Walking in Glamorgan, South Wales. Guided walks, routes &
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A potpourri of odds and ends you could stumble across anywhere in the countryside.
Left, mystery object in field. Right, structure in garden of Kennixton at National History Museum, St Fagans
This feature in a field just outside farm-buildings near Cardiff caused puzzlement for several years until we found this object in the Museum at St Fagans. Within the stone shelves were some wicker Bee-hives, also referred to as 'skeps'. On checking with a local bee-keeping group the consensus was that the object in the field would probably have been used to house skeps for a number of reasons. No one could think of another use for such a small structure and the way the upright sloping stones are placed helps the bees to navigate to the correct hive. It would at some stage have had some roofing to protect from rain like the one at St Fagans.
For more information on skeps try 'Skeps, Their History Making and Use' by Frank Alston and Richard Alston, ISBN-10: 0907908381.
Memorial stones and monuments
Most of the memorials you will find in the countryside are poignant reminders about loss or tragedies from the past.
This fine cast-iron memorial can be found in the Black Mountains and it records the death of a favourite dog called Carlo. The inscription reads: 'In memory of Carlo - a celebrated setter the property of H M Kennard ESQ. Crumlin Hall - accidentally shot August 12th 1864'.
The mountains can be unforgiving and many lives have been lost, not least those of children.
Memorial to Willy Llewellyn
This memorial stone south west of Hirwaun reads as follows:
'This plaque marks the spot where the body of Willy Llewellyn, aged 5, was found. He was lost at Aberaman on the afternoon of April 11th 1902. Work ceased at local pits and after a search by the whole community his remains were discovered on April 26th. He is buried at Cefn cemetery'.
Another type of memorial is to our industrial past. Here is a stone marker indicating the site of the Brinore Tramroad. It makes a great walk of 8 miles (and another 8 back!) from Talybont-on-Usk to Trefil in the Brecon Beacons. The tramroad dates from 1815 and it carried coal and limestone linking the Tredegar Ironworks, the limestone quarries and the Monmouth and Brecon canal. There are interpretative signs on the way. You might also spot some graffiti - the example in the photo dating from 1894, carved into the rock-face alongside the path.
Brinore tramroad - left information sign; centre marker stone; right, graffiti from 1894
Inscribed stone on Gelligaer Common
There are many examples of prehistoric standing stones in this part of Britain which are well-covered on other websites. Sometimes a stone may look ancient but is 'only' a thousand or so years old. One example is on Gelligaer Common which has been dated at between the 7th and 9th Century and is described as an early Christian memorial monument. There is an inscription (although it is very difficult to discern) meaning something like '(The stone of) ... oihi'. It is close to the route of a Roman road and is possibly a road-side burial (SO 10341/03404).