Activities you must try in the Preseli Hills
Published: Friday 28th Feb 2014
Written by: Anita Lee
The Preseli Hills in West Wales have been a popular feature of the Welsh countryside for hundreds of years. They came under even closer scrutiny and speculation in the early 1900s when it was discovered that the bluestone that is evident throughout the hills directly corresponds to that of the famed Stonehenge relic in Wiltshire, some 180 miles away.
Often visited by families and couples staying in Pembrokeshire holiday properties looking to take in the dramatic Welsh landscape, the bluestone acts as a stunning backdrop to hundreds of activities that are carried out by visitors to the area. From running to caving, there is no end to the activities that this challenging environment provides.
The secret history of the Preseli Hills bluestone
The Welsh attraction was elevated from its status as simply a pretty landscape when the petrologist Herbert Henry Thomas realised in 1923 that the bluestone used to create Stonehenge’s inner circle was directly related to the bluestone found in the Welsh hills. This relationship between the Preseli Hills bluestone and Stonehenge was further established by contemporary geologists who realised that the bluestone actually came from the craggy rock group Carn Menyn in the hills specifically.
It is still a mystery as to how the bluestone travelled such a great distance to a structure that was believed to have been created as early as 3000 BC, but this just adds to the magic of the Preseli Hills and provides a unique story for visitors to explore during their activities in the hills.
The hills are only the second inland area to be covered by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which is itself a unique sight as the only coastal national park in the UK; the other inland area is the upper reaches of the Daugleddau estuary, dubbed the ‘secret waterway’. For this reason the entirety of the hills is an area of outstanding natural beauty and one that begs the attention of adrenaline seekers and active families.
Thanks to its rough and ready mountain terrain, the bluestone area offers some fantastic opportunities for cycle enthusiasts. Whether as part of a group, on a family day out or going solo to take in the breath-taking scenery, there are many reasons that going by bike is the only way. Carninglibikehire is a great bike hire service nearby in the heart of Newport, Pembrokeshire; they offer information about various routes throughout the hills and have maps freely available for their customers to use.
Slightly further afield is West Wales Trails in Carmarthenshire for those who are looking for a more energetic cycling route than a tranquil journey through the hills. They offer some fantastic mountain biking courses for visitors of all ages to get their teeth into.
Those who are travelling up to the hills from their Tenby holiday properties can make the most out of the village’s Ironman history and talk to Tenby Cycles before planning a cycling expedition through the Preseli Hills. They are also great if you just want to get your bike serviced before taking it up to the hill for a day of adventure as they offer years of experience at great prices.
For those who prefer two legs to two wheels, the bluestone area is widely regarded for its numerous hiking routes. Whether you are more of a casual rambler or a determined mountain hiker, there is no end to the experiences this area of Pembrokeshire can offer.
Walking around the hills gives visitors a great opportunity to really explore the magic of the bluestone area and there are plenty of services available to make the activity easier, including the Preseli Green Dragon Bus service. The service stops at all the major access points, allowing ramblers to explore to their heart’s content.
There are numerous landmarks to spot on trails in and around the hills and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park website offers some fantastic routes and information that is well worth a read before the off. With some great relics to see along the way including the Gors Fawr Stone Circle – which certainly gives Stonehenge a run for its money - and Carn Menyn with its bluestone outcrops, a walking holiday acts as one of the best ways to see Pembrokeshire.
Do you know of any other activities that must be tried when in the Preseli Hills and Pembrokeshire? Share your ideas and photos of your previous trips on the Powells Facebook page.