Fonllech

Stone at SH 60147 31309 forming part of the Fonllech stone row. View from east.

A probable single row measuring 1898m long, including nine mainly large stones situated on a prominent ridge overlooking the sea. The row is orientated north east to south west and leads from a kerbed cairn. Another cairn stands close to the lower south western end of the row. There are a number of land and seascape reveals along its length.

Location

Wales Gwynedd Rest of Wales SH 61056 32454
Lat 52.87143405   Long -4.06591973

Map showing the location of Fonllech stone row

Fonllech stone row (Source: Bing Maps and fieldwork).

Characteristics

Type: Single Length: 1898m
No. of stones: 9 Size of stones: Only large
Orientation: 36° Altitude: 302m
Upper end: Cairn Lower end: Cairn
Straight (Yes or No)  : No Sea View: Yes
Context:  Cairns and prehistoric settlement
Notes: 8 stones leading between two cairns. Ninth stone stood on the northern side of the terminal cairn. Incorporated into a long distance prehistoric trackway.

Other Information

Public Access:  Yes
Land Status:
Scheduled Ancient Monument: ME057, ME058 and ME107

Interpretation

Category: Probable.  It is widely accepted that these stones were raised during the prehistoric period, although they are generally considered as route markers rather than forming part of a stone row.  The stone row interpretation is most probable because they form a line leading from one cairn to another, form part of a discrete cluster, meet the definition criteria for a stone row and offer a series of landscape reveals. The distance between the stones is not in itself a reason for doubting this interpretation, particularly it is highly likely that some (if not most) of the stones have been robbed.

Photographs

Plan showing the position of the numbered stones.

Stone 1 at SH 61056 32454. A large slab lying to the north of the eastern kerbed cairn may have represented the original upper end of the row.  The stone measures 2.16m long by 1.12m wide, 0.83m high and is orientated at 137°. View from north east (Scale 1m).

Stone 1 with kerbed cairn beyond. View from north (Scale 1m).

Stone 2 at SH 60938 32287. This stone measures 0.67m long by 0.53m wide , stands 1.02m high and is orientated at 80°. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 2. Dramatic sea views are availble from this spot (Scale 1m).

Stone 3. A large fallen slab at SH 60862 32228 may represent part of the row. This stone measures 1.3m long by 0.57m wide, is up to 0.4m high  The stone has probably fallen eastward as there appear to be trigger stones at its western end. View from north (Scale 1m).

Stone 4 at SH 60825 32180. This stone measures 0.95m long by 0.7m wide, stands 1.26m high and is orientated at 83°. View from the south west (Scale 1m).

Stone 4. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 4. View from north west.

Stone 5 at SH 60718 32048. This stone measures 0.9m long by 0.45m wide, stands 0.87m high and is orientated at 110°. View from ENE with stone 6 in the background (Scale 1m).

Stone 5. View from south west (Scale 1m).

Stone 5. View from west (Scale 1m).

Stone 6 at SH 60673 32035.  This stone measures 0.55m long by 0.23m wide, stands 1.05m high and is orientated at 24°.View from east.

Stone 6 in the foreground and stone 5 beyond. View from WSW (Scale 1m).

Stone 6 in the foreground and stone 5 beyond. View from south west (Scale 1m).

Stone 6 in the foreground and stone 5 beyond. View from WSW (Scale 1m).

Stone 7 at SH 60439 31681. View from west.

Stone 7. View from south west.

Stone 8 at SH 60147 31309. View from north east.

Stone 9 at SH 59889 30971. View from west.

Stone 9 with prominent promontory (north of Tywyn) beyond.  View from north east.

Stone 9, cairn and promontory. View from north east.

 

Cairns

Eastern kerbed cairn at SH 61049 32439 forms the north eastern end of the row. The large stone on the right is stone 1.  A spectacular location for the top of a row. View from south east. 

Eastern kerbed cairn. View from east.

The eastern kerbed cairn is built at the top of a pronounced terrace which although probably natural would have provided a gentle access along the orientation of the row. View from SSW.

Eastern kerbed cairn. View from above and east (Scale 1m).

Eastern kerbed cairn. View from above and south east (Scale 1m).

Eastern kerbed cairn. View from above and SSE (Scale 1m).

Western kerbed cairn at SH 61003 32456. View from east.

Western kerbed cairn. View from south.

Western kerbed cairn. View from north.

Western kerbed cairn. View from east.

Landscape Comment

The Fonllech stone row has many reveals along its length.  The row appears to have been positioned to maximise on dramatic and often precise reveals along its length. At the top of the row there are widespread dramatic views of Snowdonia to the north, Tremadoc Bay and the Lleyn Penisula to the west and Cardigan Bay to the south.  As you move southward (downhill) along the row the nature of these views changes with every step but essentially the Tremadoc Bay and Snowdonia views become less before disappearing and the Cardigan Bay view mainly increases though at one point disappears entirely before dramatically re-appearing to form the focus of the southernmost part of the row. Some of the detail of this is considered briefly below, but it is worth emphasising that there are almost certainly others visual links.

Stone 1

Stone 1 with Snowdownia in the background. View from south.

From the stone at the top of the row there are extensive views in all directions except east. Two separate sea views are apparent. The south Cardigan Bay together with Pembrokeshire and to the west Tremadoc Bay, Llyn Penisula and the sea beyond.

Stone 2

Stone 2. View from the north east (Scale 1m).

This stone seems to be pointing at the open sea.  Tremadoc Bay, Lleyn Peninsula and  Snowdonia. Stones 3, 4 and 8 are visible from here.

Stone 3

Stone 3. View from north (Scale 1m).

Both Cardigan and Tremadoc Bays are clearly visible from this stone and are separated by Foel Senigl. Stones 4 and 8 are visible from here.

Stone 4

From this stone the Cardigan Bay sea view is at the limit of visibility, whilst the Tremadoc Bay view remains dominant. Slithers of sea (St. George’s Channel) beyond the Lleyn Peninsula are visible. Rising ground to the north means that views of Snowdonia are restricted.

Between stones 4 and 5

The row is built across the limit of visibility to the sea. At SH 60783 32134 the Cardigan Bay sea view appears/ disappears, at 60770 32111 the Tremadoc Bay sea view appears/disappears and at SH 60764 32099 both sea views are no longer present.

Stone 5

A stacked sea view develops and disappears as you walk along this length of the row.

From this stone sea views across Cardigan Bay and Tremadoc Bay are present. Looking towards stone 6 the high ground north of Bardsey Island (Mynydd Rhiw) is brought into focus. The flat topped nature of this stone may be making a visual reference to the flat-topped Craig Ddrwg. Stones 6 and 8 are visible from here.

Stone 6

Looking south along the row across Cardigan Bay to Pembrokeshire.

From this stone sea views across Cardigan Bay and Tremadoc Bay are visible and separated by the nearby Foel Senigl hill. These views are more restricted than those available from stone 5. Only stone 5 is visible from here. View to the north are restricted by nearby rising ground.

 

Stone 7

The Lleyn Peninsula is at the limit of visibility.

The stone maybe mimicking Rhinog Fawr.

From this stone some of the higher hills on the Lleyn Peninsula are visible and before the nearby field wall was added the sea at Tremadoc Bay may have been at the limit of visibility. This sea view currently appears about 30m south of this stone. There are extensive views across Cardigan Bay to Pembrokeshire, whilst the views to the north to Snowdonia are blocked by rising ground. To the east the most visually interesting hill is Rhinog Fawr and the stone is nearly aligned upon this. Allowing for stone movement over the years it is possible that it was set to acknowledge this hill in some way. Stone 8 is visible from this stone.

Stone 8

Extensive views across Cardigan Bay to Pembrokeshire.

From this stone the Lleyn Peninsula is completely blocked from view by a small rocky outcrop. To the north, the peaks of Snowdonia are visible, but will disappear one after another shortly after passing this stone. There are extensive views across Cardigan Bay to Pembrokeshire. Stone 9 is visible below to the south and stone 7 to the north.

Stone 9

From this stone Moel Gwynus (SH 34100 42344) on the Lleyn Peninsula is at the limit of visibility only appearing as you reach the stone. Most of the Lleyn Penisula is hidden from view and views to the north are very restricted. Extensive views across Cardigan Bay to Pembrokeshire are noteworthy. From this stone only stone 8 is visible.

Access Information

This row runs alongside a public highway for part of its length.  The whole row can be explored on foot from a single parking spot at SH 60668 32020. Limited parking is also available near to the stones south of this point, but all the stones to the north can only be reached by foot.

Online Resources 

Megalithic Portal     Modern Antiquarian     Coflein     Archwilio

Archwilio     Archwilio     Archwilio     Archwilio

Other References

Bowen, E.G. and Gresham C.A., 1967. History of Merioneth Volume 1, Dolgellau, pgs. 57-58.


Timeline

VISITED:- 31st August 2018 

FIRST PUBLISHED:- 13th February 2016

LAST UPDATED:- 18th November 2018

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