The Golden Road

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The Golden Road

Distance - 7.4  Miles
Duration - 4 hours

Walking the Golden Road is a stirring experience. It takes you along the Preseli ridge across wild moorland following a route that is said to date back to the Neolithic period, 5,000 years ago. Broadcaster and writer Wynford Vaughan-Thomas wrote of the experience: "Everywhere you feel the presence of the megalithic tomb-builders, of the Iron Age warriors who piled the stones for the great hillforts and of kindly and absent-minded old Celtic saints." The track was a main route for travellers in prehistory to and from Ireland. Perhaps the Pembrokeshire bluestones used by the builders of Stonehenge travelled this well trodden byway. The views are breathtaking, and all along the way there are prehistoric remains to be seen. Starting in the west, the route begins not far from Foel Eryr, which has a burial cairn at its summit. The stone cairns date from the Bronze Age and mark burials, presumably of someone who was once a local VIP. After skirting the Pantmaenog Forest the route climbs to Foel Feddau. It, too, has its cairn, as does the rocky tor Carn Bica. Look out close to Carn Bica for an arrangement of stones known as Beddarthur, an eye-shaped ring of stones said to be the last resting place of King Arthur. The jagged form of Carn Menyn - like that of all the Preseli tors - is the result of many thousands of years of erosion by harsh weather on the dolerite or bluestone rock. Traditionally though, the rocky summit was the source of the stone used to build the inner ring of Stonehenge. It is also worth making the effort to climb to the outcrop at the top of Foeldrygarn, both for the view and to see its Iron Age hill fort. Within the fort are a trio of cairns that are older than the fort and give the hill its name which means 'three cairns hill'.

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