The Pentre Ifan dolmen is located three miles southeast of the well-known town of Newport in North Wales. The name ‘Pentre Ifan’ literally translates as ‘Village of Ivan’ and this ancient monument is considered to be one of the best examples of a Neolithic dolmen in all of Great Britain – certainly the best in Wales. The dolmen once formed the central support structure of an ancient burial chamber commonly known as a long barrow. Positioned at the summit of a small hill overlooking the river of Afon Nyfer it is just north of the Preseli Mountains that are now known to have been the source of the bluestones used at Stonehenge in Wiltshire. The Pentre Ifan dolmen is made up of seven primary megaliths. The biggest of these is the capstone which is 2.4 metres (7.9 ft) wide, 5 metres (16 ft) in length and 0.9 metres (3.0 ft) thick and weighs around 16 tonnes. The capstone of Pentre Ifan is supported by three standing stones at a level approximately 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) from the ground. Two further upright stones once framed the entrance to the tomb. Archaeologist estimate that the original structure would have been about 30 metres (98 ft) long and 17 metres wide (55.9 ft). The structure dates back to approximately 3,500 B.C. and is generally believed to have been used for multiple burials although there is no evidence of human remains which suggests that they were relocated at some time in the past. Evidence also suggests that it was built in at least three phases over many centuries.
The Pentre Ifan monument is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is now protected and managed by Cadw, (Welsh Historic Environment Service). It is freely accessible to the general public.
The word dolmen literally means stone table and these ancient monuments were once believed to have been built by giants. Local folklore claims that the site is a portal to the land of Faerie and is guarded by mysterious beings the size of children and dressed in clothes the colour of blood with caps to match. Other tales tell that this was where the legendary King Arthur demonstrated his great strength by placing the capstone in position entirely on his own. However, it is a fact that the dolmen was at one time known as Arthur’s Quoit.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Dwr Cwmwdig Berea, St Davids, Haverfordwest
Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA62 6DW
+44 (0)1348 831 376
- Address: Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Crymych, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK, SA41 3TZ
- GPS: 51.99896111,-4.770002778
- Part of UK: Wales
- Sat Nav Postcode: SA41 3TZ
- Entrance Fees: Free access
- Disabled Access: Limited but wheelchair path available
- Visibility from Road: Limited and easy to miss
- Image Credits: Header Image: Anneka (Belgium)