Maen y Bardd (Featuring Cae Coch)

If we are to believe everything we are told then the area just south of Conway in North Wales should be a stone-chaser's paradise. Burnsie at Maen y BarddEven the most cursory glance at a map of the area west of the little village of Rowen situated off the B5106, should be enough to make one giddier than a poet on pay day! Standing stones, burial chambers, stone circles, forts, cairns and settlements are all squeezed into one tiny can you go wrong? Unfortunately things are not what they first appear for some of the ancient things listed are sadly no more than slight indentations or bumps on the ground, having suffered immeasurably in the millennia since their construction. Consequentially they are of little or no interest to your average chill seeker. So it's fortunate for you that I have identified the ones worth visiting with, so you don't have to waste time and effort trudging about only to find a brick sized stone half-hidden behind a tuffet of grass!

Perhaps the pick of the bunch is the delightful little burial chamber known as Maen y Bardd. Burnsie at Cae CochIt's also one of the easiest to find. Just follow the little road uphill out of Rowen, whereupon you will have to open and shut two gates and continue on until the road bends left to run parallel with a dry stone wall. Leave your car and a short walk to the right following the dry stone wall, takes you to the stones. On your way be sure to check out the impressive single standing stone known as Cae Coch, which is easily visible from the path just up the hill to your left. Having expended all that energy you will also want to take a breather and admire the view, which is quite spectacular. Maen y Bardd is a little further along on about the same alignment as Cae Coch.

This Neolithic burial chamber isn't the largest you will see but it does it's very best to make up for its lack of bulk with oodles of charm. It's beautifully proportioned consisting of four uprights and a large capstone and commands a great position in the landscape. Of course it's covering has long since disappeared but nevertheless Maen y Bardd is a lovely little site that I heartily recommend. You may have to share it with a few sheep and it's a bit exposed but the view and the stones themselves are tremendous.