With this cache I aim to take you to a location which is tranquil, inspirational and will reward you with spectacular panoramic views of the Severn Estuary in one direction, views of Wentwood Forest in the other.
Gray Hill is said to be one of the most important bronze age ritual complexes in western Britain. Its position afforded Bronze Age chieftains enormous social and symbolic prestige as a place of burial. With stone circle, standing stones and five roundbarrows, the site is a complex ritual landscape. Corpses were probably ritually prepared in the stone circle for their journey along a symbolic 'path', marked out by standing stones, to the barrow cemetery. The actual virtual cache location is amongst a small stone circle of thirteen stones, one of which remains standing, there is also a nearby single standing stone. In order to claim this cache, take a picture of the stone circle remains with your GPSr in the picture (no web pictures) and post it here with your log please.
Free and ample parking can be found at the Forester's Oaks picnic site. This picnic area overlooks the Wentwood reservoir (built in 1904) and has several tables dotted around.
An Ordnance Survey map for the Forester's Oaks picnic site car park is available at this web site.
Foresters Oaks is stated as being the location of a court which held civil cases related to the forest. It was also where state punishments were carried out, namely hangings.
More detailed history of this can be read on the information board at the car park entrance (N51°38.478', W002°49.634').
With care, cross the road from the car park and then follow the lane towards the waypoint on Gray hill. Shortly you will find the steep and well trodden footpath that leads up the hill. There are several path options on the hill or you can safely roam about with the usual cautions such as not stepping on sunbathing adders in summer and naked dancing hippies at anytime.
At time of writing a team of archaeologists are working in different spots around the hill, please respect the history of this location when you visit and follow this code of practice.
The cache is hopefully a prelude to a traditional cache site that will be placed in the vicinity.
Nearby areas of interest :
A short drive further up into Wentwood is a BBQ area and adventure playground this is located at N51°38.710', W2°50.516'. Many of the forest walks start from this area, and is probably a better place for a picnic than Forester Oaks but can get very crowded at times.
A 12 minute drive away is Caldicot Castle & wooded country park http://www.caldicotcastle.co.uk/
The drive to Caldicot will take you through the Roman market town of Caerwent, the remains of which are clear to see.
Or a drive through Wentwood takes you over towards the historic, small country town of Usk http://www.usktc.force9.co.uk/