Feel the magic of ancient landscapes
48 hours in the Preseli Hills
Steeped in history and myth, this small but spectacular range has captivated people for thousands of years.
Feel the centuries ebb away as you embrace a slower and quieter way of life. We’re sure the empty slopes and heather-covered expanses will captivate your heart!
The seasonal mood of the Preselis shifts and changes with each passing month, making it an attractive year-round destination. In winter, snow-covered peaks stoop under slate-grey skies. Springtime fields dance with lambs. Blue summer skies are reflected in the distant turquoise sea with views that stretch as far as Snowdonia and Ireland. Autumn walks crunch through frosty grass, boots break icy puddles, fingers are stained purple by succulent blackberries… No two days here are the same, and for centuries, many people have been drawn-in by the Preseli magic, returning again and again. A perfect weekend getaway for any time of year, you can truly escape the humdrum of everyday life and embrace the deeper rhythms of rock and nature.
Feel the fresh air…
There’s nothing like a day in the hills to make you feel alive. Set out in the morning with a picnic – we suggest stocking up with local cheese from Pant Mawr Farmhouse Cheeses in Rosebush, and stopping at the very friendly Siop Fferm Carla on the B4313, where Carla will chat as she serves you coffee, ice cream, and tasty local produce including freshly baked pies made with meat from her farm.
Enjoy a bracing walk through the Preseli Mountains taking in moorland, sea views and impressive features along the way. Choose from short ambles, strolls up to the peaks (don’t worry, it’s nothing too strenuous – the tallest point is only 536m), or, we recommend spending a half-day walking the gorgeous Golden Road. Stretching east to west across the spine of the Preseli Mountains, this route can be walked in either direction, although walking westwards will offer you sea views and the setting sun in the afternoon. You’ll pass picturesque stone crags, bronze age burial cairns, stone circles connected to the Arthurian legend, and the impressive Foel Drygarn hillfort on the eastern end that offers spectacular elevated views. If you don’t feel confident map-reading, or just want information as you go, this route can be walked with expert hiking guides from VIP Wales or Discover Walking Pembrokeshire. Based in the Preselis, these companies know the hills inside out, so you’ll be in safe and knowledgeable hands!
If walking isn’t for you, local guide and Preseli expert Andrew Dugmore of Pembrokeshire Paths will be happy to share his knowledge on a group or private tour. You’ll visit stone circles, burial chambers and other ancient gems, and Andrew’s wonderful storytelling will bring to life the many myths and legends of the area.
Another exhilarating way to explore the hills is on horseback. Try Preseli Pony Trekking, who cater for all ages and abilities, for a magical and memorable experience in the Preseli landscape. Rides range from 1 hour to a whole day or even a whole weekend, depending on your ability. Feel the sway and warmth of the horse beneath you as you traverse the landscape in a traditional way, enjoying the sweeping scenery like others have done for thousands of years.
Finish the day…
No trip to the Preselis is complete without stopping at the Tafarn Sinc – one of Pembrokeshire’s most characterful pubs. The interior hasn’t changed much in over a century, and its rustic charm is a rare treat these days. Walls peppered with black and white photographs, hams hanging from the ceiling, a sawdust-covered floor and cosy fireplace make the community-owned pub a perfect place to put your feet up after a day in the hills. Be sure to practice your Welsh at the bar – you will hear it spoken in the nooks and crannies of the pub by locals.
A full day of activity can be had at Llys-y-Frân Lake on the southern edge of the Preselis. For water-lovers, boats, paddleboards and kayaks can be hired for fishing and fun. If staying on land is more your thing, don’t worry, there’s plenty of dry activities too! With a cycling centre, hire shop, and an array of mapped routes, Llys-y-Frân is the perfect place to while away time peddling lakeside and through wooded slopes. Routes range in length and difficulty, but there is something for everyone – including blue and red mountain bike trails, a pump track and skills area for those who want a challenge. Other dry-land options are climbing, walking, bank fishing, or for the warriors among you, the chance to channel your inner Celt in archery and axe-throwing.
Pop into the visitor centre where there are interactive and informative exhibits, a gift shop with local craft and produce, and a lovely café overlooking the lake – perfect for refreshing yourself after a day in or near the water.
Slightly further afield…
If you’ve had your fill of the wild Preseli slopes, Scolton Manor provides a lovely day out, whatever the Welsh weather throws at you. There is plenty to see and explore, both upstairs and downstairs, indoors and out at this Victorian manor house situated in 60 acres of grounds: nature trails, play areas, a museum and exhibition centre, a stable block and walled garden as well as the house itself. Also home to the Pembrokeshire Beekeeping Association, you can watch beekeepers from a distance, learn about the hives through an interactive exhibit and even see inside a hive with a live ‘bee-cam’. Honey can be purchased in the gift shop, and you can finish your visit with a cuppa and snack from the onsite café. Yum!
For dinner, head back up over the hills into Newport or Fishguard, where there are plenty of nice restaurants and cosy pubs to whet your appetite.