The Preseli Hills or Preseli Mountains (Welsh: Mynyddoedd Y Preseli / Y Preselau—also spelt Presely) (and also recorded as Mynydd Prescelly) are a range of hills in north Pembrokeshire, West Wales, mostly within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
The range contains many prehistoric sites and is a popular tourist destination.
The hills rise to 536 metres (1,760 feet) above sea level at Foel Cwmcerwyn and stretch from Dinas Island, Cardigan Bay to Frenni Fach, near Crymych approximately 20 km to the east. The ancient 8-mile (13km) track along the top of the range is known as The Golden Road.
Pre-history and bluestones
The Preselis are dotted with prehistoric remains, including evidence of Neolithic settlement. In 1923 the petrologist Herbert Henry Thomas identified that bluestone from the hills corresponded to that used to build the inner circle of Stonehenge, and more recent geologists have identified Carn Menyn (formerly called Carn Meini) as one of the bluestone sources. Advanced details of the most recent contribution to the puzzle of the precise origin of the Stonehenge bluestones were published by the BBC in November 2013.
Sacred and historic sites
Sacred and historic sites of the Preseli Mountains include:
Carn Goedog (bluestones)
Carn Ingli 428 ha SSSI
Carn Menyn (chambered cairn, bluestones, formerly called Carn Meini)
Carreg Coetan Arthur
Castell Pen yr Allt
Cerreg Meibion Arthur
Cerreg y Gof
Foel Drygarn (fort)
Frenni Fach (tumulus)
Frenni Fawr (tumuli)
Glandy Cross Complex
Maenllwyd y Rhos
Maen-y-Parc "B" and "C"
Mynyedd Carningli (hut circles)
Parc Carrig Hirion
Perc y Tywood Maenhir
Pentre Ifan (burial chamber, fort)
Rhos fach Standing Stones
The Stone River
St Teilo's Church
Tafarn y Bwlch (standing stones)
Temple Druid Standing Stone
Tre-Fach Standing Stone
Waun Lwyd Stones
Waun Mawn Row or Circle
The mountains, much of which are unenclosed moorland or low-grade grazing with areas of bog, are surrounded by farmland and active or deserted farms. Field boundaries tend to be earth banks topped with fencing and stock-resistant plants such as gorse.
Slate quarrying was once an important industry in the Preseli mountains, and remnants of the quarries can still be seen in Rosebush, Pembrokeshire. There is a workshop at Llangolman where slate is used to make a variety of craft items.
During the Second World War, the UK War Office used the Preseli mountains for training exercises by British and American forces. Its proposed continued use after the war was the subject of a two-year - ultimately successful - protest by local leaders. The success of the protest is commemorated with a plaque (pictured) near Mynachlog-ddu.
The Preselis provide hill grazing for much of the year and there is some forestry. The hills are popular with walkers, with walks varying from easy to long-distance. They also have a wide variety of bird, insect and plant life, as well as features of interest to geologists and archaeologists.
Dyfed Archaeological Trust has produced extensive notes on the mountain range and surrounding features and villages.
- OS One inch 7th series map sheet 138/151 Fishguard and Pembroke 1965
- "BBC: Wales nature and outdoors". Retrieved 22 Nov 2013.
- "Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority: The Golden Road". Retrieved 22 Nov 2013.
- Thomas, H.H. (1923). The source of the stones of Stonehenge. Antiquaries Journal 3, 239-260.
- "Archaeologists Figure Out Mystery of Stonehenge Bluestones". WalesOnline. 2005. Retrieved 20 Nov 2013.
- "Another piece in Stonehenge rock source puzzle". Retrieved 20 Nov 2013.
- Thorpe, R.S et al (1991). The geological sources and transport of the bluestones of Stonehenge, Wiltshire. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 57, 103-57.
- OS Landranger Series, Map 145 Cardigan & Mynydd Preseli 2007
- "The Megalithic Portal: Foel Drygarn". Retrieved 22 Nov 2013.
- "Dyfed Archaeological Trust: Preseli - Historic Landscape Characterisation". Retrieved 19 Mar 2014.
- Wyn, Hefin (2008). Battle of the Preselau. ISBN 978-0-9549931-3-9.(editions in Welsh and English)
- "Dyfed Archaeological Trust: Preseli". Retrieved 4 Apr 2014.
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of the Preseli Hills and surrounding area
- BBC Wales: local history
- Experience Pembrokeshire: Mynydd Preseli
- Preseli at The Modern Antiquarian (forum)
- Visit Pembrokeshire: The Preseli Mountains