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Maen Llia


Maen Llia is a massive Bronze Age monolith standing in a mystical and isolated spot in the Brecon Beacon National Park. A legend says that whenever a cock crows, the stone moves off to drink in the River Nedd. According to another story, the stone visits the River Mellte on Midsummer morning.

Another Legend says the stone goes down to the river, the Afon Llia to drink sometimes. This story seems likely to hint at the fact that the stone’s shadow is cast across the hillside as far as the river when the sun is low in the evening sky.

Whatever time of day you are inspired to visit Maen Llia you will be mesmerised by the impressive standing stone which is twelve foot high and diamond shaped. It is relatively easy to find and visit being a short distance from the minor road leading from Ystradfellte in Waterfall country to the village of Heol Senni and then on to Brecon.  

Some people describe it as a Goddess Stone, it is certainly elegant. Formed from Old Red Sandstone with a scattering of moss you are drawn by its legendary energy to touch it. You cannot properly judge its scale until you approach its feet; then you wonder at the incredible willpower of the people that put it there. It is 3.7m (12ft) high, 2.8m (9ft) wide, but only 0.6m (2ft) thick. It points north to south along the Llia Valley. It is likely that at least a quarter to a third of the stone is below ground, so it has managed to stand up to thousands of years of wild Welsh weather.

It stands alone at the junction of two valleys and its visibility for some distance suggests that it may have been a territorial marker. It could also mark an ancient trackway across the Beacons guiding travellers safely over the watershed, in a similar way to the stone north of the Maen Mawr circle just over 2 miles to the south. In the 1940s, some faint Latin and Ogam inscriptions were still visible on the stone's surface. At a legendary altitude of 573m it is thought to be the highest standing stone in South Wales.

Another set of drinking stones are the Four Stones near Walton, near the A44. Locals say they mark the graves of four knights and the stones go the nearby Hindwell Pool to drink at night.

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