A Walk in the Preseli Hills from Mynachlog-ddu

Monday the 16th January 2012 turned out to be quite a pleasant sunny day so having made some sandwiches and packed the camera we set of to Mynachlog-ddu, which means Black Monastery in Welsh, to explore some of the Preseli Hills.

Walk in the Preseli Hills
A Walk in the Preseli Hills Starting and Finishing at Mynachlog-ddu

This is wonderful countryside and an area rich with ancient monuments and mysterious places; not to mention being the source of the stone for the inner circle at Stonehenge.

We parked in the car park just where you enter the village and then walked north up the road for a few hundred yards before turning left along the road then after a little while took a right turn which crosses a cattle grid onto the common.

The Bluestones Monument on Mynachlog-ddu Common. Two stones were helicoptered down from the Bluestones outcrop of Carn Menyn (visible in the background of the image) in 1989. The other stone was taken to Stonehenge.

Follow the road across the common, passing the Bluestones Monument, and up to where the bridleway leaves the road (it is also possible to park here if you want to drive to this point). Leave the road and head gently uphill going virtually due north. The gradient is gentle with spectacular views. The path can get boggy in places and needs a little careful negotiation. Eventually, near the ridge,  the path meets another path crossing at ninety degrees. Take a right turn (East) and continue up towards the large stones/cairn, Carn Bica (shown below).

Cairn
Carn Bica

From here you walk down to Bedd Arthur (Arthur’s Grave) a small stone circle. This so-called stone circle lies overlooking the Bluestones outcrop of Carn Meini. It is actually oval or horse-shoe shaped leading to speculation that it may have been this site which influenced the original horseshoe of Bluestones at Stonehenge.

It comprises thirteen small standing stones along with two or three more now fallen. Some believe it may be a henge – others claim it is the remains of a small portal dolmen.

Bedd Arthur
Bedd Arthur or Arthur's Grave a Stone Circle in the Preseli Hills.

From Bedd Arthur continue in an Easterly direction along the track eventually you will pass behind a large conifer plantation, that looks very alien in this wild landscape, before descending back down to the road.

At this point note the memorial stone and take a moment to remember that what is now taken for granted (access to the Preseli Mountains and their prehistoric remains) was once nearly denied to the public. The plaque reads:

These mountains would not be accessible to walkers today if it were not for the brave stand by local inhabitants at the end of the 1940s. Soon after the Second World war, in November 1946, the War Office declared its intention to turn the Preselau into a permanent military training area.
That would mean turning more than 200 farmers from their homes. However, under the leadership of Nonconformist ministers and local headmasters, a spirited campaign was organised to withstand the threat. A barrister was employed to represent the Prescelly Preservation Committee and it was made abundantly clear that not an inch of land would be surrendered.
 
‘We nurture souls in these areas,’ was the precise comment of the Rev R. Parri Roberts when confronted by military officers. The ‘sanctity’ of the mountains was emphasized with their 38 bluestones transported to Stonehenge, over two thousand years ago, to become part of English heritage.
By spring 1948 the Government had give in to the determination of the people of Preselau. All present day farmers and walkers are indebted to those heros of yesterday. The full story can be read in the book ‘Battle of the Presaelau – the campaign to safeguard the ‘sacred’ Pembrokeshire Hills’ by Hefin Wyn.
Once back on the road turn south-west and walk back to your starting point at Mynachlog-ddu. The complete walk is around 7.5 miles. Enjoy!
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One thought on “A Walk in the Preseli Hills from Mynachlog-ddu”

  1. Dear John & Liz,

    Just came across your nice little website. I was interested to hear about the military being denied acess to the Preseli Hills – I never knew about that. Thank god they didn’t get their hands on them! Loved the photo’s also!

    All Best,

    Julian.

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