A guest post by Heritage Action founder member, ‘Goffik’.

OK. Here’s a complete flight of fantasy and wishful thinking…

On a recent trip to North Wales, which included a disappointing lack of visits to ancient stones (but was a glorious holiday anyway!), I found myself paying attention to the multitude of seemingly random, or recently placed stones which graced our journeys.

Some of the stones made me wonder if they had any provenance in antiquity.

For example: along the Rhyl promenade, opposite the bright lights and sounds of the arcades, and backing onto the beach, are a group of recumbent boulders. Although I’m almost certain they’ve been placed there in recent times, I can’t help but think there was a deliberate effort to make them appear to be the remains of a ruined megalithic site.

What do you think? http://is.gd/KXL7he (Google Streetview link)

And – dammit – I can’t find the modern megalith I passed frequently along the same road. A 20ft (guess) slab of slate (again – guess) outside, as I recall, a bowling alley. It’s not uncommon, as signage goes these days, to use a stone to inscribe the name of the business upon, but at the base of this particular one is a lichen-covered boulder which – in a different context – could easily – speculatively – be considered as part of an ancient monument! I seem to remember several other boulders just behind it, to add to the fantasy…

However, further still, along the modern-megalithic promenade, is a wonderful stone circle… This circle is well documented – built, as it was, for the Eisteddfod – so there is no confusion as to its antiquity, although it would appear to have changed over the years, as witnessed by these two photographs: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2665024 and http://rhyl-life.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/stones.html

We saw another fine example of a modern Eisteddfod stone circle on a visit to Llandudno, and Great Orme. At the foot of the hill, not far from the cable car, is Happy valley – a beautiful, completely man-made (or at least enhanced) wooded garden, for want of a better description – and it deserves a better one! 🙂 In an open area at the bottom is the circle, which was constructed in 1963 for the aforementioned Eisteddfod. It is visible from various viewpoints, including the cable car, footpaths, the road and the pier. If you have good eyesight.

Although the web has much better images of the circle, these are mine, first as taken from the cable car as it passed overhead:

Llandudno circle © G. Orriss

Llandudno circle © G. Orriss

And another, taken at ground level this time.

Llandudno circle © G. Orriss

Llandudno circle © G. Orriss

 

On our way home, we took a diversion through Llangollen, and discovered yet ANOTHER Eisteddfod circle! This time in the grounds of Plas Newydd. Constructed for the 1908 Eisteddfod, it is located between beautiful architecture and topiaries. It also has the added bonus of a faux cromlech in the centre!

Plas Newydd circle © G. Orriss

Plas Newydd circle © G. Orriss

We’d not planned to visit any of these places beforehand and so had no idea that we were going to see anything like it! Therefore we hadn’t swotted up on any info surrounding them, so it was all a pleasant surprise.

Even though Wales is absolutely stuffed with genuine prehistoric remains, each of these places is well worth a visit – we’ll definitely be spending more time at each of them. Especially, I suspect, Plas Newydd. And Great Orme.