Cwm Gwaun

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Cwm Gwaun
Pembrokeshire Wales communities - Cwm Gwaun location.png
Location of Cwm Gwaun within Pembrokeshire
Population313 (2011)[1]
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townFishguard
Postcode districtSA65 9
EU ParliamentWales
UK Parliament
Welsh Assembly
List of places

Cwm Gwaun (English: Gwaun Valley) is a community and valley in north Pembrokeshire, Wales. The community is centred around Pontfaen, a hamlet 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Fishguard. In 2011, the population was 313. The valley is known for its unspoilt nature and old-world pub, and there are numerous other listed buildings.


houses in wooded valley with green fields on the hill beyond
Cwm Gwaun

The community's area is 3,870 hectares (9,600 acres)[2] The Companion Guide to Wales describes Cwm Gwaun as "one of the most important meltwater channels from the last ice age to be found in the British Isles." [3] The River Gwaun rises in the Preseli Mountains near the village and its tributaries have carved heavily-wooded steep, narrow side-valleys. To the northwest are hills such as Mynydd Dinas and Mynydd Melyn and the valley forms a notable wetland.[4] Trees found in the valley include sessile oak, beech, alder, rowan, ash and willow.[3] The valley is a nature walk of 5 miles (8.0 km) in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.[5] The Rough Guide to Wales (Cwm Gwaun and the inland hills) says of the community, "Cwm Gwaun, the valley of the burbling River Gwaun is one of the great surprises of Pembrokeshire – a bucolic vale of impossibly narrow lanes, surrounded by the bleak shoulders of bare mountains."[6]

New Year celebrations[edit]

refer to caption
Cwm Gwaun Primary School

The locals continue to follow the tradition of the pre-1752 Julian calendar and celebrate New Year (Welsh: Hen Galan) on 13 January.[3][6][7] Children walk from house to house, and sing traditional Welsh language songs. In return, householders provide gifts, or calennig, of sweets and money. In 2012, it was reported that most children from the local primary school would be absent that day to take part in the celebrations.[8]

Notable landmarks[edit]

white-painted pub below wooded escarpment
The Dyffryn Arms, Pontfaen

The community (Pontfaen) has a primary school (Ysgol Llanchllwydog).[9]

The village pub is the Grade II-listed Dyffryn Arms,[10] known locally as Bessie's and run by Bessie Davies's family since 1845.[11] The pub was originally called Llwyn Celyn (Holly Bush).[10] In 2011 it featured in S4C's Straeon Tafarn series.[12] In 2015 it featured in the Good Beer Guide for a 40th successive year,[13] but in February 2019 it suffered a significant fire.[14]

The Gwaun Valley contains a brewery at the Kilkiffeth Farm.[15] A small hydroelectric power scheme is running at Pontfaen, whose output is sufficient to power some 70 homes.[16]

There are 21 listed buildings in the Gwaun valley,[17] including the parish church and Dyffryn Arms.


There are two places of worship: the Grade II listed medieval church of St Brynach (Church in Wales),[18] which is open daily to visitors, and Jabes Baptist Chapel, one of the few remaining chapels in Wales that have an outdoor baptistry that is filled from the local river.[citation needed] The chapel was built in 1803 and restored in 1903.[19]


  1. ^ "Community population 2011". Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  2. ^ Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel; Baines, Menna (2008). The Welsh Academy encyclopaedia of Wales. University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Barnes, David (2005). The companion guide to Wales. Companion Guides. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-900639-43-9. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  4. ^ British wildlife. British Wildlife Publishing. 2006. pp. 35–36. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  5. ^ "Cwm Gwaun". BBC. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  6. ^ a b Nevez, Catherine Le; Parker, Mike; Whitfield, Paul (28 April 2009). The Rough Guide to Wales. Rough Guides. p. 211. ISBN 978-1-84836-050-1. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  7. ^ "Happy new year, on 13 January?". 13 January 2019 – via
  8. ^ BBC South West Wales, Gwaun Valley children mark old New Year, 13 January 2012
  9. ^ "Pembrokeshire County Council: Ysgol Llanchllwydog". Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  10. ^ a b Cadw. "Dyffryn Arms Public House  (Grade II) (87708)". National Historic Assets of Wales. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  11. ^ Rough Guides Ltd. (COR) (2 May 2011). Rough Guides Make the Most of Your Time in Britain: 500 Great British Experiences. Rough Guides. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-84836-685-5. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Famous Pembrokeshire pub features in S4C series". Western Telegraph. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Bessie's famous beer recognised for 40th year". Western Telegraph. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  14. ^ "'Bessie's' pub in Cwm Gwaun suffers significant fire damage". BBC News. 25 February 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Microbrewery in Pembrokeshire, Wales". Gwaun Valley Brewery. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  16. ^ ‘Crucial’ that small renewable energy schemes are supported. County Echo. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  17. ^ "British Listed Buildings: Cwm Gwaun". Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  18. ^ "British Listed Buildings: Church of St Brynach". Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  19. ^ "Coflein: Jabes Welsh Baptist Chapel". Retrieved 9 March 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°58′08″N 4°52′00″W / 51.968814°N 4.866606°W / 51.968814; -4.866606