The 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.
A 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.
There are always many small birds flitting about in the branches and you might spot Tree Pipits, Redstarts, Tits, Nuthatches and Pied Flycatchers. Dippers 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:
There is a Candle Centre at Cilgwyn as well as Cilrhedyn Woodland Centre.
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.
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.
If you fancy a spot of strenuous exercise, you can hire bikes from the Carningli Bike Hire
Looking for somewhere to stay near the Gwaun Valley?
Why not take a look at our holiday cottages in the Preseli Hills area?