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Ancient monuments damaged in Preseli Hills

Archaeologists and conservationists have repeated a plea to visitors to leave ancient sites and monuments in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park as they find them.

Rocks from Foel Drygarn and Carn Meini (also known as Carn Menyn) in the Preseli Hills are being moved or taken away by visitors who may be unaware of their protected status and significance.

Evidence of people hammering and chipping the bluestones at the protected site of Carn Meini in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
Evidence of people hammering and chipping the bluestones at the protected site of Carn Meini in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.​

The Preseli Hills has been inhabited for thousands of years, with prehistoric monuments sitting in a landscape of natural cliffs and crags. The area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Last month, the National Park Authority sought the help of Pembrokeshire College Army Preparation Training students to repair one of the cairns of Foel Drygarn and record the damage of hammered and chipped stones at Carn Meini.

National Park Community Archaeologist Delun Gibby, said: “The group began at Foel Drygarn by repairing holes in the cairn that had been created by walkers wanting shelter. This Bronze Age site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, so creating shelters is actually damaging the monument. We have now infilled the holes to stop them getting deeper.

National Park Authority Community Archaeologist Delun Gibby and Pembrokeshire College Army Preparation Training students at the cairns of Foel Drygarn in the Preseli Hills.
National Park Authority Community Archaeologist Delun Gibby and Pembrokeshire College Army Preparation Training students at the cairns of Foel Drygarn in the Preseli Hills.​

“At Carn Meini we found a number of stones that had been hammered and a stash of broken up bits of bluestone. It may well be that people have no idea that it’s against the law to move or damage these stones.

Carn Meini’s greatest claim to fame is that its dolerite rock is the famous bluestone that was used to build the inner ring of Stonehenge.

The debate about how the stones were transported – by man power or by glacier – continues. Last year, experts and enthusiasts on both sides of the argument joined the Park Authority to urge visitors to leave the landscape as they found it, after pieces of bluestone were taken from Carn Meini.

National Park Ranger Richard Vaughan organised the recent repair work and said: “The Army Preparation group did a fantastic job, they were very efficient and great to work with and we’d like to wish them all the best with their future.”

Published 14 July 2017


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