Sunday, 31 May 2009

Gwal Y Filiast, Carmarthenshire

(Click photos to enlarge).

The dolmem - or cromlech - of Gwal Y Filiast is quite well hidden away just outside of the small village of Llanglydwen in Carmarthenshire. To reach it you have to take a walk down a muddy track for about 10 minutes or so and take a turn into the woods.

It's very easy to get yourself lost whilst looking for this site. My father and I tried finding it one day during the Christmas holidays and ended up going too far and following the river and surrounding woodland for hours. We still managed to take a wrong turning today when we visited, although we knew the rough direction this time and soon got back on track.

Gwal Y Filiast - the name translates as Lair of the She-Wolf or Lair of the Grey Hound Bitch (not greyhound but grey hound - literally a hound that is grey - a wolf) - seems unusual for such a burial chamber being located in this setting beneath the trees.

The dolmen is at the epicentre of a ring a beech trees, while several other stones which may once have been part of the greater structure are scattered around the site. The dolmen itself consists of a huge capstone - easily 10 feet in length and 3 to 4 feet in thickness - balanced on four uprights, and there are a pair of smaller stones set in the ground at one end.

This is a really atmospheric site, which is in no doubt enhanced by its surroundings on the wooded slope above the river Taf. It is a little off the beaten track and is unlikely to be visited by casual tourists, who would be far more likely to head for somewhere better known in the general area such as Pentre Ifan. I think they are missing out! Remember to consult a map if you want to visit and wear walking boots or wellies!

Date visited: 31 May 2009.

See also: Gwal Y Filiast on The Megalithic Portal
Gwal Y Filiast on The Modern Antiquarian

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Portchester Castle, Hampshire

(Click photos to enlarge).

Portchester Castle, which sits overlooking the eastern end of Portsmouth Harbour, is a medieval castle, palace and former Roman fort.

It all seems so much bigger once you get inside the inner walls of the main castle.

Pictured below is one of the castle's current residents.

St Mary's Church (below), dating back to Norman times, sits in the south east corner of the complex within the outer castle walls.

Here is another photo looking down at the ruins from on top of the keep, which is a whole lot higher than it first appears to be!

Proof that graffitti is no modern phenomenon.

All in all, this is a very nicely kept site and is well worth the admission fee. Like Doctor Who's TARDIS, it's a lot bigger on the inside than you may at first think. Personally, I didn't care for the audio tour (which is included as part of your admission fee), finding the actors doing silly voices extremely tedious, and I also prefer to make my own way around at my own pace and not have the tour dictated by a piece of technology. However, it may appeal to you, especially if you want a potted history. The other alternative is to read up about the history separately.

Date visited: 21 May 2009

See also: Portchester Castle
A Guide to Portchester Castle
An Interactive Guide to Portchester Castle