Discover the Arthurian Legend Preseli Hills: Pembrokeshire
2017 sees the Welsh Tourism Board celebrating its epic year of legends. In light of this I made the 150 mile journey from my current home in Somerset, to the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire. I was in search of 'The Golden Road', a 6 mile route that runs across the spine of the Mynydd Preseli. Littered with ancient hill forts, burial grounds and stone circles, there is no doubt of the history that lies within these hills. However, I was searching for the rumoured remains of Arthurian legend; I was on a quest to find Bedd Arthur, said to be the great King Arthur's final resting place.
Quest for King Arthur's Grave
It took a couple of false starts in a shroud of sea mist, before I found the main thoroughfare. Foel Eryr marks the start of the route and is home to a Bronze Age burial cairn. Reaching its peak I stood upon cairn and tried to imagine the view on a sunny day; views straight out to the Irish Sea and to my right the Welsh coast toward Cardigan Bay. This particular hill may have held history, but it wasn't quite the key feature I was after.
Bedd Arthur, Bog & Bountiful Views
Take two begun the next morning and thankfully this time the weather held up. Walking the route from its end, I abandoned the car by the base of Foel Drygarn and trundled through boggy marshland. From here I completed the steep remainder of the 1200ft climb, wild ponies roaming beneath the summit. Here three Bronze-Age burial cairns (dated 350BC) stand on high, offering undulating views over Preseli from their outcrop.
I took an opportunity to gain my bearings and attempted to navigate a path to the stones I believed were possibly Bedd Arthur. By passing Foel Feddau, I ran towards the rocky tor of Carn Bica, where I believe I uncovered Bedd Arthur. I certainly stumbled across a ring of stones I considered could be the shape of an eye. It is thought that there may once have been a burial mound within the circle, since eroded. Although, it is also argued that the stones are much older than the legend of Arthur regardless. Either way I felt I had come close to tracing past tracks of history in Preseli.
It's Not All About Arthur
My quest was to retrace the footsteps of the Arthurian legend, but the stones found scattered all over the landscape are pretty significant too. Preseli Bluestones are scientifically recognized as the same stones found in Stonehenge. How the stones were transported from the Welsh mountains to rural Wiltshire is still up for debate, but you can't disregard the beauty or significance of these stones embedded across the peaks of Preseli.
For further information on the legend behind King Arthur and 'The Golden Road':