………………….and lots of absolutely stunning coastline!
Having been here before and given that it’s a glorious day, I think that I’ve saved the best until last and I’m sure that my American ladies will love it. It’s scheduled to be a short day, as we have to get back to Heathrow airport – unfortunately it’s their last day 😦
We head for the Stackpole Estate, now part of the National Trust and also to the headlands incorporated into the Castlemartin artillery range, which is often closed to public access. Watch out for the red flags, which indicate whether it’s in use today or not!
We park up at Broad Haven, a wonderful wide beach bisected by a river and marked by the Star Rock, a little way out to sea. First of all we head north through the artillery range of Castlemartin, staying close to the cliffs to take advantage of the spectacular views. The sea is absolutely glistening in the sunshine this morning, sparkling with diamonds and almost as flat as a mill-pond. The headland of St Govan has sheer cliffs and as we walk, we come across 6 backpacks and pairs of sneakers and a solitary rope anchored to a fixed point and running into the void over the cliff. All of a sudden a head, clad in a metallic orange helmet pops up. Not a mass Reggie Perrin but, a climbing party – a common sight along this coastline.
After a couple of miles of following the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path / Wales Coast Path we reach the car park at St Govan’s Head. At this point, we are warned of a fairly rare orchid that is in danger of being eradicated, the Green Winged Orchid and areas are taped off to protect it.
Here there is a fairly steep ravine with steps leading down to a surprise, a chapel attached to the steep rocks half way down the cliffs to the sea. This is the site that the mysterious, legendary hermit and monk, St Govan, hid himself away from marauding pirates from Ireland or nearby Lundy Island, in a fissure in the rock during the 6th Century. The chapel itself dates from the 13th Century and is built over the cave where the hermit lived. There is a lot of mystery, myth and legend involved with the stories of St Govan and makes for interesting reading. Count the steps as you go down and again as you come back. I bet the number isn’t the same. I counted 75 down and 76 up, Jean counted 75 up, another man counted 73 down and his partner 72 down. Spooky!
We all sat on the seaward side of St Govan’s Chapel and it was so peaceful and the weather so glorious, we agreed that we could sit there all day. It is a very special place.
We headed back to the car park at Broad Haven, taking the direct route across the firing range. We then drove the short distance to Bosherston and parked with the Sunday tourists, all eager to see the famous Lily Ponds, which are inhabited by a group of Otters, as well as other wildlife. We are convinced that we saw one in the distance amongst the Lily pads or was it the glistening underside of a Lily pad as it catches a breeze? The ladies are taken with feeding a pair of nesting Robins from their bags of trail mix. These amazing little birds certainly made for some great photos, whilst pecking at seeds and nuts while still holding a number of flies and bugs in their beaks. Not sure how they managed that.
It’s time to leave Pembrokeshire, which is a real shame. First of all we decide to have lunch and the National Trust warden recommends a friends pub as a good source of local fish and the usual range of Sunday Roasts – The Stackpole Inn. I highly recommended this establishment for the food, the picture postcard location and the pub itself. A former Post Office.
Next stop, London Heathrow’s Terminal 4!