The Gwaun Valley Guide - West Wales Holiday Cottages
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The Gwaun Valley

Gwaun Valley MapThe Gwaun Valley was formed by massive torrents of meltwater from retreating glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age. The resultant steep-sided narrow valley is an enchanted place of dense, ancient woodland and narrow, winding lanes. A visit to North Pembrokeshire would not be complete without a trip to the Gwaun.

gwaun valley fieldA Delight in all Seasons

In summer, the river is a lazily meandering stream passing through alder marshes interspersed with water meadows full of honey-scented meadowsweet. You might even find a shady pool in which to take a dip – but the water’s always cold!  In spring the bluebells are a sight to behold; autumn colours are delicious and in winter the leafless trees show off their coats of moss and lichens

Grey Wagtail

There are always many small birds flitting about in the branches and you might spot Tree Pipits, Redstarts, Tits, Nuthatches and Pied FlycatchersDippers and Grey Wagtails can often be seen bobbing about near the water. Circling above are Buzzards, Sparrow Hawks and Red Kites. See our Birdwatching in West Wales pages for more information.  Lucky visitors will spot otters, polecats or dormice.

 

Gardens in the Valley

There are two interesting gardens open to the public.  These are:

  • Dyffryn Fernant Gardens – on the minor road between Llanychaer and the main coast road between Fishguard and Dinas. Open 12.00 – 6.00pm Wednesday – Sunday plus Bank Holiday Mondays and Tuesdays from East to end September  

  • Penlan Uchaf Gardens consist of a herb garden, a variety of spring bulbs, alpine beds, conifers, herbaceous borders and flowering shrubs, with a mountain stream flowing amongst them. The site is accessed via a steep driveway and it’s therefore no surprise that one of the bonuses of the garden is the stunning view across the Preseli Hills.  This is an ideal starting or rest point for the miles of walks in and around the Gwaun Valley and the bonus is tea and home baked cake or soup all served in the conservatory at the farmhouse by the friendly owner. There is a small entry fee. Carn Edward Longhorn Beef and Welsh Lamb can be bought from the butchery at the gardens, open on Saturdays, or you can buy online.

There is a Candle Centre at Cilgwyn as well as Cilrhedyn Woodland Centre.

beech treeLiquid Refreshment

For those keen on a drop of real ale, you can have a fine time in the Gwaun. A granary at Kilkiffeth Farm is now a licensed microbrewery and shop, where you can meet the pigs which feast on the brewer’s grain.  Acoustic music sessions are held every Saturday evening.

Around the corner is the famous Dyffryn Arms run by the formidable Bessie Davies. Basically it’s her licensed front room where she once informed a startled visitor complaining of cloudy ale “What do you expect for £1.50 – a bl**dy thunderstorm!”

Locals are not without their endearing quirks. Those in the hamlets of Pontfaen and Llanychaer celebrate New Year's Day on 13th January according to the old Julian calendar! Nothing to do with Bessie they say.

Good Food

Hungry from your wanderings? Try the Tregynon Farmhouse Restaurant, acclaimed in the national press for its home cooking which is often straight out of its own smokehouse. Vegetarian dishes are a speciality. There is also the excellent Gellifawr hotel and restaurant.  The nearby coastal village of Newport has a good selection of cafés and pubs.

Cycling

If you fancy a spot of strenuous exercise, you can hire bikes from the Carningli Bike Hire

The Celtic Trail and the Lon Teifi long distance cycle routes both go along the Gwaun Valley but diverge mid way along. The Lon Teifi follows the entire valley as it heads towards Aberystwyth

Looking for somewhere to stay near the Gwaun Valley?

Why not take a look at our holiday cottages in the Preseli Hills area?