South West Pembrokeshire

This part of Pembrokeshire, in south west Wales,takes in mainly the area around St. Davids and to the south. It has a spectacular coastline with rugged cliffs broken by broad, sandy beaches and narrow inlets. Twisting (and sometimes very narrow) country lanes join small villages and coastal bays.

In Spring and early Summer the verges and hedgerows are brought to life by many different types of wildflower, and on sunny days the sea is a deep, Mediterranean blue.

There are few towns of any size in the area. Haverfordwest occupies a more-or-less central position and has a reasonable range of shops. It has improved a lot since we first started to visit Pembrokeshire, many years ago. Further south the town of Milford Haven has long been dominated by two large oil terminals with refineries because the water in its estuary is very deep. However, these refineries are now less active than once was the case and part of the old harbour area is being redeveloped to give it a more 'marina-style' feel with shops, offices and places to eat.

St. Davids (said to be the smallest city in the UK) is small and a little touristy: it is at the centre of an area popular for surfing and diving with wonderful, wide beaches. The cathedral is very small and worth a visit - it has an oddly sloping floor. The nearby village of Solva has a number of craft shops and a generally 'artistic' feel. The small, coastal village of Porthgain to the north of St. Davids is dominated by the strangely-attractive remains of what was once a busy stone quarry and stone crushing complex. During the first half of the 20th Century it was caught up in a road-building boom and from its tiny harbour crushed stone was once exported to many places in Europe; now it is a picturesque village with several art galleries and local artists. There is also a good pub - The Sloop - that dates back hundreds of years and is well known locally.

For most visitors to Pembrokeshire the main attractions are probably the beaches and the coastal views. The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path runs around most of the county, and is a splendid way to see the shoreline and to reach a number of otherwise inaccessible beaches - good examples being Musselwick Sands or Marloes Beach.

Our favourite seaside village is Littlehaven, still largely unspoilt and with wonderful views out to sea. At low tide it is possible to walk on the sands around the rocky headland to the neighbouring (and larger) village of Broadhaven.

A great day out (depending to some extent on the time of year) is a landing trip to the island of Skomer, a short boat ride from the mainland. Skomer is the largest of several islands nearby and a permanent wildlife sanctuary, home to many types of seabird. We saw gulls of all shapes and sizes but our favourite must be the puffins nesting in burrows along the edges of the cliffs. Reach the island from the landing stage at Martins Haven.

We stayed at Creampots Caravan Site, close to Broadhaven. Very good.

© GDS 2004
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