields – I’ve walked across them – they are
Extraordinary fields, though inaccessible to the seeker
After transcendence this is no loss for the page
Holds them in view and they extend into the margins
Between field hedges and the nets of the Hunter

In many places and times where time
Is arrested and held captive by a tether
Of stillness long enough to feel chastened by silence.
Sunlight touches a wall on a summer afternoon,
Shadows enclose a moment which passes from forever

To forever: Such blessings are felt to be precious.
But hearing beyond them voices calling in a common
Tongue of work and worship echoing through centuries,
And knowing that they witness this moment
When all is still, so that being alone

Is to be with them, resonates beyond solitude.
Voices heard in the echoes of whistling lapwings
Tremble to life over empty meadows; each hand,
Each tongue unique in the passing of time yet fused
In a moment making one of many things.

The Wiltshire Heritage Museum will be hosting a Family Day entitled Ancient Britons from 11:00am on Sunday, 27 February 2011. Linked to the forthcoming BBC series, Ancient Briton, this Family Day will have activities for all the family.

More here –
http://www.wiltshireheritage.org.uk/events/index.php?Action=2&thID=599&prev=1
and here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00xchyf

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