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  • Columbaria
    built in the 13th Century by the Monks who lived in the nearby Monastic Grange You can see a ridge running around the building near the top This once supported a timber platform which both acted as a lookout point and enabled the building to be used as a defensive tower This dovecote is passed on LLANTWIT MAJOR walk 1 CADOXTON dovecote This dovecote is located in CADOXTON Barry and is in the private garden of Cadoxton Court It is dated to the 13th Century Of stone construction with a corbelled stone dome and pointed doorway EAST ABERTHAW In the apex of the roof of this house next to the pub in EAST ABERTHAW can clearly be seen the half dozen pigeon holes that would have accommodated a small number of birds CULVER HOLE Certainly one of the most unusual dovecotes in Britain is the CULVER HOLE near PORT EYNON on Gower Facing the sea and set into the cliffs there is a reference to it as a columbarium as early as 1399 and it was possibly associated with Port Eynon Castle of which there is now no trace The masonry is some 60 feet high It was reputed to have been used by John Lucas of Salthouse in the 16th century as a stronghold and armoury and is believed to have been linked with smuggling Left part of EAST ORCHARD Castle Centre East Orchard dovecote Right interior showing nest holes EAST ORCHARD Castle is an atmospheric ruin to the east of ST ATHAN and can be approached from a public right of way from the village It is believed to have been a fortified manor rather than a castle and is associated with the Berkerolles family who arrived with the Normans and received the land in the late 11th century Amongst the various buildings is a large square roofless dovecote The photo above right shows the interior with the nest holes in remarkably good condition OXWICH CASTLE The remains of this dovecote can be found just outside OXWICH Castle on Gower SS 49766 86315 The castle is the only surviving example in Glamorgan of an Elizabethan prodigy house and is typical of early Tudor court architecture Whilst ruined the dovecote provides a good perspective on both the interior with its nest holes and exterior with its access holes Dovecote at the ST FAGANS Natural History museum near Cardiff There are reports of a dovecote in the grounds of ST FAGANS castle in the 16th century when the manor house was built although it is unclear whether the dovecote seen here is the original or a later addition Entry to the building for the doves seen posing here was through the holes in the side rather than the top The small structure on the roof allowed some light to enter the interior Dovecote near Cosmeston Near the mediaeval village at Cosmeston are the remains of a mediaeval dovecote shown in this photo with only the bottom metre still standing Dating

    Original URL path: http://www.glamorganwalks.com/columbaria.htm (2016-02-01)
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  • Curiosities
    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

    Original URL path: http://www.glamorganwalks.com/curiosities.htm (2016-02-01)
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  • Field Gates
    gates varies in the different regions of Wales Gareth Beech in an article entitled The Wooden Field Gates of Wales describes the background to the introduction of field gates from the late 18th century and the different patterns of construction including decoration markings and features Gate typical of Glamorgan Cardiganshire mid Wales and Monmouthshire The most common pattern in Glamorganshire had two vertical upright straps as in the photo above and a single diagonal brace this example at the Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans Cardiff You can see that the gate at the top of the page passed on the Llanwonno walk has an additional short diagonal brace against the long brace and this style was more typical of Carmarthenshire and the south west The next example which can be seen at the Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans Cardiff is typical of Flintshire and Denbighshire Flintshire and Denbighshire gate Whilst gates have been around for many centuries it was the enclosure movement which provided a particular impetus to the introduction of field gates The designs took into account the availability of materials and the need for the gates to last but also allowed individual patterns markings and features

    Original URL path: http://www.glamorganwalks.com/field_gates.htm (2016-02-01)
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  • Rabbit Warrens
    for hat making From being a delicacy for the rich by the 18th century rabbit was a food for the poor and rabbit warrens were starting to be abandoned although they could still be found in East Anglia and the Welsh hills well into the 20th century In the 1930s there were about 50 million rabbits in the wild in Britain but the introduction of myxomatosis killed around 99 of them originally the rabbit was described as a coney and the word rabbit referred to the young Many placenames contain coney as part of the word such as Coney Beach at Porthcawl The rabbit dislikes damp conditions preferring dry sandy or peaty soils They need little water to drink and can cope well on land that has limited agricultural value Rabbits were kept in special areas which provided them with cover but were walled to prevent them escaping A warren would be constructed initially with a series of channels usually capped with stones and earth was then piled over the top Once introduced rabbits would then add their own tunnels to the existing ones Although these sites confused archaeologists for some years it was eventually concluded that these mounds and hollows in the landscape were used for rabbits They are referred to as pillow mounds although the shape of many is more like an old fashioned bolster There are around 2 000 pillow mounds in Britain and you can find them clearly marked on OS maps all over South Wales These might be anything from 9 to 200 metres long many of the earliest ones are to be found in the sandy coastal areas such as Merthyr Mawr and Pennard although offshore islands were also well used Later they were introduced to private estates such as at Ewenny On the left a typical rectangular shape of a hillside warren On right the deep stone lined pit that distinguishes it from being a sheep fold Whilst most of the examples of pillow mounds in South Wales just reveal themselves as bumps on the ground if you walk on the upper moorland areas you may well come across warrens where the walls are still standing The area around Ystradfellte is a case in point There are around 90 here spread over 1 700 acres and dating from around the 1820s much later than the mediaeval warrens of the Glamorgan coast But why here Rabbit warrens made good use of land that was of poor agricultural use and there is a good supply of heather and gorse for the rabbits to feed on Note also that most of the warrens are on sloping ground which ensured that it was well drained Most walkers would take the tennis court shaped and dry stone wall constructed features to be sheep folds but the walls have no gaps for gates or hurdles which would have allowed the farmer to get his sheep in and out The other distinguishing feature of rabbit warrens is that there will

    Original URL path: http://www.glamorganwalks.com/rabbit_warrens.htm (2016-02-01)
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  • Sundials
    fixed period say 20 minutes and was used to limit the amount of time a case could be argued in court hence the saying your time has run out Other methods used flowing sand and you can still buy an hourglass or sandglass or used burning candles with elapsed time marked on the side The mechanical clock first appeared in the 13 th century in Europe Left a Roman sundial on display in Leicester Right sundial on church at Naunton in the Cotswolds However the other method for telling the time which once positioned accurately could give a good indication of the time of day as long as there was light enough for a shadow was the sundial Both the time of day and time of year can be gauged by the position of the sun in the sky Rather than look directly at the sun the shadow from a tree stick or even oneself can be used with the shadow shortest at mid day The first accurate sundials whose working we understand came with the ancient Greeks who used a hollowed out block of stone to show the time of day and time of year This is called a Hemicyclium The Romans copied the idea and would often have them in the courtyards of their villas The apparent simplicity of a sundial belies its actual complexity Some sundials use a line of light others the shadow from a stick or similar object the Gnomon This used to be pointed towards the Pole Star but some gnomons can be moved according to the month or other variable Most of the sundials you are likely to see when out and about are mounted vertically and often on the sides of churches although horizontally mounted ones may be seen in gardens and

    Original URL path: http://www.glamorganwalks.com/sundials.htm (2016-02-01)
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