Pembrokeshire's National Park - a Visitor's Guide

Map of Pembrokeshire National Park showing principal Towns and Cities and Beaches

Our map shows the main towns and the accessible beaches in Pembrokeshire. Many more beaches can be visited via the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, we have left these out for you to discover yourselves.

What follows is not an exhaustive list of all the Park's attractions. It concentrates on those within the actual boundary of the park, though more well known ones may be only a mile or two outside. Pembroke Castle and St Dogmael's Abbey are cases in point.

Gardens

Picton Castle Gardens

There are several beautiful gardens within the Park. Colby Woodland Gardens (NT) Bosherston Lily Ponds (NT), Upton Castle Gardens and Picton Castle Woodland Gardens. Smaller gardens of note are Moorland Cottage Garden at Brynberion, Dyffryn Fernant at Llanychaer and Penlan Uchaf in the Gwaun Valley.

There are several other smaller gardens on the borders of the park. An hours drive from the Park will bring you to the National Botanic Gardens and Aberglasney .There are two Country parks near the Preseli Hills - Scolton Manor Country Park & Llys y Fran.

Historical

Ancient History

Pentre Ifan, Brynberion

The Preselis are famous for being Bluestone Couuntry and there are a considerable number of neolithic remains, of which the Pentre Ifan burial chamber, is easily the most impressive.

There is also Castle Henllys, a reconstruction of a bronze age village just outside Eglwswrw, which is worth exploring with the family .

Pre-Norman conquest

Celtic Cross at Nevern Church

The current logo for CADW is taken fron the Cross standing by the verge of the A4075 at Carew.

The church at Nevern, St. Brynach’s, was founded in the 5th Century and is famous for its avenue of 700 year old yew trees. One of them is the famous bleeding yew tree for which various legends exist. Outside there is a magnificent Celtic Cross which stands 13ft (4m) high and is acknowledged as one of the finest in existence. Inside the church is the "Rosetta Stone" of the Celtic Ogham language as it had the Latin equivalent incised in it as well as Ogham script.

The Middle Ages

Inside Manorbier Castle

The Park has a number of castles within it. Manorbier is easily the most impressive as it is remarkably well preserved and has a dominant position close to the sea. Carew is not really a castle, but a dramatic Elizabethan house built in the fortified style beautifully situated overlooking the Carew tidal river.

Picton Castle has marvellous gardens and a playground that will delight children of all ages. As Benton Castle is in private hands, its white tower is best viewed from the Daugleddau Estuary. There are, in fact, twenty castles within half an hour's drive from the park, though only fifteen are open to the public. Cilgerran, Pembroke and Laugharne should certainly be on your "visit" list.

Ecclesiastical

St David's Cathedral

St David's Cathedral dominates the town, but the adjacent Bishops Palace, though a ruin, is also worth exploring. St Govan's Chapel clings to the cliffs near Stackpole in South Pembrokeshire. There is a ruined church on the beach at Cwm yr Eglwys near Dinas. Though the Cistercians of Caldey Island have a "modern" Abbey (built in 1906), much of the ancient 12th Century Priory still remains. In Tenby is a unique survival from the Middle Ages, a Tudor Merchant's house (NT).

Within a few miles of the park's boundaries are the remains of the Bishop's Palace at Lamphey and St Dogmael's Abbey is adjacent to Cardigan. Slightly further away, just outside Llandeilo, are the ruins of Talley Abbey

Museums

There is a museum at Tenby that relates the tale of the nautical history of the town. There are three just outside the Park's boundaries - Scolton Manor Museum and the Museum of Speed. Within half an hour's drive of the Park's Northern bioundary are a Toy Museum and an Industrial Engine Museum.

Tourist Attractions

Folly Farm

You may, or may not, be pleased to find almost a total absence of amusement arcades (other than a few in Tenby & Saundersfoot), casinos, cinemas and tourist "traps" of any sort. The Park abounds in natural beauty rather than "man made" attractions.

However there are a few within the Park's confines (or very close) - Karting takes place at Carew and as Tenby is a tourist resort of over a hundred year's standing, it also has an Aquarium and a Soft Play venue! Within three miles of the Park's boundaries are a Wild Life Park - excellent for entertaining small children - as is Folly Farm. There is a Dinosaur Park and a Sports Park. Oakwood is very near the Eastern Cleddau river. Avondale Glassmaking is at Kilgetty. Close to the Northern boundary is a Shire Horse Farm

The Preseli Hills

Preseli Hills View

There are a number of places that are "off the beaten track" that are well worth exploring. Rosebush once had a thriving quarry that helped fund a Great Western Railway branch line (opened in 1876) Unfortunately it never thrived and opened and closed with great regularity (ending all passenger traffic in 1937). That's really the sum total of large scale industrial activity!

In the foothills there are a couple craft workshops that will interest the visitor - John & Victoria's Jewellery Workshop at Llechryd and The Slate Workshop at Llangolman.

Rosebush

Tafarn inc at Rosebush

A particular favourite of my family at Rosebush is the Old Post Office Restaurant (originally the slate quarry owner's house), but the Tafarn Sinc (corugated sheeting! see picture) is equally worth a visit.

Afterwards we tend to walk it off on the climb to Cerrig Lladron (magnificent views of Pembrokeshire) or visit the Country Park at Llys y Fran and attempt part of the seven mile walk around its perimeter.

Rosebush is also noted for Pant Mawr Farmhouse hand made Cheeses.

Villages

Preseli Hills View

Many of the villages nestling in the foothills are very attractive, but the absence of thatched roofs makes them look very different from their West Country cousins.

Not far from Rosebush is a unique thatched cottage - the last one built overnight, Ty Unos - built on land claimed "as far as a stone can be thrown". A practice that the present day County Council planning department would probably not approve of!

By way of a complete contrast, there are impressive castles at Cilgerran and and Llawhaden.

Scolton Manor Country Park & Museun

Scolton Park Play Area Scolton Park Information Exhibition

Further south is Scolton Park with one of the most interesting museums of Victoriana that I have seen.

Of greater interest to families is that it has an excellent children's playground, several picnic tables, a Tea Room and the only public toilet on the road from Eglwswrw to Haverfordwest!

The Gwaun Valley

Preseli Hills Cottage

To the east is the Gwaun Valley. A secluded valley that time has almost forgotten about - well it has really, for it is one of the last remaining outposts of the Julian (47 BC) calender rather than the Gregorian (adopted 1752) Unlike the rest of the country, they celebrate the New Year on the 14th of January!

Dyffryn Fernant at Llanychaer represents 15 years of endeavour in the creation of a beautiful six acre garden from scratch.

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25th September 2017
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