Plas yn Rhiw countryside walk
From a Neolithic burial chamber to newly planted saplings and a recently made pond, this walk offers a look at the old and the new in the countryside around the small manor house Plas yn Rhiw.
Car park at Plas yn Rhiw, grid ref: SH237282
From the car park cross the road and go along the track next to the greenhouse. This track leads through to the woodland.
In late January there’s a spectacular display of snowdrops scattered through the woodland, followed by a dazzling display of daffodils and a carpet of bluebells. If you’re visiting during the winter and the house and gardens are closed; you can make your way straight up the road and re-join the trail at Tan y Muriau (point 3).
Go past the old millpond. Keep right at the fork and carry on along this path until you come out onto the road above the car park. The trees in this wood are about 150 years old.
Turn left along the road for about 110 yards (100m). At the sharp bend in the road, take the track leading off to the right through the gate marked Tan y Muriau. There's a great view from here across Hell's Mouth Bay and Porth Neigwl towards Cilan in the distance.
Continue straight along this track passing the anchor and farmhouse on your right, follow the way-marker and carry on up to the left.
Follow the way-markers along the narrow track up to the Tan y Muriau tomb. Find a suitable vantage point to get a good view over the wall of the tomb, which is about 5,500 years old. The burial chamber is on private land, so make sure you stick to the path, or ask the permission of the landowner in the nearby Tan y Muriau house if you want a closer look.
The Neolithic tomb gives us a glimpse into past religious beliefs and practices. We don't know whether the capstone was sourced locally or imported from afar. Tombs like these were created for local leaders, who were buried with cherished or expensive objects such as axes and pottery.
Follow the way-marker through the field and past a small cottage. When you reach the entrance drive to the cottage, turn right onto the gravel track. Follow this track for about 270 yards (250m); you’ll pass a beautiful white stone cottage on your left called Tan yr Ardd. Carry on until you see the small cottage of Fron Deg up on your left; take care when using the step stile in the stone wall.
Fron Deg Cottage
An entire family would have lived in this tiny dwelling which was most likely a ‘tŷ unnos’. These dwellings would have been built on common land, and if built in one night the house would be theirs and the land surrounding it to a distance that an axe could be thrown. It still has its original layout with a crog loft, a sleeping loft over the half of a cottage furthest from the cooking hearth.
Continue back down following the stone wall to the pathway leading to your left. Look out for the cottagers' pig sty built into the slope on your right. This is one of only three of this kind in Wales and is a listed building.
Frondeg pig sty
The fact that such effort was made to build the sty shows the importance of the pig to the household. Pigs were slaughtered during November and the meat was salted to last the family through the winter.
Follow the waymarkers and continue through the forest. Before you go down the slope into the middle of the forest, bear right and look out for the old Baptist well. It's on the pilgrims' route to Bardsey Island.
Go through the gate and follow the track round to a galvanised shed, where our staff cut up felled trees. About 165 yards (150m) further on take a small path on your left, leading off the main track to the wildlife pond.
This pond is a haven for wildlife. Nine species of dragonfly and damselfly are found here, as well as a rare water plantain. This pond was created in 2000, following strong winds that destroyed a section of the conifer plantation. The only plants introduced here were alder, hawthorn and hazel; all the others have seeded naturally.
Return to the main track and walk on until you reach the road. Go straight over the crossroads and follow the old road, replaced because of erosion by the sea. When you re-join the road, cross straight over and follow the footpath back to the Plas yn Rhiw car park, where you began.
Car park at Plas yn Rhiw, ref: SH237282
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