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Cycle Pembrokeshire

|Name like '%Preseli Hinterland Trail%'|Route like '%Preseli Hinterland Trail%'

Preseli Hinterland Trail

Overview
Information

    An interesting long distance trail around the Preseli hills area of North Pembrokeshire. It starts and finishes on the sea front at Goodwick next to the Irish Sea ferry port entrance. This is also the start/end of National Cycle Network Route 4 (NCN4). The trail also links with NCN47 and NCN82, and with the Dewisland, Settlements, Last Invasion, Preseli Stones and Crymych trails. It follows the course of the Afon Gwaun upstream through the Gwaun Valley and then on through the valley of Afon Nyfer before climbing up and around the eastern and southern foothills of the Preseli range. Apart from the superb views, there is so much to see as you cycle along this trail including numerous historical sites, remote communities, and a contrast of landscapes from ancient wooded valleys to mountains and moorlands

    Fact File
    Highlights

    A scenic longer distance trail through the enchanted lower landscapes of the Preseli hills. Visit remote villages, ancient woodlands, moorlands and numerous sites of historical interest

    Grade: Active 

    Distance

    51 miles (81 km)

    Time All day - including time for brief stops
    Start/Finish The Parrog Car Park, Goodwick (Grid Ref SM946380, Sat Nav SA64 0DE). Charges apply from March to October. On the A40 road at Goodwick seafront, turn at the roundabout towards the ferry terminal and turn right again at the nearby roundabout. The car park is on the left. An alternative free car park is available on the other side of the A40 road behind the filling station
    Nearest Station

    Fishguard & Goodwick 200 yards. A cycle path leads down to the start of the trail

    Terrain Mostly on quiet country roads but with a very short section along the main road through Fishguard (20 mph speed limit) near the start and a 31/2 mile section (generally downhill) along the quieter A487 road on the approach to Goodwick at the end. Gradients are reasonably shallow for the most part but are steeper in places particularly near the start of the trail, on the approach to Pentre Ifan, and at locations where the trail pulls out of some of the valleys. None of these hills should provide a problem for anyone used to cycling but you may wish to push your bike up some of the steepest sections if you find them difficult. In reality this will not add considerably to the duration of the ride and provides a short break from cycling and an opportunity to take in the views
    Elevation

    Total climb (sum of all uphill sections) - 1215 metres

    Refreshments

    Goodwick, Fishguard and Maenclochog

    Toilets

    Goodwick, Fishguard, Maenclochog plus customer facilities along the route (mostly public houses)

     

    Trail Directions(distances in miles)

    0.0       Start. Join the promenade path in front of the car park and turn right following National Cycle Network Route 4 (NCN4). At the end of the sea front follow the cycle path up the hill, cross the main road and continue on the cycle path up through and beyond a wooded area until you reach the junction with NCN47. Turn left onto NCN4 and continue on the path up the hill

    1.2       Where the path joins a road, turn left and follow this road for nearly 300 yards. At the ‘T’ junction just beyond a fire station turn right. Take care on this next section as it’s a main road although a 20 mph speed limit is in place. After 1/4 mile turn left on the roundabout at Fishguard Square. Turn right just after the church and left at the next junction following signs for NCN47. Follow this road out of town ignoring any side road junctions

    3.8       Continue through the small village of Llanychaer and after 1/2 mile follow the road around to the left. A couple of hundred yards after this bend, look out for the old farmhouse (Garn) on the right which has one of the best preserved ‘Flemish chimneys’ in Wales. A 1/4 mile further on bear left onto a side road signed NCN82 and Cwm Gwaun (Gwaun Valley). Follow this down into the valley, over a narrow bridge, and then along the valley floor for about 5 miles, rising out of the valley once again at the far end

    10.3     In the very small hamlet of Cilgwyn, turn left following a sign for Newport. You will then pass the Bluestone Brewery Visitor Centre on your left. After 250 yards turn right away from NCN82 following a sign for Nevern. Continue on this road for over 11/2 miles ignoring any side turns

    12.1     At the signed crossroads turn right and right again after 11/4 miles following signs for Burial Chamber. Continue up the quite steep hill for nearly 3/4 mile and Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber is along a short path to the right. Cycle stands are available at the side of the road. After an optional visit continue on the road for nearly 1 mile

    14.9     Turn left at the crossroads (after passing a former school on the right). After nearly 1/2 mile continue on past an ’Unsuitable for Wide Vehicles’ sign. As you descend steeply down on the twisty road into a valley you will see the craggy rock outcrop of Craig Rhosyfelin directly ahead. The road drops into a ford – use the footbridge on the right to avoid getting wet. Craig Rhosyfelin can be accessed via a footpath on the right just before the ford. At the top of the hill (after the ford) turn left and continue with care along the main road for 1/4 mile

    16.5     In the small hamlet of Crosswell turn right at the crossroads. Continue on this road for just over 3 miles ignoring all side road turns

    19.7     Turn right at the ‘T’ junction and right again after 200 yards. Foeldrygarn with its hilltop forts will be clearly visible on the right ahead. After a further 11/4 miles turn right at the ‘T’ junction. Two access trails for walking up to Foeldrygarn are available on the right about 300 yards beyond this junction. After a further 2 miles you will pass through the village of Mynachlogddu. At the end of the village turn right following a sign for Rosebush. After just over 1/4 mile look out for Waldo’s Stone to the left and the Bluestones Monument to the right. Continue on over a cattle grid and a sharp bend to the left. Ignore the first junction to the left about 1/2 mile beyond this bend and carry on the next left turn junction                              

    26.8     Turn left into the side road and follow this straight road for 1/2 mile. Turn right at the ‘T’ junction and on into Maenclochog village. Turn right at the ‘T’ junction in the village next to the café (there are public toilets in the car park 70 yards to the left). Carry on out of the village and take the first left following a sign for Tufton. After a short distance the road goes over an old bridge and passes a farm on the left. Turn left immediately after this farm

    30.3     At the crossroads turn right following a sign for Llysyfran. Turn right at the next junction following a sign for Tufton (also signed ‘Unsuitable for Long Vehicles’). After dropping into and rising out of a valley, ignore the side road junction on the right. Carry on into and out of another valley until you arrive at a crossroads. Continue straight on over the main road following the sign for Letterston. Less than 1/2 mile further on turn right at the crossroads following the sign for Castlebythe

    35.2     At Castlebythe go straight ahead at the crossroads along the road with a low headroom sign. This next 21/2 mile section of the trail goes through the remote community of Morvil and you may find a gate across the road which will need to be opened. Don’t forget to close it again after passing through. Before heading down into the valley you may spot the route of the disused North Pembrokeshire and Fishguard Railway on the other side of the valley floor. This section was operational between 1899 and 1952 and has a very interesting history associated with it. Hopefully it may be recovered as a walking and cycling trail in the future, possibly a part of an improved NCN47

    37.7     Turn left at the ‘T’ junction and carry on along this road for nearly 2 miles until you enter the village of Puncheston. Turn right just after the Drovers Arms following the sign for Trecwn. This road will take you past a stretch of moorland with a distant view of the Preseli hills to the right. After about 2 miles follow the road around the bend to the left (ignore the junction to the right) and after a further 1/4 mile or so turn left at the ‘T’ junction. Then after 50 yds turn right following the sign for Letterston and go straight ahead at the next crossroads along the road with a low headroom sign

    44.4     Turn left at the ‘T’ junction onto the main A40 road then turn right after 50 yards following the sign for Mathry. Take great care as this main road can be quite busy at times. You may wish to dismount and push your bike along a section of the main road verge and then directly over into the side road when the main road is clear. Continue on the side road for just over 1/4 mile and turn right at the crossroads. After just over 11/2 miles you will pass Jordanston Church on your left

    46.8     Go straight ahead at the crossroads following the sign for Goodwick. At the top of the hill, and immediately adjacent to the hedge on your left, you may catch a view of a large Iron Age banked enclosure known as Castell Hendre-wen. Carry on to the ‘T’ junction and turn right onto the A487 road. Follow this road (with care) for just over 2 miles until you enter Goodwick

    49.8     After passing the ‘Goodwick’ place name sign, turn right onto a lane signed for Ivybridge. Once under the old bridge join a cycle path on the left and follow this all the way to the sea front path at Goodwick taking care whilst crossing the main A40 road. Turn left and follow the path back along the promenade

    50.7     Finish at Parrog Car Park

     

    Points of Interest along the Way
    1. Mynydd Preseli. A range of hills (or mountains if translated literally) formed by very hard volcanic igneous rocks. The high outcrops at the eastern end are the source of the Stonehenge bluestones. Because of their strategic location between Ireland and Britain, the Preseli hills emerged as one of the great centres of Celtic culture. The hills are littered with cairns and standing stones. Many of the old Mabinogion stories are centred here and tales of King Arthur abound

    2. Goodwick. Once a small fishing village, now home to the Irish Sea ferry terminal and also the Sea Trust’s marine wildlife exhibition at the Ocean Lab alongside the trail.Goodwick Sands is where the defeated French invasion force assembled prior to their surrender in 1797

    3. Fishguard. A market town with a small picturesque harbour nearby. Adjacent to the trail at Fishguard Square is the Town Hall where you can view the famous 100ft long Last Invasion Tapestry

    4. Cwm Gwaun. A deep valley lined with beech woods. The valley is a relic of the ice age and is sometimes referred to as the secret ‘cwm’. It is certainly a step back in time – locals still stick to the pre-1752 Julian calendar and celebrate New Year in the middle of January

    5. Pentre Ifan. Undoubtedly the most popular megalithic site in Wales with a location that is truly spectacular. A splendid burial chamber/dolmen dating back to about 3500 BC

    6. Craig Rhosyfelin. An impressive craggy outcrop of rocks within a deep secluded valley. At least one of the famous Stonehenge bluestones originated from this site

    7. Foeldrygarn. A late Bronze Age hill fort (capped with three cairns) which stands at the end of the Preseli range. It is one of the most dramatically sited and visually striking hill forts in Wales

    8. Mynachlogddu. A small community where, in the 19th Century, villagers sparked a rebellion in opposition to the Turnpike Laws – this was the start of the Rebecca Riots which later spread around much of the country. Just after leaving the village you pass the Bluestones Monument and the Waldo Memorial Stone commemorating one of the leading Welsh language poets of the twentieth century 

    9. Maenclochog. ‘Ringing Stone’ in English, named after rocks in the area which have a musical property and can ring like a bell or gong when struck. A disused railway tunnel just south of the village was used as a testing site for Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bomb during World War ll

    10. Morvil. A lonely place with a scattering of farms – sometimes referred to as ‘the lost village’. Chiefly notable because of stories of people seeing phantom battles in the sky above Mynydd Morvil – the hill ahead of you as you cycle down into the valley

    11. Puncheston. A remote village with a strong link to the old days of the drovers – once referred to as the ‘cowboys’ of the Wild West of Wales. The droving routes were used to move cattle across the country and were kept well clear of the growing number of turnpike roads in order to avoid the payment of tolls

    12. Jordanston Church. A small church, dedicated to St Cwrda, which dates back to the 13th Century. It has an association with a wealth of historical characters, including David Lloyd George (Prime Minister 1916 – 1922). His family farmed here and his father, grandparents and other relatives are buried in the churchyard

    ID: 5882, revised 06/08/2020