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West Wales/Pembrokeshire

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image map of Pembs Newgale Broad Haven Dale Tenby Saundersfoot Amroth Pendine

West Wales is one of the most unspoilt areas of the UK - presumably due to its remoteness from the rest of England & Wales. Long may it stay that way. It's about 2 1/2 - 3 hours drive W. from Bristol. Essentially, just head west along the M4 until it becomes A48, follow that until it becomes the A40 at Carmarthen. Follow the A40 to Haverfordwest, & then head to either Newgale (A487), Broad Haven (B4341) or Dale (B4327) from there. When you fall into the sea, you know you've arrived.

I must put in a word for the Presili Cafe on the A40 at Llandewi Velfrey (by the Esso petrol station): Often I set off from home at around 06:00, getting me to the Presili Cafe around 08:00 (traffic willing) in time for one of the best, cheapest, full-cooked english breakfasts available - and available all-day.

Aside from the windsurfing, the Pembrokeshire coastal path is pretty spectacular if you're into walking, & well worth walking several stretches. It's pretty up & down with one or two stiff climbs, but presents no difficulties for the averagely fit. Don't underestimate the time you'll need, however. Reckon on 1 1/2 miles per hour. The only blots on the landscape are the occasional Artillery range on the Pembroke penisula (the path diverts inland of the range) and the oil refineries around Miford Haven & Rhoscrowther, and the attendant oil tankers in the Haven. This, of course, was to have been the destination of the ill-fated Sea Empress which ran aground just outside the Haven in Feb 1996, spilling 75000 tonnes of crude oil - Britain's worst-ever oil spill. The coastline has recovered remarkably well to the naked eye. The effect on marine life was pretty devastating although Atlantic grey seals, porpoise, dolphins, & basking sharks can all be seen once again.

You'd think the area would be pretty good for Mountain Biking - unfortunately this isn't so. Practically the whole area is National Trust protected & consequently very few trails exist. The coastal path is strictly off-limits to bikes. There are some trails around the Presili Hills, St David's, Strumble Head and so on. A small trail guide is available from the Tourist Info on the E side of St David's.

W Wales has a fairly mild, wet & windy climate - this being where the moisture-laden prevailing SW winds from South America alight on our shores. For similar reasons, some pretty large swells can be had in St Bride's Bay.

It has to be said, that for the beer lover, the beer available around these parts is consistently the worst, being predominantly monopolised by Bass' Worthington Draught and Boddingtons bitter - both in the TTP (totally tasteless piss) bracket. Not only that, it's consistently expensive. There are one or two oases but they are few & far between. Where I've remembered, I've included watering holes I know of in the descriptions.

When the wind doesn't blow, there's not a great deal to do other than typically touristy things: For kids, there's Oakwood Amusement Park which I think is near Narberth. St David's has a small sea life aquarium which is good for a hour or two. For those interested in history, the Bishop's Palace & St David's cathedral are both well worth visting. Solva - a small town on the N of St Bride's Bay - between Newgale & St David's has an "arty" disposition, being home to an exiled Cuban artist with prolific output. His gallery's on the main street & open to visitors. Solva lies in a very well protected natural harbour formed by a small river valley. The quayside is great for kids for catching crabs off. There are several pubs, the best being the Harbour Inn. They usually have a selection of 5 or 6 real ales, do good, inexpensive meals, have a pool table & seem to allow kids in. For more serious foodies I've heard the Cambrian Arms is good.

If you're self-catering in the area - either camping, B&B, caravan or whatever, there's a large Tesco in Haverfordwest on the road out towards Broad Haven. It may be worthwhile stocking-up here. There's also a Safeway store, but you normally only find that on the way home (Eastbound) due to the kind of one-way, ring road system round Haverfordwest. Both these have filling stations.

Other Relevant Information Sources

  • Tourist Information, St David's (for Newgale) Tel: 01437-720392
  • Tourist Information, Haverfordwest (for Broad Haven) Tel: 01437-763110
  • Haven Sports, Broad Haven Tel: 01437-781354
  • West Wales Windsurfing, Dale Tel: 01646-636642

If any of of this has been useful to you, or if you have any comments, updates or amendments, please email , or use the update links on any of the region's location pages

Content supplied by Martin Farrimond K62 - Jan2000.

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