The Standing Stone
at Cefn Cnwcheithinog
Cefn Cnwcheithinog is the name of a ridge rather than a peak situated in the Cambrian Mountain range in mid Wales with the nearest town being Tregaron. The walk starts at Nant Gwernog farm grid reference SN 739516 and is approached from the village of Llanddewi Brefi by an impressive six mile drive along a single carriage maintain road. The road has been improved from what was a metalled cart track and there is parking where the road ends and hard track begins.
The map you need for this area is either the Landranger 1:50,000 No 146 or the preferred Explorer 1:25,000 No 187. To increase or decrease the OS map below simply click on the + or – signs or drag the bar with a mouse. The easiest way to move the map is to click and hold down the left mouse button and drag the map to where you want it so you can follow the circular route of the walk.
A Circular Walk
Starting and finishing at Nant Gwernog farm via Cefn Cnwcheithinog left up the Doethie valley to Maes y Betws then left again over the col or bwlch between Bryn Mawr and Pen Rhiwclochdy then down Nant Gwernog to finish. Distance about 9.5 miles, with approx 1,500 feet of ascent and to be safe allow about 6 hours, there are reasons for this which I will explain later. However, the walk to the standing stone is only a 3.75 mile round trip which is nothing more than a 2 hour gentle stroll.
The route is very simple you carry on up the valley due south east on the track past Bryn Ambor farm, the track is fairly recent and given the right to roam everyone uses it leaving the public right of way to disappear in the tall grass. When you reach the stone there is an incredible feeling of isolation and yet there is a sense of not being alone, the stone does have an energy that I could feel from about 3 inches away1. This is definitely the place to go if you want to get away from it all to think things over. Yet it is also easily accessible, provided you stay on the track navigation to and from the stone is not a problem.
The site is not of any importance however, it was part of many Neolithic communities in the area the most significant of which is Cefn Gwenffrwd2 that is in the trees on the ridge to the right of the picture just past the the last mound in the tree line. Surveys and investigation into this site also reveal some interesting information about Cefn Cnwcheithinog.
Moving on the track drops steeply at Troed Rhiw Cymmer to reveal a beautiful view of the lower Doethie valley and the cliffs of Craig Ddu. You can see the path I was to take on the opposing hillside. Once on the valley floor the track is joined by the path from the left although it is difficult to find, as it’s such a long walk not many hikers come this far. The only people I saw were mountain bikers covered in mud on a circuit from nearby Lynne Brianne they carried dire warnings of boggy terrain but as I had previously walked the valley I already knew this.
The walk up the valley is a very gentle ascent but the boggy ground makes it hard work and time consuming which is why it takes so long. The valley starts off quite steep and narrow to then opens wider and boggier, there is evidence of the fact that people once lived here as I past a derelict building and another that looked as if it had been a farmhouse or small holding complex many centuries ago just north west of Foel Fraith.
Past the farmhouse the path widens into an old track much of which has fallen down the hillside and the valley steepens again, and then green pastures greet the eye as a sign that the head of the valley is near. The path meets a hard track that leads to Ty’n Y Cornell Youth Hostel, which we take but then turn off at Maes Y Betws which is another derelict farmhouse.The path disappears leaving it to your judgement as to the best way across more boggy ground to a wooded foot bridge across the Afon Doethie.
Once crossed you are then confronted with a steep deforested area that has desecrated any sign of a pathway, loose ground and debris make walking difficult but once at the top of the hill there is a hard forestry track that is easy walking. The path marked on the map has disappeared under the long grass and it would in any case be very difficult to walk. At last is the welcome sight of the car in the distance just above the farm building at Nant Gwernog, only trouble is that it does not seem to get any closer! While its only 9.5 miles it felt more like 15 at a brisk pace. If you are a keen cyclist with a suitable bike you could get around this route in an clockwise direction.
A rather strenuous but highly enjoyable walk, the spiritual feeling being at the standing stone plus the exercise and clear sunny sky made this seriously feel good therapy3.
More pictures here: http://www.thenewageblog.com/lightworkers/cefn-cnwcheithinog-wales/
About the Author
Trevor Mayes is owner of the New Age Blog and Colour Therapist with an interest in Neolithic Spiritual Sites and Ecotherapy
1. Read this for more information on monoliths http://www.thenewageblog.com/auras-and-life-energy-electrical-charge-of-a-human-body/
. The authors website is here http://www.miroslavprovod.com/
Needless to say he is dismissed by many.
2. For more information on Cefn Gwenffrwd read this report http://www.cambria.org.uk/projects/cefngwernffrwdsurvey2007.pdf
3. Ecotherapy – Healing with the Colours of Nature. There are several reasons why this is seriously good therapy.
There is the endorphin effect that you get from exercise that gives you a natural high, but this can also be obtained from an emotional and I assume a spiritual experience. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorphin.
Walking is a spiritual experience for many, the increased flow of blood through the brain gives you greater thinking power increasing intuitive ability free from the pressures of the world.
The colours of nature have both a physiological and psychological effect, green fields are physically calming inducing a feeling of peace and harmony with the environment. However, the predominant red in the tan and brown of long grass and trees is a complementary colour that fires us up for physical energy.
There is no better general tonic than full spectrum sunlight, plus the blue sky on a clear day is mentally calming and emotionally healing. One of the main benefits of blue sky is the abundance of high frequency ultraviolet light, this balances minor chakras at the back of the head and curl of the hair to give an added lift.
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