The summit of Mynydd Rhiw rises to a mere 305m and shelters the small village of Y Rhiw, located on the south-west tip of the Llŷn Peninsula. The area offers spectacular views towards Snowdonia and a diverse range of birdlife, along with a wealth of early Prehistoric industrial and ritual heritage.
Mynydd Rhiw, Mynydd y Graig and Mynydd Penarfynydd form a long series of ridges of igneous rock, extending some 3 miles to the sea at Trwyn Talfarach. Mynydd Rhiw is the largest of the three ridges; at its southern end, the prominent outcrop of Clip y Gylfinir (Curlew’s Crag) is visible far and wide, looming above the village. The present backdrop of this hilltop community is characterised by stone walled enclosures, small farms and single-storey cottages; all of which lend considerable charm to the landscape.
On the open, windswept slopes of Mynydd Rhiw, beneath a blanket of dwarf gorse, you will discover a late Stone Age burial chamber, as well as remnants of Neolithic quarries, whereby fine-grained baked shale rock was extracted to manufacture stone axes. Both remarkable and sophisticated, these vestiges of prehistoric activity also include late Iron Age hut circle settlements, hill forts and terraced fields, located on the south and eastern slopes of Mynydd Rhiw, Penarfynydd and Mynydd y Graig.
Birdlife is abundant within the village and the surrounding peaks, where you may observe Song and Mistle Thrush. Curlews nest in boggy patches and the distinctive call of the Lapwings can be heard as they soar across the fields. Greenfinches, Linnets and Whitethroats all nest in the gorse bushes that border the sheep pastures along with the Stonechat and the Whinchat. Birds of prey include Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Merlin and Buzzard. On the nearby coastal cliffs, Peregrine Falcons and Chough are observed, with Rock Pipits occupying the rocks above the tide line. Cormorants and Shags, Guillemots, Razorbills and Herring Gulls all nest on these headlands, as does the Northern Fulmar. Mynydd Rhiw is also a hot spot for the lithe and nimble Brown Hare.
On the southern slopes of the hill is Plas-yn-Rhiw, now a National Trust property, which overlooks Porth Neigwl and boasts delightful gardens as well as an interesting past. Parking facilities are available here, however spaces are limited.
There are plenty of excellent opportunities to go for a stroll, particularly during the late summer, were the slopes of Mynydd Rhiw are overcome by vibrant blooms of Heather. The most direct route follows the track that services the main radio mast near the summit. On a clear day, views can extend as far as the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland.