Surrounded by the sea on three sides, Pembrokeshire is a truly coastal county – if you look on a map you can see it is almost the same shape geographically as Wales as a whole. Nowwhere in Pembrokeshire is more than 12 miles to the coast and so it has always been influenced by this link to the sea and to lands afar. The county’s remoteness creates a real sense of isolationa and separateness from the wider world – something that is treasured by its visitors and cherished by those who live her in the very far west of Wales.
Not only is this place a wonder for those who care about the environment and coastal rurality, but is also rich in ancient history, particularly on the hills and coastline. The evidence of the ancient peoples of the stone age and iron age can be found all around the county and evidence of the trading that took place along the beaches and river creeks.
There are three areas in Wales that are scattered with cromlechs – the far west coastal regions of Anglesey, Carnarfonshire and Pembrokeshire. Dating from 3600-3000BC these massive stone chambers within earth or stone mounds are most usually found in the lower areas near the sea and it is believed they were a central gathering point for clans making their living from the land and sea.
Pembrokeshire’s most iconic portal dolmen is found on the Hill of Angels (Carn Ingli) at Pentre Ifan – this is so huge that a rider can pass beneath it on a horse.
Other remains well worth seeking out include Coetan Arthur near Newport, Carreg Samson near Abercastle and the flint factory at carn meini near Mynachlog-ddu in the Preseli HIlls.
Whether or not the bluestones found at Stonehenge were really transported from Pembrokeshire is still a matter of some conjecture, but there is plenty of other evidence to explore right here in West Wales.
With thanks to North Pembrokeshire artist, Barbara Price for her images inspired by the ancient stones of our county.