Information for visitors to Bluestone Country
The heart of Bluestone Country lies within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in South West Wales and is only just over two hours’ drive from the Severn Bridge.
This is the land where each and every one of us can step back in time and experience a calm and tranquillity that nowadays money cannot buy. This is the land where its roots pre-date history with Neolithic burial Chambers (including Pentre Ifan with its huge pillars and capstone) and iron-age forts dotted across the skyline. This is the land of Celtic mystery and the famous Preseli Bluestone – the source of the stones that form the inner sanctum of Stonehenge. This is the land of legends, tradition and old customs which still abound. Even the ‘Old New Year’ – Hen Galan – is still celebrated on 13 January.
For walkers, this is the land of wonderful coastlines (there are some 180 miles of National Park coast path to explore within and around Bluestone Country) and inland walks through the Gwaun Valley (with its river banks of ancient forests) and over the moorlands and peaks of the Preseli’s where, on a clear day, Ireland can be seen to the West and Snowdon to the North.
For nature lovers, this is the land of abundant wildlife where badgers, buzzards, merlin, ravens and red kites are frequently seen whilst goshawks, harriers, peregrine falcons, polecats and otters are also spotted from time to time.
For marine enthusiasts, there are numerous boat trips to see seals, spectacular cliffs and caves, and the seabirds which frequent the many island bird sanctuaries that lie off the Pembrokeshire coast, whilst Cardigan Bay is renowned for its bottlenose dolphins. So rich in wildlife is this whole area, that much of the Pembrokeshire Coast and its National Park has been designated as an European SAC (Special Area Conservation).
At the heart of this land is the ancient borough of Newport with its Norman castle, golf course, boat club and wonderful mile-long beach ideal for bathing, sailing and windsurfing. Excellent sea and river fishing for salmon, trout and sewin can be enjoyed here whilst fly fishing enthusiasts can also benefit from the richly stocked reservoir of Llys-y-Fran. Alternatively, conquering Carn Ingli on horseback or foot offers breathtaking views over the wide expanse of the North Pembrokeshire Coast and Cardigan Bay.
For botanists and garden lovers the area has many worthwhile gardens and attractions both within and around its boundaries (Llanerchaeron, Aberglasney and the National Botanical Gardens of Wales are all within easy striking distance.) The shopping centres of Cardigan with its wildlife park, Haverfordwest with its castle, Fishguard with its extraordinary Tapestry depicting the events of the Last Invasion of Great Britain in 1797, and St. Davids with its magnificent cathedral and Oriel y Parc are but short car trips away. The area abounds with potters, wood-turners, weavers, candle makers and the like producing quality hand-made products.
Each season has its own attraction, the beautiful carpets of bluebells, snowdrops and pink campions in the Spring, the stunning blaze of foxglove and flag iris with a glimpse of wild orchids in the Summer or the colourful tints of the heathers, wild gorse and changing leaves in the Autumn. Even in the depth of Winter nature has a beauty all of its own. Whether it be the frost covered peaks, crystal clear skies, crisp air or the exhilaration of blustery winds, the whole scene is enhanced knowing that in the evening you will be able to find the snug warmth of many of the area’s fine restaurants, boasting superb ingredients from the locality. Whatever the season, if you are looking for peace and want to escape to another world, Bluestone Country is the place for you.