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The best preserved megalithic site in Wales
September 2008

Pentre Ifan dolmen
Pentre Ifan dolmen in Wales, UK
Ruth Sharman visted Pentre Ifan dolmen - said to be the best preserved neolithic burial chamber in Wales, UK.

On a recent road trip through Pembrokeshire and up the Welsh coast I made a detour from the main road to find this ancient structure.

I’ve had a fascination with megalithic sites; stone circles, barrows and dolmens for a few years, but few have captured my heart in the way that this did.

Pentre Ifan dolmen
Pentre Ifan dolmen
The dolmen (meaning in Welsh ‘stone table’) at Pentre Ifan observes a wonderful view on all sides. Hills and forests, sweeping fields, a wide view of the coastline and out across Cardigan Bay. This site truly is spectacular, and the soft green grass is well maintained and worth getting your toes out for.


Pentre Ifan dolmen dates back to around 3500 BC and would originally have formed part of a much larger mound. This style of structure is thought to have been used as a burial chamber. Some argue it could also have been a temple used for rituals, originally in the shape of a recumbent woman.

A welcoming space

The capstone seems to rest on the pointed megaliths with ease, although you can almost imagine it sliding off and taking flight across the bay.

Pentre Ifan dolmen
Pentre Ifan dolmen
Unlike the nearby Carreg Samson site, the capstone here is difficult to reach up to, and the space beneath it is large and welcoming. It’s impossible to not want to stay a while, sit down, observe the view and consider all the events in history that these stones have stood through.

The ancient sites of the British Isles are many in number but not all can give you this ‘sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused’ (Wordsworth).

Pentre Ifan dolmen provides a connectedness to something in us but also wider than us, bringing us closer to an understanding of our need to create spaces for contemplation and also for action.

If you’ve never visited a site of this kind then this is a great place to start.

Pentre Ifan is found near Fishguard, Wales, UK.

Pentre Ifan - stonepages.com

Themodernantiquarian.com

 
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