Pembrokeshire – May Half Term 2011- part 1   12 comments

A bit behind the times with this trip which we took over a month ago. J and the kids went for the whole week but I was only able to join them for the two weekends. We are extremely lucky that J has a friend with a lovely little cottage in a place called Llangwm that she lets us have for the whole week including both weekends at a very reasonable rate. We pack alot into our holidays and I go photo and video mad so I’ll split the report into the two weekends I was there.

I travelled down with L late on the Friday night as J and D were staying at home to see Brian Cox at the Hay-on-Wye festival. It was a cold and windy day on the Saturday so we had a very brief wander about on Freshwater West beach looking for crabs and shannys (a kind of fish that seems able to survive out of water between the tides. We caught loads just by turning over rocks and it’s one of mine and L’s favourite activities together. She loves animals of all kinds and I’m like kid when it comes to hunting interesting stuff in rock-pools.

Freshwater West Beach

Local wildlife

Freshwater West

We moved on to the South coast beyond the Army Tank ranges to look at Stack Rocks. If you ever in Pembrokeshire this stretch of coast is a must-see. The sea has eroded the limestone rock into a series of isolated stacks, caves, sea arches and vertical cliffs and it’s truly spectacular. The sea stacks have been colonised by razorbills and guillemots (the largest breeding colonies in Wales) and you can sit on the cliffs and watch them noisily hop about on the rocks and fishing in the sea.

Stack Rocks

Stack Rocks

The “Green Bridge of Wales” is a truly spectacular sea arch. IT’s a shame that the coast 3-4 miles west of here is out-of-bounds as the army use it to practice bombing stuff. Why they have to pick one of the most stunning bits of Britain’s coastline to blow-up is a mystery to me. I’m sure there are more deserving cases that need some “re-design”.

Green Bridge of Wales

The weather had improved so we carried on along the coast which is non less spectacular.

A pretty decent day in the end finished off in style by watching Barcelona run rings around Man Utd in the Champions League final

J and D arrived overnight and as the weather still looked uncertain I convinced everyone we needed another walk along the coast, this time from Broad Haven South. It’s a lovely beach, backed by dunes with the same spectacular coastal features as those near stack rocks.

D on Broad Haven South

Broad Haven South

The walk along the coast is perfect for the family, level and with loads of interesting stuff to look at.

As you round the headland, Barafundle Bay comes into view. It’s a couple of miles from the nearest car park so it’s relatively unspoilt and absolutely stunning – one of the 10 best beaches in the world according to D.

Coast leading to Barafundle Bay

Barafundle Bay

We had a lovely picnic on the beach but the weather too a turn for the worse and started to drizzle so we headed back to the cottage after another day exploring this great bit of coast

The following day it rained on and off all morning but we decided to try to head for the west coast to see if there were any waves. We went to Newgale beach which is a huge strand facing out in to St Brides Bay. The weather improved markedly as we drove out so by the time we got to the beach the sky was blue and the sun was out although it was windy.

Newgale beach

The waves looked promising but they weren’t all that good. I did get out onto the kayak for a while but it wasn’t great. J and L jumped about in the waves and had some fun and I took a bit of video which you can see in the slide show at the end of the post.

J and L having fun at Newgale

After an hour we’d had enough and headed up to the cliffs out of the wind and in the sun for a picnic. We decided that we might get some shelter at Marloes, one of our favourite beaches in the area. By the time we got there the tide was full in so there wasn’t much sand left but had a nice couple of hours sitting in the sun at the end of the day watching the tide come in.


D & L at Marloes

L in mid-air - Marloes

Marloes - tide in

We avoided the rain all day and it turned out to be a cracker. We headed back to the cottage and enjoyed the calm serenity of watching the tide go out on the estuary at the bottom of the garden.

View from the garden of the cottage

Unfortunately I had to head home and go back to work, leaving the rest of the family to enjoy further days out at Marloes and Oakwood theme park and I would rejoin them on Friday back at Broad Haven South. The second part of the story can be seen in part 2 but the full set of photos on flickr is here and a selection and some video is in the slideshow below.

12 responses to “Pembrokeshire – May Half Term 2011- part 1

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  1. Wow – look stunning. It’s far, far too long since I’ve been to Pembrokeshire. I really liked the slideshow with video and a bit of shooglenifty (the acceptable face of finger-in-the-ear-music). A calm sunny day, in sea kayaks, from Broad Haven South to Barafundle Bay looks like a potentially top trip.


    • That was exactly my thought as well. The cliffs, arches and bird-life would be great to see from a kayak – on a much calmer day than the one in this post. Pembrokeshire is superb, might even abandon the surf in Cornwall for our early summer holiday next year. Glad you like the music choice – fingers and ears on standby


  2. Looks rather nice! Good to see that Pembrokeshire looks so stunning in your photos as I will be heading there with my partner in September. Campsite booked and everything……….


    • You’ll love Pembrokeshire, especially out of season. A few must see’s would be Marloes (better piccys of that in part 2 coming soon), Skomer (get there early for the boat trip – see the puffins up close), any section of the coast between Barafundle and Stack Rocks, St Davids Head, Pembroke castle.Where are you staying?


  3. Not that far from St Davids, its inland but the campsite looks smashing. Only 10 pitches in all, we have booked a ‘wild’ pitch a few minutes walk away from the facilities. Each pitch apparently pretty much gets a field to themselves.


    • Sounds great. The coast around Aberriedy and Porthgain is pretty good as well. Look out for the blue pool, very impressive. Look forward to the blog after the trip


  4. fantastic pics from a very interesting coastline there, and great photo of the shanny… sounds like an area well worth visiting.

    (have only very recently come across your blog, liking it and have subscribed)



    • Hi David, glad you enjoyed the blog, post and photos. I’ve just subscribed to yours as well – some awesome photos there. Pembrokeshire is a superb place. Has a bit of something for all the family including satisfying my urges for some decent coastal walking and kayak-surfing. Also pretty quiet and unspoilt


  5. Great photos & blog. Going to Gower (Rhossili beach) this summer – may go to Pembrokeshire too now.

    Found your blog after you posted a link on someone else’s Scooter blog. May I ask if your Scooter is the Five-O? I ask as I am deciding between the Perception Scooter Platinum & the Five-O. Never had a sit-on before but had a sit-in kayak. Wondering how much worse the Platinum will be in surf. Any comments would be appreciated.


    • Hi, thanks for the comment, great to have a fellow kayaker reading my blog. If you look under my Surf Kayaking categories/pages, you’ll find some better video footage (also got some good stuff from a trip to Cornwall which should be up on the blog in a couple of weeks). Pembrokeshire can be good for surfing but its a little unpredictable, this year it wasn’t great but last year at Marloes it was superb. I’ve surfed at Llangennith before and at Caswell Bay on the Gower.

      Mine is a 5-0 and it is supposedly a specialist sit-on surf kayak although it is pretty easy to handle on flat once you get used to it (sits on are way more unstable than decked-kayaks). I’ve never surfed a Scooter but they look pretty similar. I love my 5-0 and wouldn’t trade it for anything although I only ever use it for surfing.

      Hope that helps – if you need any more help just let me know although I’m a long way from being any kind of expert!


  6. Thanks for the quick reply. Will phone a shop tomorrow to ask my question above. Inclined to get the Scooter as it can be adapted for fishing (Platinum spec has fishing accessories fitted). Like the idea – especially as we go camping (catch dinner).

    Incidentally, I used to hire sit-ons in the early 80s, at the beach (but never saw one in a shop). No idea why they didn’t catch on earlier. When I subsequently bought a sit-in I couldn’t use it at the beach, unless with friends with their kayaks, in case I capsized. I learned to do an Eskimo roll but was only successful roughly 33% of the time. Wouldn’t use a sit-in kayak alone in the sea.

    Love surfing but can’t do it (my user name is the sound of me surfing) – so the kayak I buy must be decent in surf.

    Don’t know where you are going this summer but I hope you have a good time. We can’t wait to go to Gower.


  7. For multi-purpose the Scooter will possibly be better – it’s by the far the most common sit-on I see on the beaches and most sit-on kayaks I see around seem to surf ok. I moved to sit-ons for the same reason of not being able to roll and got hacked of with constantly emptying out the water after a capsize. Now you fall off and just jump back on again.

    Sit-ons do take a bit of getting used to – just takes practice to get the feel/balance right (took me proabaly 5 or 6 days using it before I felt at home on it. Nowadays I tend to fall backwards off the boat when trying to paddle out over a big wave more often than I capsize when riding the waves. The “Surf Kayak Skills” page in my left hand menu is pretty useful although 80% of the stuff is way too advanced for me!

    Have a great time in the Gower and have fun with the new boat whatever you decide to get. Watch out for my upcoming video on my Cornish trip – got some pretty decent footage


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