Magic seeps toward Llyn Tegid shore from the lake, shrouded in legend and lore and rich in Mabinogian mystery. If you listen closely, you can hear the weeping of Ceridwen and the cries from the horses of Gwyddno Garanhir.
If you have ever climbed to the stone circle of Moel Ty Uchaf high above the Dee Valley and looked across the valley you may have made out the stone cicle called Tyfos Uchaf lying on the north-west just above the flood plain .
It has been suggested that the site was originally a round barrow which over time has been denuded to the form which we seen now , that of a ring of stones which appear to form a stone circle (Bowen and Gresham 1967). There does appear to be the remains of a bank associated with the stone circle
Thirteen stones remain forming a circle approximately 17 metres in diameter . It’s possible that as many or more stones have been removed from the site over time
The stones are on a level platform above the ground surface around 28 metres across . The area of the monument extends further than first meets the eye and resembles the mound of a cairn at this point. The exact function of the circle is unclear but it is likely to have had a funerary /ritual purpose
It is possible to view the distant site of Moel Ty Uchaf from near here and this raises the question as to whether the two monuments were contemporary and if so was there a relationship between the sites and the people who constructed them ? It is possible that the River was a natural boundary between the sites and also the social groups who built them , one circle on the high ground and nearly directly opposite the stone circle on the valley floor . Both Tyfos and Moel Yy Uchaf may have had a central cist . Lack of formal excavations renders interpretation and function unclear
There may have been a ceremonial, ritual and social significance behind the location and construction of the two monuments and a survey of the associated and surrounding sites may help construct a theory as to why the builders chose these locations over 4000 years ago if these circles are to be assigned to the Bronze Age .
OS reference SJ028388 Landranger Map Number: 125
Gwerclas cairn has never , as far as we know been excavated therefore classification has largely depended on a series of observations and surveys . Despite having been lately identified as a Bronze Age round Barrow it displays all the features of having been constructed at some time during the Neolithic period .
It appears to be what in archaeological terms is called a Chambered Tomb – a Long Barrow
The long Barrows were funerary monuments of the Neolithic . The chambers of the barrows were often covered by capstones and burials were deposited over a period sometimes over a thousand years . They sometimes show evidence of ceremonial and ritual use .Excavations elsewhere have shown that fires were lit outside the tombs and deposits of animal and human bone have been discovered in a ‘ritual’ context .
Gwerclas is a large , long mound which is somewhat denuded through the activity of erosion and farming over a long period
The kerbstones above indicate the entrance may have been in this area of the body of the cairn.
The location of the Gwerclas tomb is interesting . The monument lies near to the River Dee and a historic crossing point .Views to the river from the cairn indicate that the River was possibly a focal point for the tomb builders .
A possible Neolithic ceremonial cursus monument has been identified across the Dee from Gwerclas at SJ06204343 and is known as the Corwen Cursus . The cursus runs for approximately 120 metres on a SSW-NNE alignment. The ditches are around 27m apart and there is a ring ditch close to the northern end.
The burial site may have been somehow linked to the cursus in some way although any theories have to be conjectural in the light of an excavation evidence which links the two .
The implications for a developed ritual landscape in this area are the focus for further research.
OS Reference : SJ05394213
One of our favourite places ,high above the beautiful landscape of the Dee Valley is the stone Circle Moel Ty Uchaf. Meet at Hendwr Bridge at 11.30 . Suitable footwear and outdoor clothing is essential.
OS reference :SJ 05613717. The circle consists of 41 surviving stones and is around 12 meters across.
CADVAS Walk to Moel Ty Uchaf
Moel Ty Uchaf is thought to date to the Bronze Age . It is presumed that the monument was the focus for significant ceremonial and ritual activity . Lack of evidence from any excavations on the monument hamper further analysis , however the surrounding landscape reveals possible funerary monuments in the form of at least two cairns and at least four possible cists. A platform is clearly identifiable down slope south of the stone circle
The raised , circular platform cairn identifiable as belonging to the Bronze Age . It is around 16 metres in diameter and may have once consisted of a ring bank of stone with a surrounding kerb . At some point the centre of the cairn was filled with stones to form a level platform . These monuments are thought to be ceremonial/ritual and sometimes funerary monuments . In other areas excavations have revealed cremations have been placed within the circles and then covered by the platforms at sometime in the history of the monument .
The platform cairn is found at OS reference :SJ 0564537112
CPAT have produced a detailed walk around the area which takes in most of the sites which we will be visiting in the future .Details can be found at this link http://www.cpat.org.uk/walks/moeltyuchaf.pdf
As you walk around this landscape look out for the large amounts of quartz which is incorporated in the ceremonial and burial monuments . The use of quartz is frequently found in a ritual context throughout Britain and Ireland from prehistory to the present day