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This is our North Pembrokeshire life

On Twitter, the other day, a local posted a picture of the view over Fishguard Harbour from GarnGelli. It was the scene coming down from the north, from the last slow humps of the Preseli Hills, where they roll into guillemot cliffs and coast path headlands. The bay glittered under the spring sun and the dark blue line of the horizon hugged the sky.  And a friend, long gone, successful out in the wide world commented, “I still miss that view.”  We all miss the views, when we travel, and eventually we all come home. 

To the slow light sweep of Strumble Head lighthouse over the restless waves. To the buried bones of the drowned forest at Abermawr at low tide, peeking through the dark sand.  To the curve of the River Gwaun from the bridge at Llanychaer, hanging heavy with green, the steep valley sides highlighted with flashes of purple from the rogue rhododendrons that crept out of the gardens and colonised the old forest.

Along with the views there are other sensory triggers – the smell of summer coming in the cool air mornings of April when the clocks spring forward and the grass grows in greedy swathes.  The slip slide of dry sand dunes under summer shod feet on the hummocks of Newport Beach.  The bubble burst of the inside of a white wave, tumble tickling on cold skin in the last warm days of autumn. 

North Pembrokeshire is our life, living in our hearts when we are away, welcoming us home, covering us like a comfortable coat that we shrug on to wear in the days that remain.  We invite you to join us here, to see how we live, share it, stay as long as you like, linger a little.

Find Your Epic

Definition of epic

1 : a long narrative poem in elevated style recounting the deeds of a legendary or historical hero

2 : a work of art that resembles or suggests an epic

3 : a series of events or body of legend or tradition thought to form the proper subject of an epic

 

We can do all that. You can help you find your epic here in North Pembrokeshire.

From adrenaline sports to journeys of spiritual discover to inspiration for your own art endeavours North Pembrokeshire can offer you a route into your own epic.

Our coast offers rich choices for those who thrive at the challenge of adventure activities and endurance sporting events.  The wide shelving beaches at Newgale and Whitesands offer excellent surfing throughout the year.  Our rugged cliffs and washing machine waves gave birth to the sport of Coasteering where participants are lead on a fun filled scramble just above the waterline.  The racing tides challenge kayakers and paddle boarders and wild swimmers are spoilt for choice with a multitude of sheltered coves and hidden beaches.

Age and ability should be no barrier to experiencing adventure!  Whilst some activities on offer require true grit and a spit in the eye attitude to fear there are plenty that just require a love of the outdoors.  Jet boat trips to the offshore islands and Ramsey Sound allow passengers an up close view not only of the wildlife but the power of our tidal surge and these trips are captained by highly experienced crews and are suitable for all ages. 

Now in its third year the Recreational Audit for Disabled Access (RADA) is working with activity providers across Pembrokeshire to allow those with disabilities to visit outdoor recreational sites and experiencr recreational activities including Coasteering.

For those who like to experience their excitement on solid ground then the sight of a porpoise fin cutting the swell off Strumble Head, or discovering the white innocence of a seal pup on a stony beach, can cause the soul to sing. 

North Pembrokeshire caters to all types of epic. For writers and artists the landscape is pure free inspiration. For those on a journey into themselves, following the old roads that cross our land, soaking in the ancient history, and in the quiet allowing them to hear the voice inside, this can be the start of a true epic experience.

 

More resources to help you find your epic in North Pembrokeshire

Hit and Myth: A legendary tour of North Pembrokeshire

“More soul than Stonehenge can muster” The Guardian Following two newly devised trails in north Pembrokeshire, Kevin Rushby of The Guardian finds an area thick with antiquity – from neolithic to Napoleonic eras.

Adventure Activities in Pembrokeshire

Never mind that we have the only coastal National Park in the UK, or our Blue Flag beaches are wide and free, we also have some of the best adventure activities around. Search them here

Epic Art at Workshop Wales

Workshop Wales Gallery is a powerful and moving place to experience art. The Gallery also hosts yearly exhibitions along with an ever-changing and exciting mixed show of indoor and outdoor Sculpture, Paintings and Ceramics.

Themed Walks in North Pembrokeshire

The family walk – a great tradition, fraught with the possibility of going horribly wrong. 

Remember the time you dragged the kids on what turned out to be a ten mile yomp that would have tested the mettle of a hardened platoon of marines. Or, that time you promised the children a view of the cute puffins and they grizzled for days afterwards because you couldn’t find any, and let’s not talk about the dolphins you promised them!

Avoid the pitfalls of the bad walk debacle (although to be fair all childhoods should feature at least one) and put some planning into your excursions in North Pembrokeshire.

There are a few tools to help you.  Those nice people at Strumble B&B have a cunning distance calculator that gives you exact mileage between points of interest on the coast path so you don’t fall foul of the optimistic “it’s not far” assertion of the most assertive in your group.  The calculator can be found HERE

For a huge selection of walks, long, short, disabled friendly, and circular, complete with printable maps and public transport info Pembrokeshire Coast has a comprehensive and searchable listing HERE

If there is a particular bird, animal or rare orchid you are desperate to see then plan accordingly.  The puffins aren’t here all year round, they spend most of the year at sea, arriving in the Spring to burrow hunt on Skomer and whilst we regularly see porpoises and dolphins they don’t appear on demand so take local advice and don’t make promises to loved ones that our wildlife can’t keep!  If you really really must see the dolphins your chances are going to be maximised by checking the tides, checking with the local boat operators and being willing to opt for a longer, further offshore trip.

For those of you who bring your doggy family to North Pembrokeshire (we love visiting dogs, they have an awesome time!) the Woof Guide (link below) has some excellent walks with loads of practical advice and there are plenty of pubs that will be happy to have your exhausted pup join you after a romp.

Put a little planning into your walks and if you need particular information just drop us a line and we’ll dig up some advice so your day doesn’t get ruined by a walk gone wrong.

Further resources on themed walks in North Pembrokeshire

Woof Guide - Cwm Gwaun walk 2.2 miles

A super walk for you and your four legged friend - This short walk is superb for admiring fantastic river and sea views, incorporating woodland walks and an abundance of bird life. The views from the Harbour car park are great of the sea, so you may spend a little time here before heading off on your walk. This walk is known for becoming quite wet and muddy pretty much all year round, so ensure you bring your wellies and doggie towel!

Pembrokeshire Paths Guided Tours

Professional guided group tours and walks, nordic walking, walking holidays, team building events and storytelling. We will help you take time out, to explore the best of Pembrokeshire paths or lead you into the less well known and hidden paths of Pembrokeshire.

Book - Pembrokeshire: Pub Walks

This attractive and good looking book will take you on ten short circular walks to some of the finest and most iconic pubs and inns in Pembrokeshire. Includes detailed maps, directions and information to walks around Solva, Porthgain, Newport, Rosebush and of course the iconic Dyffryn Arms in the Gwaun Valley.

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Discover the dark skies

Our night skies are spectacular. 

Lie on your back on a headland on a clear night and you feel like you are falling upward to slide the arch of the Milky Way.  Orion strides across the sky; his belt drips fire. In the summer Sirius sparkles bright emerald green and every dawn Lucifer is the last to leave, burning bright into the sunrise. In Autumn the meteor showers come, dying sparks across the sky.  Then in winter, on the coldest, clearest nights, when the planet’s magnetic field does battle with the solar wind, the aurora creeps south and if we are lucky and know when to look, we see it touch the horizon and set it alight.

There is nothing as awe inspiring, as romantic, as moving as stargazing and it is available to everyone who can get outside and look up.  Bundle the children in layers and set them watching for the satellites that swing across our skies in regular metallic arcs.  Or let the moon drive you to madness as you gather with friends beneath its slow light and watch it wax and wane over the sea.

This far west, far from the light pollution of cites and motorways, our skies are yours to explore and enjoy, and all for free.

Check out the time lapse video below made by local sculptor Adam Buick which captured the northern lights as they touched North Pembrokeshire – it’s beautiful.

 

Further resources to discover the dark skies of North Pembrokeshire

Best Stargazing Sites in Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire is home to a network of Dark Sky Discovery Sites; a nationally-recognised designation for top stargazing spots across the UK. Discover them here along with stargazing advice for beginners from the National Trust

Discovery in the Dark Wales

Pembrokeshire’s wild and rugged coast boasts some of the best dark sky opportunities in the country. It is possible to observe the spectacle of the Milky Way or the constellations such as Orion with the naked eye with the added dimension of being able to view the night sky as you look out to sea.

Brilliant Bats at the Bishops Palace

This evening tour runs regularly and is a must for all bat lovers (they are adorable!) Enjoy a family friendly evening where the past meets wildlife. Explore Pembrokeshire’s most special historical locations. Follow footsteps to the past, look for bats and listen for their calls

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Festivals and Themed Events

It all looks peaceful and quiet on the surface, but you’d be surprised by how much is actually going on in North Pembrokeshire.  We’ll run you ragged, dance you into oblivion, soothe you with music and read you to sleep if you just give us a chance.

Along our coast some of the most challenging sporting events find their natural home.  Only for the true endurance runner the Pembrokeshire Ultra Marathon leads the way as an example of exactly how far the human body can push itself.  Comprising of three ultra races along the stunning coast path, all ending in St Dogmaels, this running festival on 9th to 13th May 2018 culminates in the challenging, 100 mile, non stop, race from just outside Milford Haven north all along our rugged coast.  Learn more about the Ultra Marathon HERE

This May extreme kayakers again pray for wind and waves so they can ride the equinoctial winds that sweep along the North Pembrokeshire coast and send them flying north in the Fishguard Bay Ocean race.  This major downwind ocean Ski, SUP and OC race starting from Goodwick Parrog near Fishguard and finishing 16 km of big Atlantic rollers later on the broad and welcoming beach at Newport Sands, is another endurance event. Elite paddlers from the UK and around the world will be vying to show their extreme fitness, boat-handling and seamanship skills, and win this “black-belt,” no-holds-barred race. Learn more about Fishguard Bay Ocean Race HERE

Deep breath, and calm down.  Once the big waves of Spring have passed we move into the slower, more soothing activities of summer. August in North Pembrokeshire is all about art, from the two big music festivals to the increasingly popular Penfro Literary Festival and you can learn more about these in the resources below.

Community events that marked our child hood – I remember when strong man Geoff Capes went for the world record for brick lifting in Lota Park – still happen like traditional clockwork throughout the year.  Like Fishguard Carnival every summer, the multitude of agricultural shows teaming with beasts and packed with cunning crafts. And then there are new traditions to take into our hearts, soap box derby’s, community plays, brass band recitals and fund raising events beside the sea.

Keep an eye on our events calendar, explore it and note what is going on and join us.  Everyone is welcome.

 

More resources on festivals in North Pembrokeshire

Fishguard International Music Festival

Every summer Fishguard Music Festival takes the opportunity to present world class music against the stunning backdrop of North Pembrokeshire. The combination of glorious music and magical settings makes for a memorable experience – for audiences and musicians alike.

AberJazz Festival

August is always jazz time in north Pembrokeshire and the AberJazz festival aims to offer something to entice everyone. This year’s program is being constructed - in a laid back, very cool way – and it will, like all years, be packed with quality acts determined to give you a good time.

PENfro Literary Festival

Since 2011 this annual book festival has brought high calibre literary talks and workshops to North Pembrokeshire. Increasingly high profile, supported by Welsh publishers and with competitions that are growing in popularity and prestige each year this festival will shortly by the Hay of the West!

Pembrokeshire in Spring

Pembrokeshire in Spring is like standing at the kissing gate of a country church celebrating an old fashioned wedding. The air is full of flying blossom like confetti and the shades of pink and white from the hawthorn, the cherry and the apple whirl joyously as if thrown by playful angels.

We should have a bumper blossom season this year; the winter was mild and wet, March came in like a freezing lion and April was blessed with quick showers and surprising sunshine and now, coming into May it has been  wind tossed and bright breezy and the blossom is breaking out all over.

In May and June, before high season kicks in, everyone can have a piece of North Pembrokeshire to themselves. You can get the wide beaches, bouncy grass headlands and secret coves between steep slices of cliff, all to yourselves, your own private playground.

Spring is the time to take picnics to the coast path and gaze out at the colour changing sea and the panorama of cloudscapes. Spring is the time to wander the woods where the bluebells are slowly fading and the ferns are unfurling. Spring is the time, after the winter storms, to scour the beaches and discover strange shells, twisted driftwood and jewel hued pebbles at the high tide mark. Spring is the time to take a boat trip out to the islands to welcome home the puffins and watch their wing whirring take off from the waves. 

Spring is the time to just unwind from the endurance of winter, to breathe in and out, feel the turning of the year, the green stuff growing, to get back in touch with the coast and bask in the though of the long summer days to come

 

 

More resources for Spring in North Pembrokeshire

Skomer Island Blog

Keep up to date with all that is happening on Skomer Island. When the puffins arrive, what birds and sea creatures have been seen and insight from the rangers into what is happening right now on the island.

Spa Packages to see in Spring

Winter is tough on the skin and the soul. For all the natural high from witnessing the power of the storms too much inside time in front of the fire needs to be addressed. Enjoy a day spa and boost your energy to make the most of Spring

Dinas Island Circular Walk

Step out this Spring onto one of North Pembrokeshires finest walks. This is not a long walk but is one to test your fitness, with plenty of reasons to stop and admire some of the most spectacular views anywhere on the North Pembrokeshire coast.