Cwm Gwaun

Half Day + Walk

DISTANCE/DURATION: 5.2 miles (8.4 km) 2 hours 15 minutes
CHARACTER: Woodland, fields and livestock, steep ascents on valley sides
LOOK OUT FOR: Semi ancient natural woodland under management.

The river Gwaun rises in the Preseli hills and was formed as a melt-water channel for the retreating glaciers at the end of the Ice Age. Tributaries have carved steep, narrow side-valleys that are densely wooded.

In summer, the Gwaun is a slowly meandering stream passing through alder carr (marshy, wet woodland with alder trees predominating), water meadows (look out for meadow sweet with its gorgeous honey-tinged smell in late August to early September) and flood plain.

The path above Coed Sychpant gives views over the valley and the woods themselves provide habitat for birds such as tree pipits, redstarts, tits, nuthatches and pied flycatchers.

The river is home to dippers and grey wagtails. Raptors like buzzards and sparrowhawks are also common.

If you’re lucky, you’ll see otter near the river too, and the area is a stronghold for polecat and dormouse.

Carol Owen, North Sector Ranger for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, says: “This is an excellent walk if you are a birdwatcher. You will often seen dippers in and out of the fast-flowing water as they look for food.”

Text provided by the BBC

Find this Walk

Grid ref: SN045349


  • Enjoy the countryside and respect its life and work
  • Guard against all risk of fire
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Keep your dogs under close control
  • Keep to public paths across farmland
  • Take your litter home