St Lythans Long Barrow, Vale of Glamorgan

Text by Tim Darvill

St. Lythan’s long barrow displays a striking stone chamber built from three massive uprights forming a box-like structure, open to the east, supporting an enormous capstone (4.5m by 3m by 0.8m thick) and estimated to weigh in excess of 30 tonnes. The underside of the capstone stands about 1.8m above the present floor of the chamber. Known also as Gwalyfiliast, the name translates as the ‘kennel of the greyhound bitch’, and indeed the chamber does look rather like a giant dog-kennel.

The chamber lies at the east end of the long mound some 25m by 10m, much of it heavily robbed. J.W. Lukis records finding pottery and human remains in earth thrown out of the chamber sometime before 1875, but there has never been a scientific investigation of the site. Its main interest is the size and construction of the chamber.


ST 1010 7230. 1km SW of St Lythans, a small village that can be found along a signposted minor road leading SWfrom the A4050 just south of the junction between the A48(T) and the A4232 on the western outskirts of Cardiff. Maesyfelin is immediately S of the road between St Lythans and Dyffryn. Roadside parking. Cadw.

Further reading: Savory 1971; RCAHMW 1976, 39.

Long Barrows of the Cotswolds and surrounding areas – Tim Darvill

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