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The Ancient Sacred Sites Of Wales: Mysterious ‘Druids’ Circle’

People voted for the most beautiful countries in the world and Wales was 10th!

In 2017 according to Lonely Planet’s annual Best in Travel list Wales has been named among the top places in the world to visit and you might agree, Wales is absolutely stunning.  It has breathtaking rugged mountains and miles of beautiful coastline, and also there are masses of unusual museums and historic sites.

I have been visiting this hidden paradise for the last 20 years and recently end up settle down here with my wife. We absolutely fall in love in its diverse beauty and friendly environment.

The Ancient Sacred Sites Of Wales: Mysterious ‘Druids’ Circle'Top of the hill, our classic G&K selfie

Prehistoric sites

Every corner of Wales has something to discover: prehistoric sites, crumbling castles and wild landscapes  – we are very keen to share our unique experiences with passionate travellers around the world.

Throughout the world one can come across enigmatic standing stones, some of them arranged in a circle or ellipse. There are few well known stone circles in Wales, they are much smaller than in England, but they are just as mysterious. One of those remarkable sites appeared to be located a half an hour driving from he place we live.

This wonderful and evocative stone circle, considered one of the finest examples in Britain, forms part of a complex of ancient monuments on moorland above the town of Penmaenmawr.

Travel tips:Exact location: South of Penmaenmawr, Gwynedd, Wales / Off the A55 / SH723 746

Exit the A55 at Penmaenmawr Roundabout, follow Conwy Road to Penmaenmawr town centre and Car Park at Y Berllan. 

The Druids’ Circle

This beautiful walk  climbs the steep escarpment behind Penmaenmawr into the north-eastern end of the Carneddau range. The route takes you back 5,000 years in time and of course includes a notable Druid’s Stone Circle. On a bright sunny day there is a great enjoyment for both trekking and photography.

If you like make a stop at Jubilee Pillars where you’ll find a picnic table to sit down and enjoy the coastal views from.

The Ancient Sacred Sites Of Wales: Mysterious ‘Druids’ Circle'These pillars were built in 1888 to mark the opening of the Jubilee Path.

Don’t follow the Jubilee path, instead turn right and follow a steep gravel track, that hugs the edge of Foel Lus on your left. Walk up the track towards a large white marker stone, giving directions for the Huw Tom Upland Walk, Druid stone circle and other routes.

The Ancient Sacred Sites Of Wales: Mysterious ‘Druids’ Circle'There are good views of the Great Orme, Puffin Island and Anglesey as you climb up this path, and there are a couple of wooden seats where the views can be savoured.

The Ancient Sacred Sites Of Wales: Mysterious ‘Druids’ Circle'Magnificent views draw the eye inland to the mountains and across the bay to Anglesey
The Ancient Sacred Sites Of Wales: Mysterious ‘Druids’ Circle'Another amazing view from the top of the hill
The Ancient Sacred Sites Of Wales: Mysterious ‘Druids’ Circle'Some of the wild horses living on the mountains above Penmaenmawr.

Take the route to Meini Hirion (Long Stones), which forks to the right, before passing a large standing stone and an isolated cottage, Bryn Derwedd. From Bryn Derwedd the path follows the stone boundary wall for a short way before veering away from the wall toward the coast and fronting Cefn Coch.

A beautiful ancient monuments soon comes into view.

Y Meini Hirion (The ‘Druids’ Circle) is situated on a grassy saddle on the Cefn Coch ridge at an altitude of 1,300 feet above sea level, and at the junction of two trackways. Only ten of the original thirty stones have survived and they are nearly 6 feet in height.

The Ancient Sacred Sites Of Wales: Mysterious ‘Druids’ Circle'The circle consists of 30 stones, 11 of which are still standing, set into the inner edge of a low embankment about 35 metres in diameter.
The Ancient Sacred Sites Of Wales: Mysterious ‘Druids’ Circle'A tentative date of 1450–1400 BC was proposed for the construction of the Meini Hirion, which would place them in the Bronze Age, though it was acknowledged at the time that it could be much older, dating from 3000 BC

Travel tips: It is a bit steep walk uphill from the centre of Penmaenmawr at the start of the walk, but from then on it is easy walking, either on level ground or downhill. The ground can be very boggy in parts and a few small streams need fording so good walking boots are essential. Compass and OS map will not go amiss. 

The central area was originally paved with white quartz. Although damaged by quarrying the eatern part of the circle is intact.

There are two special stones in this circle. One of them is called the Deity Stone and it was once held in considerable awe. People used to say that if anyone used bad language near the stone, it would bend its head and hit the offending person.

Immediately opposite is the Stone of Sacrifice, on top of which is a cavity large enough to hold a small child. There was once a belief that if a child was placed in this cavity for a few minutes during the first year of his life it would always be lucky.

The Ancient Sacred Sites Of Wales: Mysterious ‘Druids’ Circle'A large cavity on the top of the stone, according to belief if a child was placed in this cavity for a few minutes during the first year of his life it would always be lucky.

It is also said that horrible cries are sometimes heard from that Stone of Sacrifice and on stormy nights, moaning and sobbing sound louder than the wind.

An excavation in the 1950s revealed in the centre of the circle a cist covered with a capstone. Beneath it the cremated remains of a child approximately eleven years of age were found…

After long walk we usually look for lovely place to have lunch, this time we decided to drive down to Bangor, small coastal city in North Wales, famous with its University and historical pier.

Bangor’s long wooden pier reaches over halfway across the width of the Menai Strait, making the end of the pier closer to Anglesey than the mainland. This is a lovely old-fashioned, simple pier, with no amusement arcade, and only a couple of tiny cafes. The views across to the mountains are majestic, especially on a clear day or towards sunset.

The Ancient Sacred Sites Of Wales: Mysterious ‘Druids’ Circle'At 1,500 feet in length, Bangor pier is the second-longest pier in Wales, and the ninth longest in the British Isles.

A Japanese and Asian Noodle bar Noodle One, our favourite dining place in Bangor, attracts locals and visitors alike. If you stop here for lunch or dinner you wont regret it.  Simply if you love Asian cuisine this is the place to go.

The Ancient Sacred Sites Of Wales: Mysterious ‘Druids’ Circle'Noodle One is paradise for Asian cuisine lovers

There are a lot of the places in Wales that we already cover in depth, we are looking  forward to share it with you in our next publications. There is lots more content coming.

Photography © Gurcan Sarisoy

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