Reading the Neolithic landscape
No one knows for sure how old this site is, but it is believed to represent one of the earliest Neolithic settlements in Wales.
The Carneddau estate, of which this is part, contains over a thousand ancient monuments. This suggests that the area was extensively settled, probably by Neolithic farmers who cleared the native forests of oak and birch to grow crops and raise livestock. Today feral goats, descendants of these animals, still clamber along the rough crags of the Glyderau range in Snowdonia.
The Neolithic landscape can be difficult to recognise from ground level owing to its great age. The settlement is typical of others in this part of the world, comprising the remains of small round buildings set within irregular, non-terraced fields. These are thought to date to the Bronze Age, some 3000 years ago. A so-called ‘cairn cemetery’ survives on the south-western slopes of Moel Faban, along with three burial cairns at the summit. One of these cairns was excavated in 1869 and a collared urn of the middle Bronze Age was found (now in the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford).
A large boulder on the hill has been christened the ‘arrow stone’, as it is believed that the rough, incised circular depression it contains was caused by arrows being sharpened upon it. To the east of the hill, by the stream of the Ffryddlas, are the remains of a series of burnt mounds. It is thought these are the result of food being cooked by dropping heated stones into specially built small pools.
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Good Walks Nearby
From Carneddi Post Office head up Cilfoden Terrace
Bangor - 8 miles
Nearest bus stop Ysgol Penybryn
From cottages at end of Cilfoden continue up footpath, bearing right at mountain gate onto open hillside
Mountain footpaths. Walking boots required. Dogs must be on lead. OS map required.
Full Figure Grid Reference - Moel Faban: SH 636678, Cwm Ffrydlas SH 644684
OS Landranger map sheet: 115
- Moel Faban and Cwm Ffrydlas, Bethesda