Whether trudging through a dew-soaked field to some mysteriously inscribed standing stone, or catching the afternoon sun as it illumines the entrance to a cliff-top burial chamber, exploring Wales’ prehistoric sites is thoroughly rewarding. At all but a few of the most popular, the bleating of sheep will be the only sound to break the contemplative silence of these spiritual places.
Prehistoric sites litter Wales. Hut circles defensively set atop windswept hills attest to a rugged hand-to-mouth pre-Celtic existence dating back four or five thousand years, while stone circles, intricately carved monoliths and finely balanced capstones set at crucial points on ancient pathways suggest the more spiritual life led by the priestly druids. Britain’s greatest druidic centre was Anglesey, and the island is still home to many of Wales’ best prehistoric sites, including the splendid chambers of Barclodiad y Gawres and Bryn Celli Ddu. Elsewhere, numerous standing stones and circles can be found on the mysterious slopes of the Mynydd Preseli in Pembrokeshire and in the area around Harlech in north Wales. Many sites take their names from great figures in Celtic history and folklore, such as Arthur and Merlin (Myrddin in Welsh); legends abound to connect much of the landscape with ancient tales.