Rhos Hafotty Carneddau

View from west of stones 4 and 5.

A probable single stone row measuring 272m long, including at least 14 medium and large-sized stones situated on an east facing slope with extensive landscape views and reveals. The stones are fairly evenly spaced though there are gaps particularly where it leads through deep peat. The row is orientated east to west and stands adjacent to a stone setting. There are a number of  broadly contemporary standing stones, cairns and another stone row in the vicinity.


Wales Gwynedd Rest of Wales SH 66422 13627
Lat  52.703783     Long -3.9784093

Map showing the location of Rhos Hafotty Carneddau stone row.

Simplified plan of the Rhos Hafotty Carneddau stone alignment. Surveyed by hand held GPS by Sandy Gerrard and Sophie Smith.


Type: Single Length: 272m
No. of stones: 14 Size of stones: Medium and large
Orientation: 84° Altitude: 237m
Upper end: – Lower end: –
Straight (Yes or No)  : No Sea View: No
Context:  Cairns, setting, standing stone and prehistoric trackway.
Notes: Some stones are probably buried beneath the bog. Details on the adjacent stone setting can be found here.

Other Information

Public Access:  Yes
Land Status: National Park and National Trust
Scheduled Ancient Monument:  Partly ME151


Category: Probable. A stone row explanation is the most likely but deep peat deposits may be obscuring evidence.


This stone row is of Type S12. Information on this form of stone row and other rows of this type is available here.

Individual Stone Details

Simplified plan of the Rhos Hafotty Carneddau stone alignment showing the position of the individual numbered stones.

Stone 1

View from west. Length: 1.05m    Width: 0.45m    Height: 0.82m    Orientation: 52°.

Stone 2

View from west. Length: 1.16m    Width: 0.7m    Height: 0.43m    Orientation: 40°

Stone 3

View from east. Length: 0.44m    Width: 0.30m    Height: 0.06m   Orientation: 90°. Largely buried.

Stone 4

View from west. Length: 0.88m    Width: 0.53m    Height: 0.51m   Orientation: 106°. Stone 5 visible beyond.

Stone 5

View from north west. Length: 1.4m    Width: 0.32m    Height: 1.02m    Orientation: 347°. Stone leaning at angle of 62°.

Stone 6

View from east. Length: 1.1m    Width: 0.4m    Height: 0.3m    Orientation: 25°. Stone 5 beyond.

Stone 7

View from east. Length: 0.47m    Width: 0.18m    Height: 0.11m   Orientation: ? Mainly buried. Stone 5 visible on skyline.

Stone 8

View from east. Length: 0.53m    Width: 0.43m    Height: 0.21m    Orientation: 258°. Stone 5 visible on the skyline.

Stone 9

View from east. Length: 0.48m    Width: 0.30m    Height: 0.06m    Orientation: 353°. Partly buried. Stone 5 visible on skyline.

Stone 10

Length: 0.49m    Width: 0.17m    Height: 0.13m    Orientation: 298°.

Stone 11

View from east. Length: 1.3m    Width: 0.77m    Height: 0.50m    Orientation: 10°. Stone 5 visible on skyline.

Stone 12

View from east. Length: 1.36m    Width: 0.77m    Height: 0.50m     Orientation: 220°.  Stone 11 visible beyond and Stone 5 on the skyline.

Stone 13

View from east. Length: 0.67m    Width: 0.31m    Height: 0.43m    Orientation: 295°. Stones 5 and  12 visible beyond.

Stone 14

View from east. Length: 0.76m    Width: 0.52m    Height: 0.27m    Orientation: 0°. Stones 5, 12 and 13 visible beyond.

Landmark Reveals

A preliminary examination of the landscape context of the Rhos Hafotty Carneddau stone row revealed a number of landmark reveals. The western length of the alignment leads across a flattish plateau before descending an east facing slope after stone 5. The orientation of the alignment also shifts at the point where the row starts to head off downhill towards the east. This location means that the number of reveals are maximised with a mixture of nearby and distant features being revealed and concealed along the route of the row. A number of these reveals are considered below, but there are undoubtedly others.

Pared y Cefn Hir

The prominent hill of Pared y Cefn Hir is visible only along the upper part of the row and rapidly disappears between Stones 2 and 3. A series of photographs taken at six step intervals from Stone 2 up to the point where it disappears behind a nearby hill demonstrates the character of this reveal.

Pared y Cefn Hir suddenly appears 24 walking steps east of Stone 2.

Walking westward Pared y Cefn Hir rapidly increases in size after 6 steps. 

Another six steps and Pared y Cefn Hir is now clearly visible.

Another six steps and Stone 2 is reached. Pared y Cefn Hir continues to emerge from the nearby hillslope.

Y Garn

Views towards Y Garn are very restricted and it is interesting to note that it comes to view at the same point that Pared y Cefn Hir is at the very limit of visibility. From only one point on the row are both hills visible.  Slight movement eastward from this point means that Pared y Cefn disappears whilst a few steps to the west and Y Garn vanishes. This type of visual treat is commonplace along British stone rows and whilst deliberation cannot be proven the frequency is highly suggestive. Precise visual links of this kind supports the idea that the rows were positioned and laid out to acknowledge particular limits of visibility. If so, this means that the rows like this one were not erected randomly, but instead were carefully posited to enable their builders to interact with their world.

From a point 24 steps east of Stone 2 both Pared y Cefn Hir and Rhobell Fawr are both visible as tiny glimpses at the very limit of visibilty. 

Detail of the Y Garn glimpse available 24 steps east of Stone 2.


A rocky outcrop south east of Ffridd-y-beudail at SH 66080 13980 forms part of another reveal.  East of Stone 9 this outcrop is hidden by the slope on which the row is built. In the vicinity of the stone 9 the outcrop pops out from the horizon and remains visible from the remainder of the row.

The rocky outcrop emerges from behind the near hill as you reach Stone 9 when travelling westward.

View from Stone 6 of the outcrop together with Stones 5 and 4. From this part of the row the outcrop is very obvious.

Western reveal

From the lower eastern part of the row the views of the landscape to the west are restricted by rising ground being finally revealed at stone 5 where the orientation shifts northwards. The shift of orientation combined with a dramatic change in the outlook from the row is a feature found at many rows including Bancbryn and Shaugh Moor and illustrates the recurring relationship between rows and reveals.

Westward views from the eastern length of the row are very restricted. 

View from Stone 3 looking westward. The western part of the row has views of the mountains to the west which are invisible from the eastern length.

The changing eastern viewshed

From stone 5 three separate distant summits are visible peaking from behind nearby hills. As one proceeds eastward along the row the view towards Y Garn soon disappears and the others (Aran Benllyn and Rhobell Fawr) diminish in size until they vanish at the point where the row terminates. The precision of this visual link strongly supports the idea that the row builders were interested in acknowledging and therefore perhaps utilising these visual treats and yet again the emphasis was directed towards distant features at the very edge of visibility.

Looking eastward from Stone 5. Three distinct landmarks are framed by the near hills.

Looking eastward from Stone 13. Y Garn is no longer visible and the two remaining distant hills are at the very limit of visibility before disappearing entirely from view at the eastern end of the row. The precision of this visual relationship is noteworthy and represents powerful albeit circumstantial evidence that the row was carefully positioned within the landscape.

The precision and character of this relationship is identical to the one further up the row near Stone 2 where Pared y Cefn Hir and Y Garn peek out of the sides of a nearby hill.  This particular visual treat is available only at this point in the landscape and the fact that it coincides with the end of the row is very unlikely to be a coincidence.

Cairn at SH 66396 13553

A large robbed cairn close to and south of the stone row is revealed as you walk westward up the row. The precise position where this reveal would have happened in now uncertain because of the cairn’s mutilated condition. Nevertheless, it is likely that the reveal would have happened between Stones 5 and 4. Certainly today the cairn becomes visible at Stone 4 and its position below a prominent triangular shaped hill may not be a coincidence.  The landscape geometry implied by this type of visual relationship suggests a society that was interested in the variations in the natural world and was attempting to incorporate at least some of this into their own ritual practices.

The row builders at Rhos Hafotty Carneddau seem to have successfully managed to incorporate a significant number of different and precise visual reveals into their alignment. It is unlikely that as many would exist if the row had been placed anywhere else within this landscape. This provides further evidence of the strong and precise links between limit of visibility reveals and stone alignments. This is a characteristic of all the long rows and the accumulation of evidence supports the idea that the rows were built to enable precise reference to distant landmarks. The evidence strongly suggests that this row like the others was carefully positioned taking precise cognisance of the surrounding landforms to create a particular set of significant views. We can therefore be fairly confident that stone alignments need to be seen within their landscape context and should never be viewed in isolation. The considerable variation in the form of rows may in some part be a result of the considerable variety in the British landscape.

Access Information

Car parking is available at SH 65755 14316. Walk south along the public highway to SH 66364 13644. From here head south east to stone 1. Avoid the bog between stones 1 and 2.


Online Resources 

Megalithic Portal     Coflein     Archwilio     Archwilio     Archwilio

Royal Commission pg 7


VISITED:- 31st July 2016

FIRST PUBLISHED:- 20th August 2016

LAST UPDATED:- 10th January 2018

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