Preseli Stones Trail - Pembrokeshire County Council

Cycle Pembrokeshire

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Preseli Stones Trail

Overview
Information

    The Trail runs along the southern foothills of the Preseli Mountains and offers fine views in all directions.It starts near the former railway station at Rosebush and winds its way through Maenclochog and on to Mynachlogddu and Rhos Fach Common.

    On the Common you will see the rugged outcrops of Carn Menyn, source of the famous ‘bluestones’ which form the inner circle at Stonehenge.

    A small selection of the myriad of stones erected by our ancestors three to five thousand years ago can be seen from this Trail. They were once believed to harbour supernatural powers but their exact purpose remains a mystery to this day.

    Take time at the end of the Trail to explore the little village of Rosebush with its old zinc pub, railway relics and nearby slate quarries. Numerous mountain bike trails are available with direct access from the village

     
    Fact File
    Highlights

    A scenic route along the foothills of the Preseli Mountains. Prehistoric remains abound including standing stones, a stone circle and sites of ancient battles

    Grade: Moderate Trail Grading Statement

    Distance

    12 miles (19 km)

    Time 21/2  hours plus additional time for stops
    Start/Finish The Car Park, Rosebush (Grid Ref SN075295, Sat Nav SA66 7QU) Turn off B4313 road into Rosebush village following brown sign for Tafarn Sinc. Continue on road around Tafarn Sinc keeping the pub to   your left. Take the 1st left before the red telephone kiosk. Car Park is at the bottom of a short hill
    Nearest Station None within 5 miles
    Terrain Mainly quiet lanes and comfortable gradients
    Elevation

    Total climb (sum of all uphill sections)  -  264 metres

    Refreshments Rosebush and Maenclochog
    Toilets

    Maenclochog Castle Car Park

     

    Trail Directions (distances in miles)

    0.0       Start. Cycle up the short hill to the ‘T’ junction, turn right and after about 40 yards go straight ahead at the Give Way junction

    0.4       Bear left at Give Way. Take care as this next section runs along a ‘B’ Class road although traffic flows are not that high

    1.2       Immediately after the Maenclochog 30mph signs, pull into a side road junction on the left. Cornel Bach Standing Stones are in the first field on the right down this side road. Continue on the main road into Maenclochog village

    1.6       After a pause to explore the village, turn left next to Caffi’r Sgwar following signs for Llangolman. Once out of the village, and following a short climb and a slight right bend in the road, Galchen Fach Stone can be seen to the left in a gap between 2 fields

    4.5       Turn left (3rd junction on left after leaving Maenclochog) following sign for Mynachlogddu and Crymych. It’s also signed as being ‘Unsuitable for Wide Vehicles’. After about half a mile there’s an uphill section alongside St Dogmaels Church. You may wish to dismount and push your bike up this hill and pay a visit to this pleasant double-aisled church on the way

    5.7       Gors Fawr Stone Circle is accessible via a short walk from a style on the left hand side of the road adjacent to a stone mounted plaque

    6.5       Just before entering the village of Mynachlogddu, turn left following a sign for Rosebush

    6.8       Rhos Fach car park. Look out for Waldo’s Stone to the left of the road and the Bluestones Monument to the right of the road

    8.3       Glynsaithmaen

    11.3     Turn right at ‘T’ junction (cycle on the multi-user path if desired) and right again   after 300 yards following the road into Rosebush

    11.9     Finish at the Car Park, Rosebush

     

    Points of Interest along the Way
    1. Rosebush. A small village that owes its existence to the now disused slate quarries. Each quarry had its own dressing floor and tramways. A local land owner once attempted to turn the village into a Victorian spa resort and the arrival of the railway in 1876 led to a spate of developments. The land was dug out to provide lakes and ornamental gardens and the corrugated Preseli Hotel was built which has now been renamed Tafarn Sinc. Unfortunately the development proved to be a flop as the   water had no special properties, the railway failed because Brunel built a better railway to the south, and the quarries closed. Barbara Cartland’s grandfather invested the family fortune in the railway but lost it all and it was this that prompted her to start writing to help support the rest of the family. Most of the old quarries are just beyond the terrace of quarrymen’s cottages and are worth a visit to discover secluded pools and miles of tracks for walking and mountain biking.  

    2. Cornel Bach Standing Stones. Two standing stones that possibly once formed a cromlech or burial chamber that local people apparently blew up with gunpowder in the 18th century. Historical documentation refers to a large stone, several tons in weight, so nicely poised on three upright stones that it vibrated on the slightest touch and sounded like a bell when struck. Resonance is a particular acoustic phenomenon of some Preseli rocks. They have the rare property of being ‘musical’ and can ring like a bell or gong when struck with a small hammer-stone. This gave the village its name – Maenclochog or ‘ringing stone’ in English    

    3.  Maenclochog. A village with evidence of prehistoric occupation. Researchers have found the remains of a 13th century castle in the car park at the lower end of the main street. The village was once served by The Maenclochog Railway and a tunnel just south of the community achieved fame during the war when it was used as a testing site for Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bomb. The church on the village green contains 5th and 6th century inscribed stones dedicated to two brothers – Andagellus and Coimangus

    4.  Galchen Fach Stone. An 8’ 6” high stone with a slightly rounded top and a 2’ square base. It stands on a cairn and is sometimes referred to as Parc-y-Tywdd Maenhir

    5.  Gors Fawr Stone Circle. A prehistoric  ring of 16 stones (including 8 bluestones) which are thought to have been linked at one time via an avenue of stones to two outliers 150 yards away on the north east side of the circle. The 2 larger outliers are aligned with the solstice and one of them has strong magnetic qualities and is known locally as the ‘Dreaming Stone’

    6.  Mynachlogddu. This small village (translated ‘Black Monastery’ in English) is situated on a plateau in the heart of the Preseli Mountains. Between 1839 and 1843 the villagers here sparked a rebellion opposed to the Turnpike Laws that spread across most of South and Mid Wales. The Rebecca Riots were led by a local giant of a man Thomas Rees (Twm Carnabwth) and his grave-stone stands in the village’s Bethel Chapel. Mynachlogddu is also thought to be the site of the Battle of Mynydd Carn in 1081 between forces struggling for control of 2 Welsh kingdoms

    7.  Rhos Fach. On one side of the road is The Waldo Memorial stone commemorating Waldo Williams, one of the leading Welsh language poets of the twentieth century. He was a notable pacifist, anti-war campaigner and Welsh nationalist. On the other side of the road is the Bluestones Monument, beyond which in the distance you can see the jagged outcrops of Carn Menyn, sometimes referred to as The Dragon’s Back. This hilltop was the source of the famous ‘bluestones’ which form the inner circle at Stonehenge. Head to the hedge and fence at the edge of the common (keeping the view of Carn Menyn to your right) and you will see the Rhos Fach standing stone pair in the adjoining field

    8.  Glynsaethmaen. The name of a farm which in English is ‘valley of the seven stones’. Finding these stones can be a bit of a treasure hunt. The most famous are Cerrig Meibion Arthur – The Stones of Arthur’s sons. Legend has it that they were erected by King Arthur at the graves of his two sons killed at this very spot during a battle with a beast like creature which had evaded capture by his warriors. The stones are just off the lane leading north to Cwm Garw but can be seen in the distance to the right of the road at a point where it drops down to a bridge near the cattle grid sign. Gate Standing Stone is slightly easier to locate – on the right 3 fields after the sharp bend just beyond Glynsaethmaen. The top of the stone is visible from the field gate but the structure can more clearly be seen if you clamber up the hedgebank a little further up the hill. It has a chisel-shaped top and some say it resembles the shape of  an owl. At the entrance to Glynsaethman is a monolith memorial to W.R.Evans, a bard, teacher and local historian born and brought up on this farm. The first of the Rebecca Riots meetings was held in a barn at this farm and their leader, Thomas Rees, lived and worked in the nearby farmstead

    ID: 3710, revised 03/08/2018