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Cerrig Bwlch y Fedw Stone Circle


 CPAT 2012, photo 3331-0001

A programme of detailed survey and trial excavation was undertaken on the site of a small stone circle at Cerrig Bwlch y Fedw, near Llandrillo in southern Denbighshire, with funding from Cadw. The Dee valley around Llandrillo and the surrounding uplands contains an unusual concentration of important prehistoric funerary and ritual monuments, including the stone circle at Moel Ty-uchaf (SJ 0578 3726), which lies around 2km to the east of the village.

Right: The small stone circle at Cerrig Bwlch y Fedw CPAT 2012, photo 3331-0001

A second, small stone circle (SJ 0589 3615) was discovered by Ken Brassil of CPAT in the late 1980s, around 1km to the south-south-east of Moel Ty-uchaf. The stone circle lies at an altitude of 525m OD on the north-eastern side of Bwlch y Fedw, a minor col between Trum y Wern and Moel Pearce which together form a spur extending north-westwards from the Berwyn ridge.

The survey and excavation demonstrated that the small stone circle may originally have been formed by eight stones, of which only five remain upright, all of them well-set. The remaining stones consist of two large, recumbent slabs on the south side and two smaller stones on the north-east side which may have been fractured from a single slab. The damage to the stone circle appears to relate to a stream gully which bisects the eastern half of the circle from south to north, possibly having been deliberately excavated as a drain.

 CPAT 2012, photo 3331-0041

Right: Recording part of the stone circle CPAT 2012, photo 3331-0041

The circle has a diameter of roughly 5.1m, although the stones are not placed exactly on the circumference, nor are they equidistant. On the western side, which is best preserved, stones 2, 3 and 4 are placed at intervals of around 1.8m, while the distance between stones 1 and 2 is considerably greater at 2.5m. There is, however, no evidence that an intervening stone has been lost and it may be that this formed an entrance into the circle. The position of the recumbent stone 5 suggests that it fell to the north and may have also been placed at a distance of 1.8m to 2m from stone 4. The original position of stone 6 is uncertain, although the distance between stones 5 and 7 is such that it could also have been placed around 1.8m from either stone. Similarly, it is not possible to determine the position of the final stone, although here the gap between stones 1 and 7 again suggests a spacing of 1.8m to 2.0m.

The largest stone now standing is stone 1, which is 0.85m above the turf. Even though stone 5 measures 1.05m in length, in order for it to have been set firmly in the ground it is unlikely to have been taller than stone 1. The position of both of these stones may be significant with stone 1 on the north side and stone 5 to the south. Indeed, the view from the centre over stone 1 leads directly to the highest point of Moel Ty-uchaf, although this is 200m north-east of the stone circle of the same name.

plan

Left: Plan of the stone circle

None of the stones appears to have been deliberately quarried or worked, suggesting that the builders of the stone circle utilised whatever stone came readily to hand. The source may well have been a series of rocky outcrops around 120m to the west-south-west where there are numerous loose blocks of stone.


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