DO YOU NEED ANY REASONS TO VISIT THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTY OF PEMBROKESHIRE IN THE SPRING? THEN LET ME GIVE YOU JUST A FEW….
It is, in my opinion, THE BEST time of the year to visit as the beaches are beautifully quiet and you may even get them completely to yourself, the flowers and wildlife can be stunning and there’s not too many folk to queue behind at the bar!
Earlier this month with my Surrey-based son and his partner staying for a long weekend, we headed to Marloes for a walk with Rio our aging Springer Spaniel and we had the entire beach to ourselves. Marloes on the Southern edge of St Brides Bay is a great stretch of sand with some terrific rock formations almost making it feel like lots of little bays. It is the beach where Snow White and the Huntsman was filmed in 2011. It is worth checking the tide table though and planning your visit on a low tide because when the tide is in the beach all but disappears. The National Trust carpark for the beach is about a half mile walk away.
After our walk on the deserted beach we drove the short distance into Dale and enjoyed an excellent bar meal at The Griffin where they pride themselves on good-quality, locally-sourced food. The fish I had was caught in the waters outside the pub window – it doesn’t get much more local than that! We received a very hospitable welcome (despite being late lunchers!) and there was a welcoming log fire in both bars and that with a glass of Reverend James set the scene for our delicious meal. We chatted with the owner on the way out who proudly told us that they had just been awarded SILVER in the National Tourism Awards for Wales in ‘Best Place to Eat’ (Pub category) and showed us the new extension cleverly built to the side of the building and with a roof terrace for some sea-view alfresco dining.
A great reason to come to Pembrokeshire at this time of year though is the spectacular wild flowers. At the moment bright yellow banks of gorse gleam in the brilliant sunshine, enormous clumps of primroses and timid violets filling the hedges and banks, bluebells and the wild garlic have just started to flower too. Shortly (and maybe even now in places) the hedgerows will burst forth with a splendid display of wild flowers including Campions, Queen Anne Lace, Cow Parsley, Bluebells and Cowslips… they really are a picture.
One of the most fantastic shows of wild flowers I have seen in Pembrokeshire was on Skomer – a magical island with a rich and diverse wildlife habitat. The pinks of the Campions and the carpets of bluebells stretched out across the island with a backdrop of deep blue sea and (hopefully) sky – is quite breathtaking. Of course, the other big attraction at Skomer Island is the bird life and, I think, in particular, the delightful little Puffins with their colourful beaks and chilled-out personalities. Each year around 6,000 of them return to live on Skomer for the spring and summer and the best time to see them is from May to early July when you are literally almost tripping over them! There are also many other birds on the island including Manx Shearwater, Guillemots, Choughs, Razorbills and Short-eared Owls to name a few. A trip to the magical island of Skomer will provide lasting treasured memories of a Pembrokeshire holiday. The boat trips for Skomer leave Martin’s Haven and usually start on April 1st but be aware that sometimes weather conditions may well result in the boat being unable to operate. It is not possible to book in advance for the boat so please check out the times before heading to Martin’s Haven.
Around the corner on the northern side of the peninsular is the picturesque little bay of St Brides with its waterside Norman church and rolling grassland towards St Brides Castle, once home of Lord Kensington, it is a rocky and sandy cove that is popular with divers. The striking red sandstone and the pretty little cottages create a beautiful backdrop and the coastal path walk back towards Marloes is one of my favourites. Once again if you would like to spend time on the beach head there at low tide. Earlier today a Red Kite was soaring above the woodland at the entrance to the Castle and a strikingly colourful pheasant waited calmly on the bank of wild garlic and bluebells under the tree canopy.
There are so many beautiful places to visit in Pembrokeshire from the walled historic town of Tenby, the magnificent castle at Pembroke as well as the fabulous beaches, coastal path walks, flowers and wildlife I have already mentioned. At the moment the sun is shining (long may it continue)….What are you waiting for?