places to see
Tenby-the prettiest and most likeable town we went to in the area. Very pretty, lovely beach and harhour with cliffs as a backdrop. the centre of town is lovely too.
Stackpole quay-a rocky headland with views over some great deserted beaches.
Haverfordwest-bit of a dive, nothing much there to see just the castle otherwise pretty drab.
Fishguard-nothing much but the harbour.
Strumble head-lighthouse, very windy, nothing much.
PwllDeri - theres a hostel here meant to be good, we walked around the coast here and it really is lovely and dramatic.
St Davids - the cathedral is nice. we stopped at cafe above the gallery by the bishops pub for food which was nice but its a tiny place and nothing much going on. white sands beach nearby looks nice but at £4 parking we didnt stop.
Newport-nothing much there at all.
Cardigan-quite a nice bustling town - nothing major to see buit pleasant and probably a livlier place to stay than fishguard although alot further away from the main better areas to visit.
Such an interesting place. An old harbour which was used to transport slate, used for roofing, from the nearby quarries at Abereiddy, and for the transporting to other areas of hard granite found above Porthgain This was used in road making.There was a stone crushing factory used in the making of bricks.
Nowadays, fishing boats moor in the harbour and there's a slipway for boat launching.
From behind the old buildings on the quayside are steps and a path leading up on to the headland. This is part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and the views down to the harbour are wonderful. There is much evidence of quarrying up here, also.
There is parking but I believe the place gets crowded on good days.
- Sailing and Boating
- Historical Travel
A sheltered, black shingle and pebble beach with the picturesque Blue Lagoon on the cliffs nearby.
It's a great place to visit, when you get fed up of the beach, have a walk along the cliff to the blue pool of the lagoon. It's the remnants of a slate quarry, full of sea water from the opening made at one end . It forms a sheltered harbour for small craft and is a popular place with divers. You are advised against jumping in owing to under-water rock ledges. We sat watching a group of youngsters swimming. I really didn't fancy trying!!!
There are a few bits of old quarry buildings about and much evidence of the past industry. We thought it a fascinating place.
The whole area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with volcanic and sedimentary rock being home to wonderful fossils, making it a geologist's paradise.
There's a carpark behind the beach and toilets. I expect there'll be an ice-cream van or two to be seen here on good days.
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
Broadhaven (south) and Bosherston Lily Ponds
Bosherston Lily ponds are a nature reserve formed by the Stackpole Estate in the 18th and 19th centuries, by damming and flooding three valleys.
The best time to see the lilies in all their glory is in June, so we were told. We were in September so not so good.
The whole place is full of waterfowl, we particularly noted moorhens and a heron (which we weren't sure whether it was real). The lily ponds are also a known spot for sighting otters but again, we were out of luck.
The ponds are stocked with fish and permit fishing is allowed.
From the ponds you can walk to the lovely sand beach of Broadhaven south, (not to be confused with Broadhaven west of Haverfordwest) or park on the headland above and walk down the steps from there.The beach is popular with families and is backed by sand dunes. Interesting cliffs surround the bay and from the beach you can see church rock, in the bay.
The whole Stackpole Estate, with Lily ponds and beaches, is owned by the National Trust, which means paying to park!!!
Another link to the place is:http://www.coastalcottages.co.uk/beach_details.asp?id=66
- Hiking and Walking
Pentre Ifan - Mystical land of ancient stones.
My first visits to Cornwall, England , Pembrokeshire, Wales and Finistere, France were made within about 5 years of each other in the early 1960s. The similarities in topography, history, culture and language that binds these places together is quite remakable. An old friend, a Welsh scholar and academic, travelled extensivly in Bretagne for 25 years after WW2 and conversed easily with older Bretons - each speaking in their own language.
All three of these Celtic lands remain high on my list of favourite destinations. The significant factor that binds them is their remote, end of the world appeal, shared Celtic heritage - the saints, Tristan and Isolde, and a wealth of prehistoric remains - cromlechs and dolmen, standing stones, burial chambers and iron age forts - like Chysauster in Cornwall and Castell Henllys in North Pembrokshire.
Even the great stones of Stonehenge originated in the Prescelli hills of Pembrokeshire.
Here, just outside Newport, is Pentre Ifan a megalithic site dating from the Bronze-Age, circa 4000 B.C.
It is said to be one of the finest sites of its kind and period, and sits atop a hillside across the valley where the Iron Age Fort of Castell Henllys can be seen.
Now in the care of CADW, the Heritage body for Wales, it is an open site all year with free admission.
Visit Castell Henllys an Iron Age Fort
When we first visited Castell Henllys, in the mid 1980s, it was a privately owned site. Archeological excavations had revealed its historic importance and there was local concern from neighbouring farmers, residents of Newport and other villages about plans to create a theme park here.
When the owner died in 1991 concern about the future increased.
Happily the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park took it over.
The interest already shown by university Archeological, History and Geography Departments increased.
Finance for the development of tourism and creation of local employment became available following the closure of defence sites and the loss of many jobs in the area.
Today Castell Henllys is mult-faceted - an on-going site for research, and exploration; an excellent Visitor Attraction also providing educational visits for school children, and older students, from all over the UK and abroad.
It has also been of special appeal to some of the New Age dwellers who, drawn by the remote beauty and Celtic origins of the land, have made their homes in West Wales.
Located on a peaceful, wooded hillside, with beautiful views it also fulfills one of the aims of the National Parks of Great Britain to "be the lungs of the nation". In the adjoining woods nature trails and leisure walks can be taken - follow the signs.
The following site has a good interactive section that gives a "virtual tour" of the fort.
Go fishing in the Bay at Newport for Mackerel
In early summer it is often possible to catch enough mackerel (just out in the Bay off Parrog )to make a hearty supper - best cooked fresh on the barbecue.
On a calm, sunny day it's a very pleasant way to spend a few hours in a lovely place with a book - as I'm not that good with a line!
For information about the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and about boat moorings see
Visit St Govans Head
A visit to St Govan's Head (about a mile from the village of Bosherston) is well worth the trip. Not only are there fantastic views but at the foot of a cliff a narrow path leads you down to St Govan's Chapel - a 6th century hermit's chapel used by St Govan - an Irish holy man. It's a deeply spiritual place, even if you aren't particularly religious. After the walk you can quench your thirst at The St Govan's Inn (the Adnams is particularly drinkable) or get some hearty food - ideal!
- Hiking and Walking
St. David's and Whitesand Bay...
St. David's is Great Britain's smallest city,( definition being town with a cathedral) and by gum, it is small. You wonder how all the crowds who visit the place manage to find room to manouvre.
St. David is the patron saint of Wales and the founder of the 6thc. monastery which was replaced by today's cathedral. Pilgrimages have always been made here.
Today, festivals are held and the town is crowded with visitors viewing the cathedral.
It is an impressive piece of architecture in pretty surroundings. I remember being very impressed with the ornate ceiling.
The city itself has the odd pub where we had an interesting lunch of buckwheat seafood pancakes. There are some interesting shops and we were lucky? enough to be there when a "seconds" sale was being held in the village hall.
St. David's most popular beach, Whitesands Bay, is just to the north west on the B4583. There is a carpark (charge) and toilets. It's a huge beach with good sand and rolling waves. Popular with fishermen, also, both from the beach and the rocks.
A mile or two to the west is St. Justinian, nothing more than a lifeboat station when we last visited. From here, there are boat trips to nearby Ramsey Island.
Just south of St. David's is St. Non'sBay, apparently where St. Non gave birth to St. David.
To the east of here is Carfai Bay, another of St. David's fine beaches. See tips.
- Religious Travel
St. Brides' Haven
A pretty, tiny cove with great rock pools to poke about in. There is no sand at high tide, you must retreat to the rocks at the back of the cove.
There is a church and cemetery here, hence the name of the place?? and also an old lime kiln.
Parking is extremely limited at the end of a very narrow road.
Again, we tried our hand at fishing only to be disappointed once again. We were beginning to wonder if there were any fish left in the sea around Pembrokeshire.
I actually went swimming here, which wasn't a bad experience.
Make sure you come armed with a bucket to contain all your "finds" from the rock pools!
- Family Travel
A real surfers' beach, so popular at all times. Not to be confused with Freshwater East, which is totally ruined with hundreds of static caravans.
Backed by extensive sand-dunes Freshwater West is also a great family beach. It is also pretty exposed, I guess the surfing waves have to come from somewhere!!
The B4319 runs immediately behind so don't leave children unattended.
We stopped to have a look at a thatched hut above the beach. This was a lavabread (common Welsh seaweed delicasy) drying house. I believe it has been renovated now.
Parking on the roadside and carpark. There are toilets here.
- Family Travel
Actually, I can't say that I was that impressed with the beach, here. It wasn't all sand, there was plenty of shingle and a few rocky patches.
It's nicely situated in a sort of valley with the castle behind but it is very popular and parking can be difficult (at peak times) and expensive. And then if you want to see the castle, that's extra as well.
We just happened to be passing and needed somewhere to park for lunch (in the motorhome.) It was very busy and not really our scene but as we had paid to park, we thought we'd better sample the beach.
Ummmm, well and truly put off by the amount of people here. By far the busiest beach we had been on.
Here, we watched a man nearly come to grief as his children's inflateable boat was lifted into the water with the wind and speedily blew out to sea. He went in hot pursuit, climbing over the cliffs and swimming for it. It seemed a very fool-hardy thing to do and his family were worried sick as they watched him from the beach. To this day, I can't remember whether he rescued the boat!!!
Well, we did at least go swimming and you can walk along the cliffs.
- Castles and Palaces
- Water Sports
Anyone would think I liked beaches!!! In Pembrokeshire, you are literally spoilt for choice, some accessible by car, with parking, but the less crowded ones you mainly have to walk to.
Caerfai Bay is a pretty cove, just south of St. David's.At high tide the sand is completely covered, leaving only large rocks but as the tide recedes a lovely sandy beach is uncovered. It's wonderfully sheltered and surrounded by spectacular cliffs.
There is a carpark at the top, with fantastic views over the cove and cliffs. The path down is pretty steep but manageable, we even saw prams being pulled backwards back up the path(in the days before 4 wheel drive prams!!)
- Hiking and Walking
St. Govan's Head is the most southerly point of Pembrokeshire. There is a car park where you can walk to the head from and also walk down worn steps cut into the cliff to view the sacred place of St. Govan's Chapel, built into the rock crevice.
It is a steep descent so appropriate footwear applies. We actually saw a woman in red stilettos teetering off down the steps. Very sensible!!
The tiny chapel measures a mere 16' by 12' and is no more than a cell. Supposedly built in the 13thc. but the alter and a seat cut into the rock possibly date from 6thc.
An abbot from Wexford in Ireland established the place as a hermitage after escaping form pirates. Miraculously, the rock opened for him and closed around him, thus secreting him from his enemy until it was safe.
Various legends surround this place, one being that the water from the holy well, now filled in, cured many a nasty disease. Also, the story goes that the number of steps descending to the chapel never count the same on the journey back up. Well, I made it to be the same number both ways, but Nickwas two short on the ascent!!!
- Hiking and Walking
- Religious Travel
These amazing rock formations are on the coast on land belonging to the Ministery of Defence who use the area as a firing range. Obviously the road is closed when this is occurring. Make sure you see this sight, if you like coastal scenes then this is for you.
We actually saw tanks in action, on their training ground, which was quite exciting, apart from the splendid scenery.
There is a carpark. Just admire the views and the superb rock formations of Elegug Stack (meaning guillimot) and the Green Bridge, an archway in the rock. Seabirds perch precariously on the rocks and I guess it would be an interesting place for ornothologists.
Here, we also picked mushrooms and saw a seal posing in the water below the cliffs. Perfect.
- Whale Watching
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