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It’s actually quite easy to forgive the surroundings, a near-derelict military camp just East of Crickhowell, as this stone has a self-contained charm of its own that allows it to blend in perfect harmony with an adjacent tree and keeps your eye from straying to the adjacent MoD squalor.

Someone called Stegnest said it very well on The Modern Antiquarian website in 2002: “There is something here that discards its modern and unfortunate circumstances and imposes its own time.”

It’s not instantly clear these days why the stone was placed here on what was and is a flat and featureless flood plain of the River Usk, but if you paint out the buildings from your consciousness it seems clearer, perhaps. There are distant hills in every direction, the Black Mountains to the North and the Brecon Beacons to the South, forming a full circle of peaks. Which of them, if any, were considered auspicious by those who first erected the stone? Who knows? Perhaps they all were.

It’s good to report that the damage to the stone that was being caused by a notice affixed to it by officialdom has all but disappeared. Now you can hardly tell it was ever there, save for the holes that were drilled for the screws. A few years ago a long-haired rock star, Julian Cope, visited here and was upset to see the damage. Luckily the notice accidentally came away in his hands and has never been replaced. One day he’ll leave quite a legacy, but maybe that will be his most long-lasting work. By quite a large margin.

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