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The Four Stones are situated in the centre of the Radnor Valley or Walton Basin in Powys, an area surrounded by hills and exceptionally rich in prehistoric heritage including two cursuses, six standing stones and the largest neolithic enclosure in Britain. Small wonder that the area attracted the attention of Alfred Watkins and indeed the monument and its surroundings were central to the development of his theories about ley lines.

Watkins suggested that six lines could be drawn from The Four Stones and he was particularly impressed by one he believed could be drawn from the Stones up to the churchyard of St Stephen’s in Old Radnor…..

The church and churchyard contain several features that have been cited as pointing to possible pre-christian usage including a massive font hewn from an erratic bolder that some say may have been used in prehistory, traces of a round churchyard and possible standing stones built into its boundary wall. Most intriguing of all is this stone, carved as a gravestone in the twentieth century but of unknown previous origin.

Nowadays there’s no direct line of sight from that stone to The Four Stones down in the valley as a modern house has been built at the crucial point. It is quite likely there could have been previously though – here is the view from a few yards nearer the church….

The trouble is, considerable zoom had to be used on that image and “in the flesh” you would need the eyes of a hawk to spot the monument – even if there were no intervening trees (which is quite an assumption in itself). The essence of the theories proposed by Watkins (the original ones, not the New Age interpretations!) was that sites could be seen, one from another. However, while St Stephen’s church can certainly be easily seen from The Stones it’s less certain that any prehistoric structures around it would have been – and it is clear to all who look that The Stones themselves would be very hard to spot in the opposite direction.





July 2012

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