The Gwaun Valley runs inland from Lower Town Fishguard towards The Preseli Mountains. The Gwaun Valley was created by torrents of meltwater from the retreating ice during the last Ice Age to leave a verdant, steep-sided valley.
The Gwaun Valley is in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and has a unique atmosphere and an abundance of wildlife and prehistoric sites.
The Gwaun Valley is steeped in history, not least for being still stuck in the 16th Century. When the rest of the World switched to the Gregorian calendar, the Gwaun Valley didn’t. The people in the hamlets of Pontfaen and Llanychaer uphold a unique tradition – they still celebrate New Year’s Day or Hen Galan on 13th January according to the old Julian calendar!
Discover more about Hen Galan – a true Welsh celebration
Walking and cycling are the principal activities. The quiet lanes have very little traffic. The Celtic Trail and the Lon Teifi long-distance cycle routes both go along the Gwaun Valley but diverge midway along.
Nearby attractions include the Dyffryn Fernant gardens, a 6-acre garden that incorporates a wide range of planting.
At the Fishguard end of the valley and Penlan Uchaf gardens. Open daily, early spring to late autumn and by arrangement out of season.
There’s a smart picnic site with a pond and toilets at Sychbant or if you carry on up the valley, you come to Cilgwyn where you’ll find the Pembrokeshire Candle Centre.
Cilrhedyn Woodland Centre, run by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, is well worth a visit on its limited open days throughout the holiday season. Phone first before travelling – 01348 881 900
The Dyffryn Arms or Bessie’s is well worth the visit – see under food & drink!
Food & drink
The pub at Pontfaen, The Dyffryn Arms or Bessie’s is run by the formidable Bessie Davies, a real local character. The pub is another time capsule of a bygone era. The bar is the front room of Bessie’s house and the beer is served through a hatch straight from the barrel. It’s well worth a visit for the experience but don’t expect anything fancy. Beer is all you’ll get.
There must be something in the water as the Gwaun Valley has two breweries: Gwaun Valley Brewery where you can have a taster before you choose which beer to buy. They have folk music sessions on Saturday nights that you’re welcome to join in with and a Camping & Caravanning Club certificated campsite too.
And more recently Bluestone Brewing Company, this microbrewery and music venue uses a natural spring water source that comes down from the Preseli Hills. There’s a shop, open throughout the year, and tours with the all-important tasting sessions. In the warmer months, they have live music events too.
Accommodation in The Gwaun Valley itself is limited. There is a country house hotel at Gelli Fawr on the southern side of the valley and a touring caravan site at Llanychaer towards Fishguard. There are quite a few self-catering cottages available in the Gwaun Valley too.