When boar hunting was common in Wales, the story was told of the great Welsh hero, Arthur, who, with a vast army of warriors, chased a magical wild boar known as the Twrch Trwyth across the length of south Wales.

The Twrch Trwyth had come from Ireland with six pigs, furiously intent on ravaging the land of Arthur, in revenge for the death of one of his pigs. The Twrch landed near St David’s Head, Pembrokeshire, Arthur landed near Milford Haven, and the chase began. This spectacular boar hunt extended from Pembrokeshire to the Severn Estuary, with many battles taking place along the way and many of Arthur’s champions savagely killed by the Twrch Trwyth and his brood.  Finally, all the pigs were killed except the Twrch who was caught, first of all in the Severn Estuary, and subsequently, in Cornwall.

The account of Arthur’s boar hunt comes from the story of Culwch and Olwen; it is the first written record of Arthur and can be read in the Mabinogion, a medieval collection of Welsh myths and legends.

Strange magical gods and heroes, giants and fabulous animals come to life in a tale of cunning, sorcery and witchcraft, pitted against the courage of Arthur and his warriors. The strongest most powerful creature is the Twrch Trwyth; shape changed from a noble prince to see out his days incarcerated in the body of a pig, this creature is a cunning, treacherous foe. He has the power to lead the unsuspecting to the edge of the underworld, and he harbours a great personal hatred for Arthur who has stalked him across many countries and killed his offspring. Arthur calls on every source of magic, skill and strength he has at his disposal, even that of Gwyn ap Nudd himself, King of the Underworld, and brings together the largest army he can muster, including many well known friends such as Bedwyr and Cai (in later tales they are known as Bedivere and Kay).

Such a rich story deserves to be celebrated so a story-themed trail is being created across south Wales to mark the chase, and significant points in the story where men and beasts were joined in battle.