On Bank Holiday Sunday, we were in two minds about going somewhere. You know the feeling when you want to get out and enjoy the day but equally, you want to stay home and have some lazy time to relax before you go back to work again? I suggested that we pop out for an hour so we could get some fresh air and feel like we’d done something with the day and then pop and see family and come home to chill out and watch a film. So that was the plan, but as always once we were out, we were having a lovely time and the intention of a short walk had suddenly become an enjoyable but unintentional six-mile hike. Here are some snapshots of our day:
Rosebush Car Park
Once we were on the road Dave suggested a road trip to Rosebush, my immediate thought was no, we can’t go there when we haven’t packed swimwear or towels but eventually, we agreed we’d go there for just a walk on this occasion and then a swim during our next visit.
So we headed to Rosebush, a small village in the community of Maenclochog, just south of the Preseli Hills. We had planned to park in Rosebush car park (Grid Ref SN075295, Sat Nav postcode SA66 7QU). To find this car park, turn off the B4313 road into Rosebush village following the brown sign for the infamous community pub, the Tafarn Sinc. Continue on this road around Tafarn Sinc keeping the pub to your left. Take the 1st left before the red telephone kiosk and the car park is at the bottom of a short hill.
During our visit, both the pub and main car park looked busy so I decided to drive back to Pantmaenog Car Park, which was quieter.
Pantmaenog Car Park
Pantmaenog is a forestry area. There is a free tarmac car park (Sat Nav Postcode: SA66 7QX) off the B4313 Maenclochog Road. There are gorgeous forests and mountain views even from the car park. From here, there is a trail suitable for walking, cycling, or even horse riding cycling, or even horse riding. Unfortunately, we could not find a bike rental here to ride them. Although that would be great. But if you also don’t have a bike, then you can choose among these gravel bikes under $2000.
The view from Pantmaenog Car Park.
Snapshots from Pantmaenog Forest Walk
We turned right through the gate of the car park and began following the trail. If you visit, bring binoculars as this is a great walk for bird spotting. We heard a cuckoo as we walked by but couldn’t quite spot the bird (I really need to buy a pair of binoculars and start bringing my zoom lens on walks again). One bird watcher was luckier at spotting the Cuckoo and other birds in Pantmaenog Forest.
As you can see, Dave was feeling festive and already choosing his Christmas tree!
The first part of this walk is very wide and fairly flat so accessible for all. Caitlyn enjoyed dribbling her football which she’d insisted on bringing with her (as always).
Pantmaenog is a privately owned forest, managed primarily for timber production. Pembrokeshire National Park Authority has agreed with the landowner to provide public access to 12km of forest tracks.
When you come to a crossroads we turned right but you can also get to Rosebush Quarry by choosing the path ahead (instead we came back this way).
As you walk, the view changes from green forest to grey slate mountains.
Rosebush Car Park
Behind Caitlyn and the horse-accessible stile is Rosebush Car Park where you could also begin your walk.
From the map above, you can see we began our walk with a horseshoe-shaped route. We then followed the route towards the disused quarries.
Historic Quarry Buildings
We came to the remains of the old Quarry House Sadly, there’s not much information in the area and we had no signal to search for information while we were there.
The lower walk along the ruins is accessible for all. Exploring the quarries involves climbing narrow, steep, uneven slate paths.
Sometimes I waited at the bottom when Dave took the more adventurous routes. It was lovely to have some peaceful time to enjoy the view and quiet sounds of the wind, water, and birds.
This is a tunnel that would have been used to carry the slate out of the quarry into the mainline.
I felt nervous seeing the tunnel and the collapse. The more adventurous (and hopefully safety equipped) go further in, through the chest wading water, until they get to the blocked part of the tunnel.
A huge tree grows up out of the disused quarry. It’s beautiful to see how nature takes over when “man” leaves an area.
Next, we came to the gem that is, Rosebush Quarry. It’s a gorgeous spot to sit and relax or take a dip.
It’s so tempting just to jump in and take a dip. Many do just impulsively swim here while discovering this magical spot for the first time. But as you know, I love outdoor swimming but also have great respect for the water, so I’m a cautious swimmer. I’d advise if you’re going to swim make sure you’re not alone, use a tow float as it’s very cold and deep in the middle, pack a towel and warm clothes and a hot drink for after your swim. Saying that the water is clear and you can see the shallow parts around the outside so as long as you’re accustomed to cold water swimming you could safely take an impulsive dip.
Knowing we’d eventually be near the flooded Rosebush Quarry, we’d warned Caitlyn that it wasn’t the best idea to bring her football. She was sad about this so we agreed she could take it as long as she carried it when walking the steep, narrow parts of the trail and while beside the water. She agreed. When we got to the water she found a good little spot near a branch that kept her ball safe. But her little sister had other ideas and you’ve guessed it, suddenly the ball was in the water.
We could probably have fished it out immediately when it was near us and only over the shallow water but my immediate reaction (thinking of when you lose inflatables at sea) was to let it go as the ball wasn’t worth any of us risking our safety. The ball drifted further away and Caitlyn was sad, but I thought it was best to just replace the football.
Dave said he could get it from the other side once it drifted there.
So he ran around and made his way to the other side of the flooded quarry.
The ball drifted closer and closer to him. On a few occasions, we thought it was going to get stuck along the bank.
Then it got close enough for him to easily reach in and retrieve the ball- all without getting wet!
Caitlyn was still annoyed at her sister for a while though! She’s not quick to forgive!
Poor Izzy was sad for a while as she felt guilty too. Eventually, they both forgot to be mad or upset any longer and began having fun and getting along again. The trials and tribulations of siblings. I often hear myself saying to them, “Just get along!” which isn’t helpful parenting at all, is it? But they always work things out eventually thankfully.
Unfortunately, we found a poor dead frog in the flooded quarry too. The fish looked healthy though so we assume it had died of natural causes.
As well as the stunning sight of the flooded quarry there are also impressive views from the slate hills.
This was as close as I got to Bellstone Quarry, previously called Prescelly Quarry.
Don’t drop the ball down there, Dave!
Walking back, we came to a narrow slate, sloped path.
On the map above, you can see our location. We then made a left turn to follow the red route back to the car park. As you can see there are even more routes to walk on another day.
The rest of this path is wide and fairly flat.
I was hot and tired and happy just to walk back to the car. Along the way, there are a number of small streams and Caitlyn had stopped to watch the tadpoles and skaters in every single one. I think she gave some walkers a shock suddenly appearing from behind a hedge or down a ditch! Off-roading has its rewards and at one point while she was exploring, we heard “Mum! Dad! Come quick!” Alarm bells rang but thankfully she was just calling us to come and see a newt she’d found. Sadly, we didn’t get there in time to photograph it.
We were still rewarded with this beautiful gem of a natural pond.
It was a gorgeous spot and the area was full of wildlife.
It would be a great spot to do some pond dipping.
The Path Home
We continued walking back towards the car park. For once, I was ahead, purely because I couldn’t wait to get back to the car for a sit-down and to drink water.
I was relieved when we came to the fir trees as it meant we were getting closer to the car park.
Eventually, I saw signs of housing and traffic and came to the car park. It was a lovely walk and we’ll definitely explore the other routes soon.
Here’s a Pembrokeshire Coast suggested half-day Rosebush Walk. Other sights of interest in Rosebush are the old Quarry Worker Cottages along Rosebush Terrace and the old Rosebush Railway platform (half of which is in the Tafarn Sinc) and railway line. Beyond the village and the old quarries, the route joins the Golden Road, the ancient path that follows the line of the Preseli’s high ground. Foel Cwmcerwyn’s summit is the highest point in the National Park, at
536m (1,757ft). The Golden Road is thought to date back 5,000 years to the Neolithic period. The views are spectacular on a clear day and you can see the whole of Pembrokeshire and further afield.
It’s usually a fairly quiet place to visit but became increasingly popular during the past year and at one point was in danger of becoming a tourist rubbish dump. There are no bins or facilities here so like anywhere please take your rubbish away with you.
“Take nothing but pictures,
Leave Nothing but footprints,
Kill nothing but time.”
Have you ever visited Rosebush?