Hereford and Worcester/Gwent

As a tribute to Watkins, this and the following three leys will be in the landscape he knew and loved. Two are his own leys, two are alignments he didn't mention.

First of all, we describe an unmodified Alfred Watkins ley stretching for 4 miles across the lush countryside of SW Herefordshire and the convoluted Welsh border.

The ley begins in the E at Monmouth Cap in Gwent, less than a mile S of Pontrilas. A track aligned on the ley passes by a cottage to the rear of which is a well (39202614), marked as a spring on the map (the spring is in the next field, in fact).

Passing across the border into Herefordshire, the ley comes to a picturesque ford (36702559) near a mound at LLancillo, approached by a cart track from the A465.

A short distance beyond the ford, the ley passes through LLancillo Church (36622557), in a beautiful setting amongst trees and fields. Dedicated to St. Peter, it has a Norman chancel, 13th century font, and Tudor doorway.

The ley next comes to a camp E of Walterstone. The course of the alignment passes through the site of an ancient chapel (34932520) nestling by the camp's NE entrance. Duncomb's History of Hereford (1812) states the chapel was dedicated to St. Ailsworth. On the site was ' a large stone, having a cross inscribed upon it... lately removed, but a venerable yew tree still remains'. A number of yards to the W, the ley passes along the axis of a mound that Watkins considered to be a long barrow, a view we consider reasonable. Official opinion seems to be that the complex of earthworks and mounds by the northern ramparts of the camp relate to the fort in an 'uncertain' way. The camp itself is undated, but it is assumed to be Iron Age.

Less than a mile further W, the ley passes over a very large moated mound (33982500), said to be motte and bailey, at the hamlet of Walterstone. It is on the land of the nearby farm, so permission should be sought before inspecting this feature. The farmer showed us a calf which had been born on top of the mound, adding that many of his cows choose to calve on it. This is entirely in keeping with Underwood's findings that ancient sites were above blind springs, locations favoured by animals and ancient peoples (see Chapter 4). From the wooded crest of the mound a straight road can be seen in the distance to the W; this falls along the line of the ley.

Half a mile along the ley, the seventh ley marker, another ford, is encountered at 33182480 on the River Monnow. Here the ley re-enters Wales. The public footpath now crosses the river by a bridge a few hundred yards S of the ford, which itself had a bridge superimposed on it, but this is now in a collapsed state, presumably wrecked in a flood. The public footpath goes on along a recent route over the fields, but during our fieldwork we were looking for the hollow road that Watkins said led up from the W side of the ford. We were beginning to think Watkins must have been imagining things, when we suddenly detected the remains of the hollow road, now overgrown and forgotten, masked by a hedge. We were able to follow its course (which does lie along the ley) for some distance, and found it joins up with the road visible from the mound at Walterstone. The old master was proved correct yet again.


Length 6.2km

Bearing 76.7°/256.7°