Nevern, a small hamlet on the banks of the trout-filled River Afon Nyfer, is a rural enchantment that for many years has been named Pembrokeshire’s Prettiest Village. A walk along the river valley at any time of year will convince you you're in paradise - no coincidence that Nevern rhymes with heaven!
A visit to the village will satisfy those with a liking for colourful history. At its heart is the 12th century St Brynach church and by its ever open door stands the thirteen-foot high, 10th century Nevern Cross of intricately carved stone knot work. Villagers once gathered around this cross on April 7th – St Brynach’s feast day – to await the arrival of the first cuckoo.
Leading up to the church is the extraordinary avenue of 700-year-old yews, one of which continuously drips red sap from its branches. Various legends offer explanations: one is that the bleeding will continue until the nearby castle is restored into Welsh hands; an alternative, more prosaic version is that it mourns the hanging nearby of an innocent man many years ago.
In medieval times, Nevern was an important administrative centre. It has a number of historic monuments, including an ancient bridge and the remains of a castle on the north side of the village via the back road to Moylegrove. Originally a Welsh stronghold, it was seized in the early 12th century by the Norman Robert Fitzmartin, Lord of Cemmaes, who built a motte and a large bailey defended by double earthen ramparts. There’s not much left of it today, but you can get a sense of its powerful position. The site has a particular tranquillity which makes it a lovely place to wander and children will love to put their imaginations to the test.
This site was bought in 1980 by Nevern Community Council for the benefit of the local community; working with Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, they have made great efforts to look after the site and open it up for all to enjoy.
You can take an easy circular walk by striking up a path which goes to the east of the church, making a detour to look round the castle site. Follow signs to the Pilgrims’ Cross and the path takes you along the banks of the delightful shallow river with its many little ‘beaches’ which just cry out to be used as bases for happy paddling sessions.
The woodland and water meadows are so peaceful and sheltered that this walk can give a sense of true relaxation to visitors of all ages. It’s only just over 2 miles, but give yourselves at least half a day and take a picnic; alternatively, you could have lunch or dinner at the pub if you time your return to the village just right. In springtime, you'll see carpets of celandines and primroses followed by violets and wood anemones just before the bluebells bloom in late April/early May.
Around 3 miles to the east of Nevern is the fascinating reconstructed Iron Age hill fort of Castell Henllys, which benefits from a team who bring the settlement to life through re-enactments. Children love this experience and it’s really easy to imagine that modern life has entirely dissolved.
In Nevern village itself is the Trewern Arms which serves traditional fare and ales. Other pubs and cafés can be found in Newport, the quaint town which lies just 2 miles west.
See more things to do in North Pembrokeshire.
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