4 Legendary Places to Visit in Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire has its fair share of myths and legends - from stories of mermaids and lake beasts to ghostly apparitions and Knights of the Round Table. You can still visit some of the mysterious sites at the heart of these tall tales, so why not come and explore some of the most legendary places in Pembrokeshire?
King Arthur’s Final Resting Place?
West Wales has a number of connections to the Legend of King Arthur, but one spot is said to have particular significance. A thousand feet above sea level on the bleak moorland of the ancient Preseli Hills, you’ll find Bedd Arthur which translates as ‘Arthur’s Grave’. A mysterious circle of standing stones in the heart of the area, long thought to be the source of the bluestones used to build Stonehenge, Bedd Arthur is reputed to be the final resting place of the legendary king. The site hasn’t yet given up its secrets to archaeologists but is a fascinating place to visit and has incredible views of the surrounding countryside.
The Lake Monster’s Grave
Not far from Bedd Arthur in the Preseli hills is another burial chamber known as Bedd-yr-Afanc or ‘monster’s grave’. The Afanc was a mythical beast said to lurk in the pools of mountain streams near Brynberian, only appearing at the light of the full moon to destroy the land and eat the locals. The monster’s weak spot was a fair maiden, so the locals used their prettiest girl to lure the monster out into the open. Legend has it that after an epic struggle, the beast was killed and dragged up the slopes to be buried in the chamber that sits there to this day. It’s a beautiful place to take a walk and explore the ancient hills (but maybe not in the moonlight).
The Mermaid of St Dogmaels
A familiar tale along the Welsh coast, the most famous version is set in the pretty north Pembrokeshire village of St Dogmaels. The story goes that a local fisherman called Peregrine kidnapped a beautiful mermaid from the rocks at Cemaes Head but, after the mermaid’s tearful pleas for freedom, had a change of heart and released her on a sandbar in the Teifi estuary. To thank him, the mermaid promised Peregrine she would warn him of oncoming storms by calling to him 3 times. On 1st October 1789, the local men had set out to fish when Peregrine heard the mermaid calling his name. Although he tried to get the others to turn back, they ignored him and were swept away as a huge tempest surged in from the sea. Peregrine survived but church records document the deaths of 27 fisherman that day. If you take a trip to along the estuary to the start of the Pembrokeshire Coastpath, be sure to look out for the statue of a lone mermaid sitting by its shores.
The Ghostly Ape of Carew Castle
Carew Castle is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Pembrokeshire. In the 12th Century it was home to the beautiful princess Nest, but its romantic, tranquil setting belies a turbulent past. Perhaps its most famous legend is that of Satan, a Barbary Ape kept chained up in the castle’s north-west tower by Carew’s owner Sir Rowland Rees in the 18th Century. One night, during a fierce storm, Sir Rowland had an argument with a local merchant in the castle. It was a night that was to end with the merchant narrowly escaping death, the discovery of Sir Rowland’s lifeless body, a mysterious fire and the disappearance of the frenzied ape. No-one knows for sure what happened in the castle that night and the ape was never seen again, but legend has it that on wild, stormy nights the ghost of a huge ape can be seen stalking the battlements of Carew Castle.
Stay in the Heart of Legendary Pembrokeshire
Staying at Warpool Court Hotel means you’re in a prime location for visiting Pembrokeshire’s historic sites. We’ve even got the birthplace of St David and a holy well that’s said to have healing powers near the bottom of our gardens! So, why not come and explore our land of myth and legend? We’ve got plenty of luxurious rooms to relax in or you can book a tranquil break in our secluded holiday cottage.
To book your 2019 holiday at our country house hotel in St Davids, get in touch today.