July 30th, 2022
Summer is a great time to think about an adventure in Wales and particularly on the Pembrokeshire Coast. Here you can walk the 186 mile Pembrokeshire Coastal Path or sections of it, enjoy any of the 58 beaches, learn about the history of the castles along the way or visit one of the quaint towns and villages. And the scenery is spectacular!
I started my visit in the medieval town of Tenby. Complete with castle ruins and 13th Century walls, this ancient fishing village is now a tourist hub. There are long sandy beaches on both sides of the town and there are lots of very good restaurants. I enjoyed an excellent evening meal every night that I was there!
My friend and I took a bus from Tenby centre up the coast to Manorbier which boasts a castle and an old church above the very popular beach there. You can pay to see the castle in its entirety or enter the grounds to eat at the cafe. It was such a treat to have a snack inside the castle grounds and the food is very tasty too!
We chose to walk in the direction of Tenby which was on Manorbier's left side. This section is on the southern part of the trail and has some of the most picturesque scenery on the entire path. Some of the more famous sites along this route are Church Door Cove, Sprinkle Haven and Proud Giltar Blowhole. The trail wound along the tops of some very steep cliffs at times but just had a few steep ups and downs. You pass by a Ministry of Defence Rifle Range but it wasn't in use the day we were there. The temperature was perfect and there was no wind! It is always wonderful to find a cafe for a break and past Lydstep is a sign that a farm shop and cafe is just 300 feet off the trail so off we went to find it! If you want to stop your walk here, there is a bus stop just 100 feet up the road.
Pembrokeshire has many other castles. We chose to go to the city of Pembroke to see its grand castle. There we were inspired by the excellent tour guide who was very theatrical and painted the history of the castle with aplomb. In the castle courtyard is a map of Wales and on it are placed all the castles in Wales and these are colour coded as to their origins. Many of the castles were build by the Normans who came to Wales soon after the Norman conquest of 1066. They visited and left only to come back later to conquer the lands. Castles, which before this time were not known in Wales, were ordered to be built at this time. Pembroke Castle was started by Arnulf de Montgomery in 1093 who built a bailey and a few years later the people inside the castle withstood a long siege despite being close to starvation. The castle was enlarged by William Marshall, son in law of Strongbow. Both of these names are well known in Welsh history and these men have connections to other castles Wales. Pembroke Castle was built over a cavern and this past two summers, archeologists have been busy digging up bones and flints which date back 10,000 years. A bone, which may be from a wooly mammoth, has been sent away for testing. The archeological team is very excited about this find.
My sojourn in Wales was by no means long enough. I plan to return to walk another section of the coastal path and explore more of this beautiful area. I hope that you will plan a journey here too!
The photo above is of Tenby.
The two photos below are:
Top: Manorbier Beach and Castle
Bottom: Pembroke Castle's inner courtyard and the map of Wales
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