New ideas in religion and architecture
These two monuments, nestling in the hills 2 ½ miles inland from Llanaber, form part of the prehistoric landscape of Gwynedd and are believed to be around 5000 years old. The southern tomb is the larger of the two, around 40 metres (150 feet) in length with a large and intact burial chamber up to 2.5 metres (9 feet) high. The tomb is thought to have been modified repeatedly, suggesting that it was in use over a long period of time. The smaller, northern tomb is less well preserved and is a cairn in the style typical of the Severn-Cotswold region, something of a rarity in this part of Wales.
The southern cairn once had a very impressive portal dolmen, but this has now collapsed, save for one upright which remains standing. The antiquary Thomas Pennant, writing in the 1780s, states that the tomb had two overlapping capstones supported by three upright slabs of rock; it was then in use as a shepherd’s hut, complete with fireplace. Despite the modifications, it has been confidently identified as having originally been built as a lateral chamber in the Severn-Cotswold style; the form was then adapted to incorporate the longer established portal dolmen tradition more common to this part of Gwynedd. Such developments are of great interest to archaeologists as they suggest the widespread introduction of new religious and architectural ideas into the local community in this part of Ardudwy.
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Good Walks Nearby
Site is near Egryn Abbey (National Trust) between Tal-y-Bont and Llanaber and is on A496 Harlech to Barmouth road.
Harlech - 7 1/2 miles
Tal-y-Bont stop - 1 mile
Tal-y-Bont, Capel Egryn bus stop
On-road cycle route, Route 8 Lôn Las Cymru A496
Follow track / path from Egryn Abbey up hill. Where slope levels off follow path for visible aerial ropeway. Monument near field wall
An uphill mountain walk and boggy path (approx. 1 hour). Walking boots and suitable clothing recommended. OS map required. Dogs should be on lead. Parking on road at Capel Egryn.
Full Figure Grid Reference SH 613205
OS Landranger map sheet: 124
- Carneddau Hengwm, Llanaber