Gors Fawr

This prehistoric (Neolithic or early Bronze Age) megalithic monument lies off the Preseli upland 4.6 km south-southwest of Carn Menyn at SN 13492937. The monument consists of an almost complete ring of low standing stones with two tall outlying megaliths to the north-northeast. The other main monument within the Pilot Study’s target area, an oval setting of stones beneath Carn Bica called Beddarthur, is intervisible with Gors Fawr and both monuments are intervisible with Carn Menyn.

The stone circle is 22.3m in diameter and is located on a flat area of peaty common land. This parcel of land is/was the recipient of streams coming off Mynydd Preseli, on which Carn Menyn is situated, so there is a physical as well as visual link between the two areas. There may also have been a ceremonial, symbolic link, and the route of the bluestones off Preseli at the beginning of their journey to Stonehenge may have passed by Gors Fawr, according to the Pilot Study’s consultant, Professor Timothy Darvill.

We counted 18 surviving stones defining the ring, with one further, earth-fast stone just outside, to the west. (Though deeply embedded in the ground it nevertheless produced an unusually high-pitched impact sound under percussion, indicating that it was probably a very good “ringer” when in a more loosened condition.) The stones are graded in height as noted by Burl (A. Burl, The Stone Circles of the British Isles, Yale U.P., 1976) and other archaeologists. The tallest surviving stones form the southeastern quadrant of the circle, with the lowest to the west-southwest.

The two outlying pillar stones 134 m to the north-northeast of the stone circle are positioned 13.7 m apart. They could be viewed as an alignment or as a “portal” with the stones acting like gateposts framing a view between them. As an alignment , the two standing stones form a southwest-northeast orientation, and this points in the northeasterly direction to the position of the midsummer sunrise alignment over the nearby hill of Foel Drych (A.Thom, Megalithic Sites in Britain, Oxford U.P., 1967), now unfortunately obscured by local tree cover.

Carn Menyn Focus Areas

Carn Menyn: The Promontory
Acoustic Corner
Carn Goedog
Beddarthur, Carn Bica and Carn Sian
Pont Saeson

Related Locations

Gors Fawr
Garn Turne
Carn Besi
Carreg Samson
Pentre Ifan
Ffynnon Druidion
Strumble Head
Ffyst Samson

fig.1 - General view northwards across part of the Gors Fawr stone circle, showing Carn Menyn on the horizon.

fig.2 - Exploring Gors Fawr

fig.3 - Looking northeast along the alignment formed by the two outlying standing stones