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The Pembrokeshire Tourism Blog

Dog-friendly getaways: 48 hours in Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Monday, April 15, 2019

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Why Pembrokeshire might just be the most dog-friendly place to holiday.

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Thursday, April 11, 2019

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A tail of a walk in Porthgain

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Thursday, April 11, 2019

A tail of a walk in Porthgain Read More

A tail of a walk to Amroth

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Thursday, April 11, 2019

A tail of a walk to Amroth Read More

Walking in the Shadow of Brunel

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Friday, March 08, 2019



As we drove down through Neyland the excitement mounted. I began to yelp and bark in anticipation of one of my favourite walks. I then banged my head as usual on the window of the hatchback’s boot lid. For any vets out there who are looking for a topic to research you might like to consider doing a study on pre-walk concussion in excited dogs travelling in small cars. Anyway, I digress (which proves I haven’t got concussion otherwise I wouldn’t be able to use posh words like ‘digress’). What was I talking about? Ah, yes, the trip to Neyland.


My owner parked at the free car park overlooking the Cleddau. That’s right, we were going on the walk to the Westfield Pill nature reserve! My owner put my lead on and we walked to the railings by the water’s edge. Across the water we could see Pembroke Dock and to our left was the bridge spanning the River Cleddau. But as I rested my front paws on the railings I was transported back in time to the 1850’s. He HAS got concussion I hear you say, but no, these are special railings. They are made out of original train rails designed by the civil engineer commemorated in a statue nearby - none other than Isambard Kingdom Brunel.


Neyland was once a bustling harbour with a railway line connecting it with Haverfordwest. When the line reached Neyland it divided into multiple tracks for sidings. We walked along these tracks, which are still there today, embedded in the tarmac. As we followed the tracks I did what any self-respecting railway enthusiast would do in this situation - I pretended I was a train. I made a chugging noise, howled like a whistle and pulled hard on the lead. My owner was not amused. She did not appreciate being treated like heavily laden rolling stock. Anyway, my train noises were drowned out by the bustling activity of Dale Sailing’s shipyard to our left. Then we reached the end of the tarmac and left the tracks behind. The marina now came into full view.


The marina, known officially as Neyland Yacht Haven, is a stunning sight with all sorts of colourful yachts and boats. There are lots of facilities including Manillas Café and the Bar Restaurant.  It was a nice sunny day so my owner decided to stop for a coffee. We sat at a table outside and I helped myself to some water from one of the bowls provided by the nice people from the café.  


After coffee we set off again along the path until we had passed the end of the marina. We were now walking where the single railway track used to go as it followed the water inlet upstream. This was originally tidal but a lagoon was formed by bunds which were built in the 1980s to retain sludge drained from the marina. This is where the Westfield Pill nature reserve begins. Staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Trust maintain the reserve.


The reserve has lots of wildlife. There are around thirty species of butterfly and 150 different types of birds including ospreys, little egrets and little grebes. Many birds breed here including kingfishers, shelducks, mute swans, mallards and herons. You can also spot lizards, adders and grass snakes which like to find shade amongst the limestone ballast on which the railway was built. There are also some interesting flowers and plants. For example the reserve has the largest colony of bastard balm in Wales. Its flowers are white with a splash of purple on their lower lip. On this particular day I did spot some swans in the water with their signets. By the way, did you know that when a male and female swan pair off they often remain together for life? Swans have always made good matches.


The route through the reserve is very picturesque - at one point there is even a lagoon on the left as well as the right. The route is also a cycle path and is part of the Celtic Trail. This particular stretch, from here to the village of Johnston, is known as the Brunel Cycle Trail. Some cyclists take this very seriously. As they go by they have a look on their face which clearly betrays the fact that they are pretending to be in the Tour de France and being chased by the peloton. I usually annoy them by barking in French.


It took us about twenty minutes to walk to the other end of the reserve. The path continues for many miles, but we turned round and headed back. By the time we reached the car I was ready for a good rest and snuggled down in the boot. There was no danger of banging my head as I was too tired to even sit up. By the time we left Neyland I was sound asleep and dreaming I was on a steam train being driven by Isambard Kingdom Brunel himself.


Note: This blog is part of a series written for the Visit Dog Friendly Pembrokeshire Project. The project has received funding via the Tourism Product Innovation Fund (TPIF) supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government, the Fund aims to encourage new innovative product ideas working in partnership which will have a greater impact and attract more visitors.



Isambard Kingdom Brunel 

Dale Sailing Co

Celtic Trail Cycle Route

Wildlife Trust of South West Wales





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A Walking Tail on Newgale Beach

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Friday, June 22, 2018

A Walking Tail Around Carew

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Friday, June 15, 2018

Visit Legendary North Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Friday, September 22, 2017

Planning to eat out in Pembrokeshire? Just add water

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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The Best Cycling Tours and Trails in Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Friday, April 21, 2017

The Best Cycling Tours and Trails in Pembrokeshire

With its spectacular landscape, winding country lanes and fresh sea air there’s no better place than Pembrokeshire to go for a spin on your bike. Whether you’re a budding Bradley Wiggins or more of a relaxed cyclist, our stunning county has fantastic tour events and scenic trails to tempt riders of all abilities. Here are our picks of some of the best cycling experiences in Pembrokeshire.

 

Photo credit: Preseli Angel

Preseli Angel 2017

Sunday 30th April sees the 10th anniversary of the Preseli Angel,

a popular cycling tour which threads its way through the majestic north Pembrokeshire countryside. There are two distances to choose from of 40 or 78 miles, depending on how energetic you’re feeling. Starting at the The Parrog in Newport, both routes combine breath-taking sea views with the twists, turns, soaring peaks and dramatic descents of the Preseli hills. With its diverse terrain and quiet, well-marked routes Preseli Angel is not to be missed, particularly for riders looking to gauge their fitness early on in the cycling season. There’s a real emphasis here on cyclists coming together to celebrate the sport and a friendly and supportive atmosphere is guaranteed!

Photo credit: Tour of Pembrokeshire

Tour of Pembrokeshire 2017

Further down the coast on the St David’s peninsula, this year’s Tour of Pembrokeshire takes place on the 20th and 21st May. Twinned with the Tour of Brittany and popular with British and continental riders this is an event with a big reputation. Also in its tenth year, it has attracted legendary riders such as cycling great Chris Boardman and is going from strength to strength. There are a few routes to choose from: on Saturday 20th you can cycle 60 miles, 80 miles or, if you’re really up for a challenge, 130 miles. If you fancy yourself as a King of the Mountains, this is your route - with 13,000 feet of incredible climbs it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted! On Sunday 21st there's a choice between a 28 or 40 mile tour designed for families or those wanting a recovery ride after all that effort on Saturday. Like the Preseli Angel, the routes combine stunning coastal terrain with the wooded valleys and moors that lay further inland so there's no better way to experience the beauty of Pembrokeshire.   

Photo credit: Pembrokeshire Cycle Trail

Legends Cycle Trail

If an organised touring event isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of alternative cycle routes that you can tackle in your own time. The Legends Cycle Trail

is a great option for anyone who wants to dig a little deeper and explore the history of Pembrokeshire whilst enjoying an exhilarating bike ride. A beautiful route that stretches between the village of Trelech just over the Carmarthenshire border to Fishguard on the Pembrokeshire coast, The Legends Cycle Trail brushes the southern edge of the Preseli hills, taking you past many of the fascinating ancient sites dotted across the landscape. Famed for the bluestone used to build Stonehenge and their place in Arthurian legend, the Preselis provide a stunning backdrop. This glorious route, with waterfalls reputed to be the door to the Celtic underworld, mystical stone circles, dramatic bluestone cairns that cap the moorland peaks and an intricate tapestry depicting the last Invasion of Britain, is a must for history-lovers.

 Photo credit: explorebritain.com

Or why not blaze your own trail?

Of course, if you’re more of a cycling maverick you can always just grab a map and go where the mood takes you; it’s all part of the fun of exploring our beautiful county! Detour on a whim, stop off in one of our charming villages to refuel or pause to enjoy the incredible views when your legs get a bit tired – there’s so much to enjoy about cycling around Pembrokeshire. The abundance of country lanes and off-road trails crossing the landscape make it a really accessible and exciting place for cyclists of all abilities, with a mix of terrain and stunning vistas you won’t find anywhere else. So what are you waiting for? Dust off that lycra and get on your bike!


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