Prehistoric site walks

by Alf Alderson, 22nd May 2017

The Borders are scattered with low-key ancient sites that are free to explore at your leisure. These walks take you to three, each with a fascinating tale of historical significance

While we can’t lay claim to a pagan structure on the same scale as Stonehenge, the Welsh Borders are nevertheless home to a wealth of prehistoric sites, from standing stones and stone circles to dolmens and hill forts.

Interest in these places peaks at summer solstice when it’s thought the midsummer sun brings their secrets to life. 

The three sites on which our walks are based all have their own fascinating pasts. Arthur’s Stone in Herefordshire is a Neolithic chambered tomb where legendary hero King Arthur is said to have slain a giant who left the impression of his elbows on one of the stones as he fell, while Mitchell’s Fold in Shropshire is a Bronze Age stone circle where the tallest stone stands close to the line of the southern moonrise. King Arthur supposedly withdrew Excalibur from one of the stones here.

Caer Drewyn, an Iron Age hill fort near Corwen, is unusual, as it has walls of stone rather than typical earth banks and ditches. Legend says that when Owain Gwynedd proclaimed himself King of Wales in the 12th century he gathered his forces here while he waited for the approach of Henry II’s English army. Two centuries later Owain Glyndwr gathered his army at Caer Drewyn to launch his revolt against the English crown.

Just click on the following route numbers for print-ready PDFs...

Route 1This walk takes you through the bucolic countryside of the Golden Valley with Arthur's Stone only appearing towards the end of your day out

Route 2Fine views of Shropshire's hills and dales en-route to the atmospheric Bronze Age stone circle of Mitchell's Fold

Route 3A short (but in places steep) hike up to Caer Drewyn hill fort above Corwen

Route inaccessible? If you find that any of the routes featured on walesandborders.com has become inaccessible in any way, do let us know so we can alert the necessary authorities on your behalf. You can email the Web Editor at webeditor@borderpublishing.com

For the full feature on prehistoric site walks, see the June 2017 issue of Welsh Border Life. For back issues, click here

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