From the portal tombs in the east of Ireland we go across the Irish Sea to north west Pembrokeshire, where there is a large concentration of Neolithic tombs, most of which are dolmens. Pentre Ifan is the most famous and sits on the edge of the Preseli hills with views across to the sea. It is just one in a group of portal dolmens in the Nevern Valley but it is the largest and probably best preserved dolmen in Britain and also an extremely elegant one.
Approaching Pentre Ifan, with rocky outcrops of blue stones visible on the skyline above.
The large orthostats of blue stone with the finely balanced capstone sitting on top of the pointed uprights.
The dolmen was originally covered by a long cairn, and possibly it was only the portal stones at the entrance and the capstone on the top of the tomb that would have been left visible. The fine dolmen structure as we see it today was probably not visible to the neolithic communities who gathered at the site.
Since writing this, new evidence based on lichen growth has suggested that the cairns covering dolmens didn’t go as high up the sides of the tomb as had always been believed.
See Lichen sheds new light on portal tomb cairns