Prehistoric stone circles
Prehistoric stone circles, Cefn Coch, Penmaenmawr
The uplands south of Penmaenmawr are scattered with prehistoric remains including stone circles. Druid’s Circle, one of the finest, can be viewed by making a short detour south from the Wales Coast Path. The name Druid’s Circle is misleading because the stones pre-date the arrival of druids by many centuries. The Welsh name is Meini Hirion (“long stones”). Excavations in the 1950s revealed the cremated remains of children, stored in urns of a type which fell out of use c.1400BC.
The stone circle and various other features whose remains we can see today were beside a roadway which was important in prehistoric times. Traces of the road remain between Bryn Derwydd farm and Cors y Carneddau.
This area was important c.3000BC because the type of rock at Penmaenmawr, augite granophyre, was ideal for making stone axes, which were vital to humans’ development. The stone flakes easily into sharp-edged shapes while also being hard enough for durability as axe heads. The stone could also be polished. Axe heads from Penmaenmawr have been discovered around Britain including in Scotland, Yorkshire and the Thames Valley. One was found at Rhyl in 1926.
Much later quarrying, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, destroyed the remains of a large prehistoric settlement on the mountaintop west of Penmaenmawr, although some archaeological studies were undertaken before the evidence was lost.