Monday, 10 February 2014

Walks for Wet Days - Carreg Llywelyn

We all know that it is very wet at the moment. Wales has faired better than many places in England unaccustomed to high rainfall. However, large parts of the countryside are plainly soaked, and the valley bottoms need to be avoided. So, where do we go if we want a decent walk without waders? I set off yesterday from the free car park with nearby toilets in Pentrefoelas and enjoyed a walk on very quiet lanes. There is also the famous Riverside Cho in Pentrefoelas, the  Unfortunately it rained for a good part of the journey, which made for poor photographs. It was firm underfoot and I scarcely saw a car. The route below is about 7 miles long and has obvious short cuts.

The most interesting thing on this walk was discovering Carreg Llywelyn, a large standing stone of mediaeval origin. There is a great description of it on

"Carreg Llywelyn, or the Levelinus Stone, is an inscribed pillar which may have been created by monks to thank the Llywelyn Fawr, Prince of Wales, for giving them land in this area. The original stone is in the Museum of Wales, Cardiff. The one in Pentrefoelas today is an accurate replica.

Llywelyn was grandson of Owain Gwynedd, who probably built the castle which stood on the mound near here. Llywelyn inherited his grandfather’s kingdom and was Prince of Gwynedd from 1137 to 1170. He eventually became the first ruler to unite Wales.  He gave the monks of Aberconwy Abbey land in Conwy, and around Pentrefoelas.

Experts believe the inscription was carved on the standing stone in 1230, 10 years before Llywelyn died. The inscription mixes Welsh and Latin to explain the meaning of Llywelyn’s Latinised name, Levelinus. Other theories have been put forward over the years. Some suggest the stone secretly marked the burial place of Llywelyn the Great’s bones, others that the decapitated body of Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf (the last indigenous Prince of Wales) was buried here after he was killed in 1282. Yet another idea is that local ruler Llywelyn ap Seisyllt, killed in battle nearby some 200 years earlier, was buried under the stone.

In 1790 the stone was moved to its present position near Hen Foelas, the land-owning Wynne family’s mansion in Pentrefoelas." (From

Access to the stone is along a woodland lane (which you can drive along if you don't feel like walking).

The mound visible in the background is the Foel Las motte - probably an ancient hill fort.

You can also park your car here (near Coed Du) to go look at the stone.

The stone is located in this woodland, as seen from the road to the south.

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