Archive for the ‘Pembrokeshire’ Category

Coasting through the Bank Holiday in Pembrokeshire   7 comments

Half Term and time for a well deserved holiday. It was a holiday of two halves, the first half being spent in Pembrokeshire, courtesy of TBF’s friend who kindly let us rent her lovely cottage in Llangwm for the long weekend.

 

Illness was in the air unfortunately. I was still recovering from a nasty virus and cough but TJS had it full-blown all through the weekend and was in very bad way. We attempted to head out on the Saturday. It looked promising with the threat of showers so we headed down to Stack Rocks. Within minutes of stepping from the car the rain arrived. It looked like a brief shower and all was sunny a few hundred yards out to sea but it rained non-stop for 18 hours. The day was pretty much washed out and we spent the rest of the day relaxing at the cottage.

The Sunday promised much better so we returned to try again as I was keen to explore more of this stretch of coast. We were without TJS who too poorly to come with us and looked really sorry for himself. Such a shame when a cold ruins a long looked forward to holiday.

Stack Rocks is a superb place with some amazing features and wildlife. The arch known as the Green Bridge of Wales is perhaps it’s most spectacular feature.

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

We also saw seals and of course the Razorbills and Guillemots that crowd the isolated stacks. The population is huge with every spare spot nested and hundreds more in the air and fishing in the sea. It’s a fantastic site

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

We strolled along the coast, the sheer edges and blow-holes are spectacular and fascinating but it makes for long walking as you hug the coast.

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

We found a fine spot amongst the wild flowers on the coast for lunch

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

TJF was slowing down and seemed to have had enough coastal walking. I was keen to explore further so TBF took her off to Broad Haven South for some beach fun while I walked the coast to meet them.

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

The coast here is absolutely magnificent, one of the finest stretches of cliffs that I know. The land side is pretty much flat but the cliffs are pretty much sheer vertical limestone pocked with caves, arches, blow holes and incised narrow inlets. The coast path official route runs a few hundred metres inland for the most part and misses all this. Most people seem to follow this route so by sticking rigidly to the cliffs and following its exact line, I had it mostly to myself

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

As befits such an intricate coast, it’s full of evocative and unusual names for the various features. Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, Moody Nose, Mewsford Point, The Castle, Newton Saddle, Huntsmans Leap, Long Matthew Point

The walking is surprisingly tough as the ground is hard under foot and the distances deceptive. Several times I had to detour the best part of kilometre to achieve a distance of a few feet.

There were a couple of these inlets where with a brave leap you could hop across the narrow sections. I declined.

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

There was one amazing headland at least a hundred metres across that had a cave all the way beneath it from one side to the other. I made a vow to return and kayak this whole section on a calm day. It would be a magnificent expedition.

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

This section was rock climbing heaven and there were dozens of people scaling the cliffs. I watched several parties of all ages having fun and the rock is perfect for climbing. Vertical but solid and lots of holds.

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

I pressed on past St Govans Chapel (nice and photogenic but swarming with tourists) and on to St Govans Head (spectacular and deserted).

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

By now I was pretty tired and footsore and as I suspected, the Funsters were starting to wonder where I was. The coastal scenery was still delivering superb vistas but I had to up to the pace to meet them before they called out the rescue teams 🙂

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

If there is s more interesting and intriguing stretch of coastline I’m yet to see it and considering the many wonders it has to offer and relative accessibility you can have whole sections to yourself. Just make sure you stick to the line of the cliffs or you’ll miss all the fun.

7.3 Miles

7.3 Miles

A cracking day was finished off with a BBQ in the tranquil surroundings of Llangwm.

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

On our last day, TJS was feeling a little better so it seemed only fair to have a lazy beach day at Marloes, one of our favourites.

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

We did nothing much except laze on the beach, re-route water flows (my personal favourite), poke about in rock pools and watch the tide come in. The weather looked on the cusp of rain for  a while but eventually it turned into a scorcher.

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

Simple pleasures today

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

The evening back at Llangwm was beautiful and calm and I spent a happy hour snapping the boats in Llangwm Pill. It really is the most tranquil place made all the more fascinating by the way the tide creeps in out, almost un-noticed. Kind of creepy in a way

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

broad haven south, Bullslaughter Bay, Flimston Bay, green bridge, green bridge of wales, Huntsmans Leap, llangwm, Long Matthew Point, Mewsford Point, Moody Nose, Newton Saddle, pembrokeshire, St govans chapel, St govans head, stack rocks, The Castle, llangwm Pill

And then it was off to our friends in the north for the second half of the match

Romancing the Stones – The Preseli Hills   16 comments

I used to work as a sales rep for a small company that sold plastic building products (they were famous for their yellow buckets which my so-called friends found disproportionately amusing for some reason). Most of south Wales was on my patch and one very dark, grey and dreary afternoon I drove across the high road over the Preseli Hills and saw them as nothing more than a drab bit of moorland and never gave them another thought as a walking destination. In my quest to visit the lesser known corners of our uplands I thought it was time to give them a proper look on foot. As you’ll see, neglecting them for so long was an error.

Preseli Hills, Foeldrygarn, Preseli Hills

Preseli Hills from Foeldrygarn

We’ve been spending our October half-terms in my parents caravan at Clarach Bay for the past couple of years. When I say “we”, TBF and the kids spend the week while muggins goes to work and only spends the weekends away. This year was no exception and I’ll post up about the family times in an upcoming report. On the first Sunday the weather forecast was looking great so I agreed with TBF that I’d head out early for a morning walk while they went swimming and be back to spend the afternoon with them. I was up early on a cold, clear and frosty morning which when living in a caravan means a very cold making of breakfast and sandwiches with my gloves on – caravans are not great providers of early morning warmth.

Foeldrygarn, Preseli Hills

Foeldrygarn

It’s an hour’s drive down the Ceredigion coast and the day’s weather and the views were absolutely superb. I arrived at the small and chilly parking area just outside Crymych before 9 and eagerly headed off towards the hills under a deep blue sky.

5.5 miles, 550 feet of ascent

The Preseli hills are arranged as long broad ridge arrayed east-west and I was headed first for the most easterly top Foeldrygarn (the  rounded or bare hill of the three cairns). The car park is quite high up and the summit less than 400m so it only took 20 minutes to reach the summit, crowned with 3 huge bronze-age burial cairns and the remains of an iron-age hill fort.

Ceredigion Coast, Foeldrygarn, Preseli Hills

Ceredigion Coast from Foeldrygarn

The views were breathtaking and revealed the majesty that are the Preseli Hills. A rolling ridge of grassy tops crowned by a succession of rock outcrops marching westwards. Out west was the Ceredigion coast and Cardigan Bay and the patchwork of fields in between.

Foeldrygarn, Preseli Hills

North from Foeldrygarn

It just begged to be walked and had an impression of remoteness and altitude that belied its proximity to the coastal resorts and modest height. Foeldrygarn itself is an impressive little mountain in its own right, bristling with rocky outcrops of its own and numerous winding paths. It’s another to add my list of “Small mountains with disproportionately great views”. On a calm summers evening it would make a magnificent spot for wild camp.

Foeldrygarn, Preseli Hills

Foeldrygarn

Foeldrygarn, Preseli Hills

Foeldrygarn

I was eager to explore so I was away and positively bounding with enthusiasm. My inherent laziness crept in though as I sought to cut the corner on my way to the next summit. What I got for my trouble was wet feet as I discovered another of the Preseli charms – they are seriously boggy and wet. I retreated from a tussocky swamp to the path I should have been on in the first place thinking it would be drier. These hills however are made of sterner – and wetter – stuff and every yard of path was either boggy, squelchy or just water, or a combination of all three. Not a place for trail shoes 🙂

Carn Gyfrwy, Preseli Hills

Carn Gyfrwy

Still it wasn’t in any way detracting from the views which were still amazing. The next rocky tor is Carn Gyfrwy, a grassy mound topped with jagged rocks that gave a fine view across the nearer tors to the higher summits beyond. Onwards across the grassy boulder strewn summit towards Carn Menyn and a quintessential piece of British history.

Carn Menyn, Preseli Hills

Carn Menyn

It was from here that the bluestones (or spotted dolerite to be more correct) that form Stonehenges inner circle were taken. Each one weighed an estimated 4 tonnes and was transported over 200 miles to where they now stand. Still, no-one knows why they were taken such a huge distance from this particular spot or more importantly how. As I stood alone amongst the rocks it makes you think what a strange and wonderful history we have in the most sublime and unexpected of places.

Carn Menyn

Carn Menyn, Preseli Hills

This section of the ridge was rippled with rocky tors and I wandered amongst them, fascinated by their shapes against the backdrop of the blue sky. In the distance I noticed a group and an argo-cat clearly out hunting. I’ve heard a few worrying tales of unfriendly landowners with guns of late so my pace slowed and I felt a little apprehensive as I headed towards them. However I heard no gunshots and by the time I reached the summit of Carn Bica and the Beddarthur stone circle they were long gone. Beddarthur is another supposed burial-place of King Arthur (blimey that bloke covered some ground) and the local legend tells of him and his happy band chasing a giant wild boar called Twrch Trywyth across the hills.

Carn Gyfrwy, Carn Menyn, Carn Bica, Preseli Hills

Carn Gyfrwy, Carn Menyn from Carn Bica

As I sat on the top for a breather I unfurled the map. I had thought I could reach Foel Cwncerwyn (the highest point) or even Cerrig Lladron at the western end of the ridge. It was clearly a ludicrous plan given I only had half a day. The ridge looked inviting but rather than race to the top I thought it a better plan to wander back through the tors to Foeldrygarn and take a leisurely lunch on the summit. The full ridge traverse would have to wait for another day.

Foel Cwncerwyn, Carn Bica, Preseli Hills

Foel Cwncerwyn from Carn Bica

The problem with the these hills is that there is no obvious circular route – unless you fancy a long road walk along its southern flanks. As I wandered back it occurred to me that I am a little preoccupied with not retracing steps when I plan walks but without a good reason why. The views in the reverse direction were different to those on the outward leg and every bit as good. The same tors I’d examined took on a new character. I suppose where there is an obvious circular route it will always draw you on but this walk was telling me that when there isn’t one, simply retracing your steps is not necessarily a bad thing. I’d be interested to hear anyone else’s view on this topic.

I saw my first walkers of the day on the summit of Foeldrygarn (although I had passed a couple of very energetic and very muddy mountain bikers) but they soon departed leaving the summit all to myself.

Foeldrygarn, Preseli Hills

Lunch on Foeldrygarn

Foeldrygarn, Preseli Hills

South from Foeldrygarn

I found a cracking grassy shelf amongst the rocks, sheltered from the wind with views out to the coast and along the ridge. The summit of Foel Cwncerwyn had a huge bank of cloud like an alien spaceship sitting over it. Perhaps that was how they moved those stones 🙂

Foel Cwncerwyn, Preseli Hills

chariots of the gods!

Foeldrygarn, Preseli Hills

Alone with his thoughts (and a brew)

Time to make the short walk back to the car and head home for some family time. I was home by 2 and back out again for another walk on the local coastal hill – but that’s another post….

Pembrokeshire – May Half Term 2011- part 2   4 comments

Where was I? Oh yes carrying on from part 1 of our Pembrokeshire trip. There I was, slaving away over my laptop in the heady world of mobile communications while the family enjoyed some late spring sunshine. I took off early on the Friday and met them on Broad Haven South beach again, this time on a stunning clear afternoon baking under a hot sun. Summer it seems was back so I went for a swim.

Water sports at Broad Haven South

Water was crystal clear but flippin’ cold, wish I’d had my snorkelling stuff with me. Had to be satisfied with a swim and a couple of coasteering jumps from the rocks. It would also have been a cracking evening for a meander up the coast in the kayak, exploring the caves, arches and blowholes and getting up close and personal with the sea-birds –  alas the boat was back at the cottage.

Appetite suitably whetted we had some BBQ hot-dogs on the beach (with added quartz minerals as the wind picked up while we were cooking). Sometimes you can’t beat the simple pleasures of sitting on a warm deserted beach under blue sky with great views and some BBQ grub.

Beach BBQ

Beach BBQ

We finished off with a leisurely stroll across the beach in the warm evening sunshine, and it was pushing 9pm when we finally left the beach. Nice finish to the day when I was sat at my desk at home earlier in the day.

Sunset Stroll

The next day looked equally good so it was an easy decision to head to Marloes. The kids love the beach. It has excellent rocks for scrambling about on and there are always big rock pools deep enough for a swim. I’ve never spent a full day on the beach and was hoping for some waves to surf. Unfortunately there was no decent surf – probably just as well as it’s a mile from the car park and a long way to drag the boat. I settled for a day of serious pottering about, building sand castles and having some quality time with the kids

It was glorious when we got there but a quite windy. Luckily we found a sheltered spot out of the wind and while J basked in the sun I took the kids for a walk to the far end of the beach

Marloes

We spent the rest of the day doing nothing in particular, watching the waves, diverting rivers on the beach, making sand castles the usual sort of thing.

Marloes

L was brave enough to go for a swim in the pools and had a fine time running and jumping in the waves (see the videos in the YouTube clip at the bottom)

Water baby

Mini-coasteering

Watching the tide come in

Fun in the sun 1

Fun in the sun 2

It amazes me where the time goes in a day on the beach. Before we knew it, it was 5pm and time to head home. We had planned a BBQ back in the garden and wanted to make the most of it. The view across the beach on the way back to the car park is one of my favourites in the area.

Marloes – tide out

Back at the cottage we had a lovely BBQ, the cottage in Llangwm is one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever stayed. It’s on the Cleddau estuary and just sitting and watching the tide slowly ebb and flow and listening to the birdsong is truly relaxing. We have been so lucky to spend time here

BBQ in the garden

For the last day we had planned to go back to Broad Haven South for a walk on the cliffs. However someone decided that the best day to run the Pembroke half-marathon was on a Sunday in half-term week. This involved closing off most of the main access roads into the town and consequently there was no way to get to the south coast. Frustrated and quite frankly, annoyed, we had to drive back over the toll – for the second time in 15 minutes and head somewhere else (rant over). We headed for the St Ann’s peninsula as I’d never been there. It’s a different style of coast with twisted rock strata of red cliffs rather than the limestone of the South but it provides a great contrast with the blue sky. It was also carpeted with wild flowers and pretty much deserted

St Ann’s Head looking towards Marloes

Little Castle Point and Frenchman’s Bay

The photo below is taken near the lighthouse at the far-end and it’s one of the best examples I’ve seen of folded rock strata. The kids were fascinated by the idea you can “bend and twist” rock.

Folded rocks on the headland

The end of the peninsula was disappointing with far too much chain link fence and concrete. We were planning to walk up the other side of the peninsula but the Milford Haven Sound is festooned with oil refineries. Another mystery of why such a stunning area is seen as prime territory for industrial development. We satisfied ourselves with a lovely picnic on the cliffs.

Picnic on the cliffs

This part of the coast is renowned for seals and dolphins but we didn’t see any wildlife other than some wild horses and a field of young bulls blocking the path back to the car. We finished off the day and the holiday with another stroll across the beach at Marloes before we headed back to the cottage to pack and go home after a great week

Part 1 of the trip is here if you missed it and you can check out the full set of photos and video in the slide show below or on my Flickr site here

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.

Marloes

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.

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