St Davids City Golf Club, Pembrokeshire

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St Davids Head, Penmaen Dewi     thanks to Steve Jarvis

 

North of Whitesands Bay the rocky coastline extends to create an exposed headland known as St David's Head,  (Penmaen Dewi in Welsh). The headland is a treasure-trove for archaeologists, with ancient field boundaries, at least 3 chambered tombs, circular enclosures, and medieval cultivation ridges.

The three most obvious prehistoric sites on the headland are the promontory fort of Clawdd y Milwyr (the Warrior's Dyke),  within it a fascinating group of Bronze Age hut circles, and the megalithic tomb or Dolmen known as Coetan Arthur .

 

THE WARRIOR'S DYKE

The drystone bank of the Dyke cuts off the headland from the easterly approaches, creating an easily defensible fort protected on three sides by high cliffs. The Dyke runs north to south across the narrowest part of the headland and is entered by a very obvious opening, or gateway. In front of the stone bank are two outer banks.

If you pass through the Dyke and climb carefully onto the raised rocks you will clearly see the 6 Hut Circles as you look back towards Carn Llidi

 

 

The Warriors Dyke Clawdd y Milwyr

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Hut Circles

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Sabine Baring Gould's sketch of the hut circles  1898

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Coetan Arthur   Burial Chamber  

Carn Llidi in the background, Whitesands and the Golf Course to the right

A few yards to the North of St Davids Head, nestled between two stony outcrops is the other obvious prehistoric site. This  is a dolmen called Coetan Arthur. (Legend says King Arthur himself threw the stones from nearby Carn Llidi.)

 

This megalithic passage tomb dates from between 4000 to 3000 BC. The dolmen, which is formed by two vertical megaliths erected to support a flat capstone, is partially collapsed, but still impressive nonetheless. The huge capstone is about 20 feet long and eight feet wide and is supported on one side by an orthostat—a large stone slab that has been artificially set upright

 

Perhaps surprisingly, the tomb can be rather difficult to find. The peninsula is a jumble of rocky outcrops, boulders, and Iron Age remains, so those who may not know the dolmen is there may mistake the Neolithic tomb for just another pile of large rocks. Walk carefuly to the North, you will find it! The Dolmen is also visible on the skyline from the top of the Golf Course. There is a second dolmen just below the lower of the 2 peaks of Carn Llidi, below the Second World War remains.