Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 51.88298°N / 4.97475°W
Additional Information County: Pembrokeshire
Activities Activities: Hiking, Trad Climbing, Bouldering
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 512 ft / 156 m
Sign the Climber's Log


The prominent rhyolitic tors of Great Treffagarne Mountain are both inexorable features of the mid Pembroke landscape, visible to all who pass along the busy A40 road between Haverfordwest and Fishguard. The hill has two points of interest, the delicate Maiden Castle, also known as Lion Rock or Treffgarne Pinncales; and the imposing Poll Carn, which is also known as Wolf Rock. Both outcrops sit at roughly 150 metres above sea level, command panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and just happen to be home to some of the best bouldering in the area.

Maiden Castle is arguably the better of the two, and generally has excellent quality rock with a grit-like texture. Poll Carn is perhaps not so good, although having said that, much of its south-western corner is steeply overhanging and provides some excellent and powerful bouldering problems. Both outcrops have great potential for trad routes, with the only recorded climbs to date being on the western aspect of Poll Carn.

Maiden CastleMaiden Castle
Poll CarnPoll Carn
Maiden CastlePonies!

Problems and Routes

As previously mentioned Treffgarne’s climbing is split between the two outcrops of Maiden Castle and Poll Carn. Exploration is still at a relatively early stage and there is still plenty of scope for variation and innovation. Between the two there is enough to keep most boulderers happy for an afternoon or morning, with further problems just a short drive away on Plumstone Mountain. A combined trip is a good way to spend the day.

Attempts have been made to grade the bouldering problems using the Hueco V System, however, most grades are still given using the British Technical Grading System which is usually used for rating the crux of trad climbs. The system is great for easy problems (less than 5a), however, above that they start to become too vague and in the higher grades they are hopeless with 6c covering everything from V6 to V10. A grading comparison table is available of Rockfax’s website.

Trad climbs are rated using the British Adjectival Grading System. A conversion table of international climbing grades by SP member Corax is available HERE!. With the exception of Tenby South Beach Quarry, bolting is strictly prohibited everywhere in Pembrokeshire, so don’t even think about it here.

Maiden Castle

Maiden Castle’s complex series of boulders, crags and towers give rise to an enormous number of bouldering problems, so many in fact that it would take a lifetime to describe and document them all satisfactorily. The best problems are located on the margins of the outcrop, most of which are also blessed with good landings, and an open, sunny aspect; these areas are described below.

Buttress No. 1
Boulders No. 2

Buttress No. 1

The first small buttress reached when approaching from the north. A handful of cracks on its west side offer some easy bouldering at around V0- to V1, while some more easy problems are also located around the back. The buttress’ most interesting feature is an overhanging arête on its near side which yields a number of trickier problems.

Boulders No. 2

A little futher up the hill just to the rear of Buttress No. 1 are a collection if boulders which provide a few short routes, most of which are of little real merit.

Maiden Castle Problems

Boulder No. 3

A little gem which sits just under Maiden Castle’s tallest pinnacle. The boulder has an excellent roof which can be taken direct at around V2, or along a crack to its right at about V0. A fairly desperate problem is a footless traverse of the lip from the left of the arête across the front to the far end of the right arête. This last problem is given a grade of around 5c.

Boulder No. 4

A fantastic gritty undercut boulder, which is among the very best in these here parts. Many of the problems go off slopers, and the front of the boulder overhangs by around 30º. Sit down starts and dyno moves are de rigeur. Several of the problems are worth singling out:

Problem 1 5c NO STARS
Traverse the break line to the arête; then reach for the top.
Problem 2 5c NO STARS
From the slopers on the break, climb around the bulge to top.
Problem 3 6a NO STARS
From a sitting start and using layaways low on the left hand side, move dynamically through the bulge to the top.
Problem 4 5c NO STARS
From a sitting start under the right-hand arête; pull on using undercuts, then reach for the slopers in the break, and dyno for knob up and right to finish.
Problem 5 6a/b NO STARS
Start under the roof around to the right. From the back, pull around the roof and use a right-hand pinch on the lip. Hard!
Climb the faint seam on the slab around the corner.

Boulder No. 4

Maiden CastleBoulder No. 3
Maiden CastleBoulder No. 4
Madien CastleButtress No. 5
Maiden CastleThe highest pinnacle

Buttress No. 5

Neatly tucked away around the east side of the outcrop is a recess with a nice little overhanging wall. Also the landing is nice and level and just the right size for your bouldering mat.

Poll Carn

Despite Poll Carn’s initially solid appearance, on closer inspection it is in reality quite broken up, particularly on its south eastern side. Its southern and western aspects however, are much more favourable and are home to a number of problems of varying quality. That said, it's picturesque location and multi-faceted nature, make it an extremely attractive place to spend a few hours climbing, and one which at least in part, always offers a bit of shelter whatever the weather.

Poll Carn's rather impressive South West Face


Buttress No. 1

The recess and cave on the burst buttress reached when approaching from Mainden Castle is quite disappointing, with soot making the holds slippery. A line can be picked out on the small wall on the right, but it is of limited interest.

Boulder No. 2

An obvious boulder located around halfway up the main mass of Poll Carn which gives one short but difficult problem up its front face. Begin with a sitting start.

Slab No.3

The short, steep, slab to the right of the aforementioned boulder gives some short but interesting problems.

Poll Carn Problems

Boulder No. 4

The low freestanding boulder located away from the main mass has some surprising potential. For a challenge take the waist high roof from the back without touching the ground. On the backside of the same boulder is a low long roof problem with some good holds on the right. Play around with some eliminates to make things a bit harder.

Buttress No. 5

The buttress leaning against the main crag has an extremely overhung back face which provides some excellent problems. The best problem begins with a sitting start and goes leftwards up the line of holds in a shallow groove and involves a lunge for a very sharp sloper (painful!). Easier problems are located on the left.

Boulder No. 6

Immediately opposite the aforementioned buttress is a large boulder with a steep wall which can be tackled by a number of means up its centre, all of which are good and come in at at least 5b in difficulty. The arête can be taken direct at around 4c. Directly around the corner on its far side are some easy slab problems.

Trad Climbing

On Poll Carn’s south-western corner are three easy routes which area ideal for beginners. Although only three routes have been recorded at the site, there is great potential for more, particularly on its western slabs.

Pinnacle Crack 14m VD NO STARS
Start immediately right of the boulders. Climb a short wall followed by some cracks up the face of the pinnacle above.
Rocking Block Wall 15m VD NO STARS
Start 3m right of the boulders. Climb straight up over small ledges then follow a crack to a bulge, which is taken direct on big holds to finish at a rocking boulder.
Wolverine Groove 15m D NO STARS
Start 6m right of the boulders. Climb a shallow groove line past a recess near the top.

The West Face – the routes are on the slabby face on the right

Weather Conditions

This section displays the weather forecast for the village of Scolton Manor, which is located around 4km to the east. Each location share a similar altitude, however, the tors are more exposed to the area’s climate, and exposure and wind speed can also significantly lower temperatures.

This weather forecast is generated by the Met Office Weather Widget

When to Climb and Essential Gear

Pembrokeshire's climate is generally pretty good whatever the season, so climbing is possible throughout the year. One advantage of Treffgarne’s inland location is that if the weather’s a bit rough it may be a good alternative to climbing on the area's sea cliffs, where you will inevitably receive a good soaking... or possibly something worse.

Although not essential, a bouldering mat is recommended to soften those landings, and of course, you'll also need a chalk bag and a pair of rock shoes.

For the trad routes, a pair of 50 metre half ropes and a set of nuts, cams and quickdraws, plus a few slings and screwgates should be enough to protect most routes.

Maiden CastleMaiden Castle from the summit of Poll Carn

Getting There

When approaching from Haverfordwest (SM 954 160) take a sharp left up a steep, narrow road from Nant-y-Coy Mill (SM 956 253), which is situated just after a bend 1 mile north of Treffgarne (SM 956 237). Cars may be parked on the right at the end of the public section of the narrow road, a few hundred metres up the hill from the A40.

Follow a footpath opposite the parking place (south) for 30m then take a smaller path leading up the hillside to the right. Maiden Castle (SM 954 248) is reached in five minutes or so, and the route to Poll Carn (SM 952 245), 500m further on is obvious. Alternatively, a slightly longer but much flatter alternative is to leave the A40 at Treffgarne Bridge (SM 959 230) and park in Treffgarne itself. From the village’s church, take the bridlepath north towards Mount Pleasant Farm (SM 956 242). Poll Carn will quickly come into view and will be reached after about a kilometre of walking.

Maiden CastleThe view north-east from the highest pinnacle of Maiden Castle

Red Tape

No red tape or access issues here!

For climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) runs a Regional Access Database, which holds mountain/crag specific information on matters of conservation and access, including issues such as nesting restrictions, nature designations and preferred parking:

Regional Access Database

If you are in any doubt about any particular access arrangement, or need to report an incident, you should contact your local BMC Access Representative or the BMC Access Officers for Wales: Elfyn Jones.

Camping and Accommodation

There’s an almost unlimited supply of accommodation within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park so it would be inappropriate to list it all here. For budget accommodation it’s worth checking out some of the following sites:

Youth Hostel Association in Wales
Independent Hostel Guide
Campsites in Pembrokeshire

For everything else and more see Visit Pembrokeshire’s website.


Open Space Web-Map builder Code
Navigation Maps

Ordnance Survey 1:25k Explorer Series OL 35 North Pembrokeshire/Gogledd Sir Benfro

Ordnance Survey 1:50k Landranger Series 157 St David’s & Haverfordwest/Tyddewi a Hwlffordd

Road Maps

Ordnance Survey Tour Series 11 South & Mid Wales


Pembrokeshire Coast: The Official National Park Guide Pembrokeshire Coast: The Official National Park Guide by Alf Alderson, John Cleare and Ian Mercer.

A handy book full of useful information and interesting facts about the National Park.
Climbers’ Guides to Wales: Pembroke Volume 1 Pembroke North Climbers' Club Guides to Wales: Pembroke Volume 1: Pembroke North by Steve Quinton

A superb and extremely comprehensive guidebook to the climbing in North Pembroke; includes descriptions of most of the routes and problems at Treffgarne.

External Links

Poll CarnBaaa!
Maiden CastleBoulder No. 4, Maiden Castle
Poll CarnPoll Carn from Maiden Castle

Government Bodies and Other Organisations

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority

Council for National Parks

Association of National Park Authorities

Natural Resources Wales


Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments in Wales

Dyfed Archaeological Trust

The National Trust

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Outdoor Organisations and Companies

British Mountaineering Council

Pembrokeshire Climbing Club

Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter Group


Weather and Tides

The Met Office

BBC Weather

BBC Tide Tables

UK Hydrographic Office

Tourist Information

Visit Wales

Visit Pembrokeshire

Travel Information

Welsh Public Transport Information

UK Train Timetable


Youth Hostel Association in Wales

Independent Hostel Guide

Campsites in Pembrokeshire

Maps and Guidebooks

Ordnance Survey

The Climbers’ Club

Cicerone Guidebooks


Mid Wales Climbing

Cordee Travel and Adventure Sports Bookshop

Wildlife and Conservation

Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre

South West Wales Wildlife Trust



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

Pembroke/PenfroMountains & Rocks