Sunday, 17 February 2013

Tarren Deusant - 2 saints or a druid altar?

Venturing a bit further afield today - to the valley just above Llantrisant  in fact (and that's 3 saints for you already!)

As it was promising to be a nice day we thought we'd venture over the border and see what we could find. Tarren Deusant looked very interesting, a holy spring and some petrosomatoglyphs. Some preliminary research indicated that the actual finding could be challenging so we took the precaution of programming the co-ordinates into the GPS locator before we left.

This subsequently proved to be a wise precaution but even locating the general area was a challenge. This part of Wales has changed a bit since our elderly OS Map was produced ( cost all of 6/6 when maps were 1 inch to a mile). In the end comparing the map with the smartphone google map identified exactly where we actually were! Plenty of footpaths around according to the map but absolutely nowhere to park on a very narrow single track road. In the end we pulled off the verge and walked back to where the path should start.

And there was a footpath sign! Very well hidden and the access gate itself was tied closed with orange twine ( naughty!) . No way was it opening so it was a quick climb over the 5 bar gate and follow the footpath.  Annoyingly the next gate was also tied shut so more climbing and down into a pretty wooded valley

Bit rough going here - under that layer of dead leaves is some very slippery mud and this is actually quite steep.  By this point we were using the GPS to make sure we were heading in the right direction.

In the end the spring proved very easy to find. Crystal clear water pouring out of a cleft in the rock face.

So on to the petrosomatoglyphs. They were supposed to be nearby so a close examination of the rock face ensued.
And here they are - the picture is larger than usual to show them more clearly. There are distinct faces cut into the rock.


The age of these are disputed. in the 1600s two were reported. There are now clearly more than that. Whilst some consider the originals to be medieval it is of course possible that they are older than that.  Below that strange central tear drop shaped protrusion is a flat piece of rock which makes a perfect altar and  someone had left an offering there.

 Close up of one of the faces

and another. There are also other carving in the rock of what appear to be fish and crosses. The local name for the site is the "Druid's Altar" but it does seem to be very christianised. Whether this is another case of an old ritual site being taken over by the Church? Who knows.

and lastly a picture of some of the locals as a reminder that spring is on its way.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...