Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Presceli Hills

Foel Drygarn rock with one of the stone cairns behind, and on the skyline an American couple from Seattle.

A walk up to Foel Drygarn, three enormous stone cairns and Iron age settlement, this walk is quite steep.  But from its summit you can get views of the 'bluestones' Carn Meyn and this time I located Carn Alws in the landscape (a chevaux de frise) which we must walk to because it looks so interesting sometime in the future; either a defended hillfort location or a place where you drove your livestock in  in the Iron age, it has upright stones along the entrance lane.

The walk is slightly exhausting up hill, but is not too far, this part of the Prescelis is pure sheep country, and we witnessed the same sheep herding I had witnessed several years ago bringing the sheep down to the farm yard.  The first sign was a sheepdog running on to the road, there really is not much traffic around in this part of the world, so sheepdogs are often found to be asleep on the road or territorially guarding the farm.... a couple of hundred were being rounded up on the higher fields by a tractor blaring out his horn and a couple of nifty dogs, all done at quite a high speed as the sheep were tightly circled and then brought down into the yard - noisy but interesting to watch.

The top of Foel Drygarn is difficult to describe but similar I would think to the Carn Meyn ridge top. Austere and awesome are words that come to mind, the thin crust of greenery broken by the massive rocks that expand upward out of  the earth - prehistory still writ, and the reason why this poor land is sheep country. And why some of us believe that the magical aspect of the bluestones were transported back to Stonehenge from this prehistoric ridgeway.

views from the top

walking up the path with Carn Meyn in the distance

Carn Alw in the misty distance

Gors Fawr small stone circle on the moor below the Preseli Hills

Gors Fawr stone stone circle, Bronze Age and rather small, some blue stone dolerite, dwarfed by sheep and gorse, a very peaceful place and near the road, it also has two stones some two hundred yards away, which may have formed part of an avenue.


  1. What a strange coincidence, we've just come back from West Wales (see forthcoming post). It's where I grew up, I actually went to school at Ysgol Y Preseli at Crymych, which if I remember rightly is very near Foel Drygarn. It's one of my favourite places in the world and would love to move back there so my children could enjoy the same things that I did.

  2. Its a marvellous place this part of Wales, but not much work there ;). The Welsh language seems more spoken as well, and I noticed in the news this morning that the Gower is to have lottery money spent on it to protect the habitat as a site of special interest plus all literature will be in both English and Wales.

  3. Came here from Genius Loci - gald I did.

    I live half the year in the shadow of these hills - and the other half a short drive from Stoneghenge ( I went there yesterday as it happens). The preseli ridge is a special place - the reflections off the sea, the looming stones, the curve of the horizon. I camped there one night last year with my teenage son - we woke to frost and a dawn walk into Crymych; best time we'd spent together in ages.

  4. Hi Mark,

    Welcome, Wales seems to get under the skin. I started going when I was a child from the 'Black Country' my grandfather went shooting and fishing at a farm near Ffarmer (Lampeter way); early morning starts from the Midlands and a fry up breakfast by the side of the road. Also sent in the school holidays, so I learnt to fish, and eat what was caught, milk cows by hand, chase the turkeys in at night and go fishing with the pig;).
    So Wales is deep in my bones, Solva became the holiday place over the years and still pulls very strongly but the cottages are expensive 'Little England' has a lot to answer for...


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