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BBC Wales's Steve Jones reports
"More than 7,000 heritage sites in forests in Wales have been recorded on a computer database to ensure they're protected"
 real 28k

Thursday, 27 January, 2000, 06:51 GMT
Ancient sites discovered in Welsh forests

Strata Florida The 13th Century monastery Strata Florida


A graveyard for disgraced monks and a mysterious man-made well hidden in a Welsh forest are just some of the ancient monuments discovered in a huge archaeological survey.

Forest Enterprise Wales has been exploring thousands of acres of woods throughout Wales.

More than 7,000 heritage sites in forests throughout Wales have now been recorded on a computer database to ensure they are protected.

One of the most interesting is the 13th century abbey of Strata Florida near Tregaron.

The abbey is already a well-known ancient mounment. But in the hills surrounding the site, archaeologists have been discovering many previously uknown and unrecorded sites.


Gravestones Ancient gravestones found on a hill overlooking the abbey
Among them are some ancient gravestones and a man-made well.

Experts remain baffled as to why and when the well was carefully built with slate slabs and an amazing underground wooden water pipe in the heart of the Twyi forest.

The gravestones, meanwhile, are laid in a line high on a steep hill overlooking the abbey.

Michelle Bromley of Forest Enterprise Wales said one theory was that they were the graves of monks with bad habits.

"We don't really know what they are or if there is anyone underneath them," she said.

"The one thing that local people believe is that perhaps they were monks that had done something bad and were not allowed to be buried in their own churchyard.

"But it's a heck of a walk to get here."

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