Cairns, Standing Stones or Trig. Points – I will happily trek miles on Shank’s Pony to search them out. If you want to follow in my footsteps over land or through cyberspace, these are my recent visits.
CARN GIWC AND CEFN HIRGOED TRIG. POINT
From the Designer Outlet at J36 on the M4, cross the busy A4061 and take the road towards HMP Parc. Pass the prison on your right and after about 100m you’ll come to a T junction. Go left to cross the motorway flyover bridge and within about 20m you’ll see a public footpath signpost on the right. Follow the track towards Carn Giwc and Cefn Hirgoed Trig. Point. The carn is a scheduled ancient monument but not much is known about its origins. In old Welsh, ‘ciwc’ meant to peep or to spy and if you’re at this point on a clear day you could see how the carn could have been a defensive outpost for the nearby Coity Castle: there are clear views north to the Blaenau Ridge where there was much resistance to the Norman invasion. On the other hand, it’s possible that the carn was named for St Ciwc (son of St Canna) a local Celtic saint in the 6th Century. Look to the north east and the ridge is called Blaen Ciwc; it leads to the valley Cwm Ciwc and the stream Nant Ciwc. The village that can be seen on the plain below is Heol y Cyw and whilst its name might have other meanings, Cyw could equally be a corruption of Ciwc.
PEN Y FOEL
This translates to the ‘Bald Summit’ and when you get here you can see why. Leave the car park in the historical village of Llangeinor and take the track that leads north. Crumbling dry stone walls soon end to give way to vast open moorlands. Keep to the track and after about a mile you’ll come to Pen y Foel trig. point.
MYNYDD Y GAER
Part of Coety Walia Commons and high on the ridge above the village of Blackmill. Cross the A4061 at The Fox & Hounds pub and follow the lane on the south side of the bridge. Climb the steps, turn left and at the junction take the road on the right. Within a few metres a track leads off on the left heading for the smallholding called Caner Bach. There are well marked trails onto the mountain. Mynydd y Gaer is said to mark an ancient hill fort. The trig. point is on a piece of ground called Mynwent y Milwyr , which is supposedly the burial ground of soldiers killed in a battle with the invading Romans. It is said that no bracken grows in the area because of the blood that was spilt.
CARN YR HYRDDOD
It took two attempts to get to this carn and trig. point. In March I left Parc Calon Lan in Blaengarw and followed the track which goes from the iron gate in the lane behind Gwendoline Street. Waymark posts lead up the steep slopes onto the mountain. What had been spring sunshine in the valley below turned into near white out conditions as I closed on the ridgeway and I had to abort this attempt.
By July however things had calmed down and apart from dealing with hordes of horseflies, I managed to get to Carn yr Hyrddod (bronze age mound and trig. point) as well as see the near ruined pillar at Y Werfa.