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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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A tail of a walk in Porthgain

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Thursday, April 11, 2019

A tail of a walk in Porthgain Read More

Tourism in the National Park

Dennis O'Connor - Thursday, April 04, 2019


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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

Spooky things in Pembrokeshire this half term

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Saturday, October 21, 2017

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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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Ten family friendly beaches to enjoy in Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Friday, March 31, 2017

10 family friendly beaches to enjoy in Pembrokeshire

From broad swathes of golden sand to cosy coves hidden amongst the towering cliffs, Pembrokeshire is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches. We also boast some of the freshest air and cleanest waters in the country, with many beaches being given Green Coast and Blue Flag recognition. On a warm day, our shores are the perfect spot for a cooling dip, playing a lazy round of cricket or simply relaxing in the sun. But if the weather isn’t so obliging there’s still plenty to do, from exploring mysterious rock pools and caves to flying a kite or just taking a leisurely stroll. Now that spring is in the air, it’s the perfect time to pack that picnic, dig out the bucket and spade and enjoy a great family day out.

Poppit Sands

In the north of the county on the Teifi estuary near St Dogmaels, lies Poppit Sands. At low tide, this is a long, wide beach which never feels overcrowded and has spectacular views of Cardigan Island. At high tide, only a thin stretch of sand remains but the path-streaked dunes that lie behind it are the perfect place for a walk or game of hide and seek. There is a car park and small cafe opposite the lifeboat station.

Ceibwr

An isolated cove about 6 miles north of Newport reached via a narrow road from the village of Moylegrove and great for sea fishing or as a route to the coast path. Probably not a bucket and spade beach or one suited to younger children but it has other charms - 1km to the south lies The Witches’ Cauldron, a spectacular blowhole where the sea rushes up through an old collapsed cave. No facilities or parking available, though you can park in Moylegrove village.

Whitesands

If you’re a keen surfer, Whitesands is the place for you but it’s equally popular with ordinary beach-goers. Located 2 miles from St Davids on the rocky headland, it has fine white sand, views of Ramsey Island and is sometimes visited by curious seals and porpoises. Parking is available above the beach with toilets, a cafe and surf hire available.

Druidston Haven

This is a more remote treasure but is well worth a visit to marvel at the spectacular cliffs and natural arches. It’s perhaps more suited to families with older children as the paths to the beach are quite steep. There are a few parking spaces on the narrow coast road between Newgale and Broad Haven but the nearest facilities are located in the neighbouring villages.

Marloes

A beautiful and rarely crowded expanse of sand , this beach was used as a location for the Hollywood film Snow White and the Huntsman. At points, lines of rock stretch from the cliffs towards the sea creating separate bays, though be careful the tide doesn’t cut you off whilst exploring the rock pools. This is a great place to enjoy a stroll and look for wildlife. The nearest facilities are in the nearby village of Marloes but parking is available above the beach.

West Angle Bay

Follow the signs from the village of Angle on the Milford Haven estuary and you will reach the small, sheltered cove of West Angle. This sandy beach looks out over Thorn Island Fort, an old coastal defence and is great for swimming, fishing and rock-pooling – if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of the rare cushion starfish here. There is a car park, toilets and a cafe at the beach.

Broad Haven South

A popular spot all year round, this large beach lies below the dunes next to Bosherston Lily Ponds, just south of Pembroke. Its famous Church Rock juts dramatically from the sea and at low tide there are spring-water pools and streams for children to play in. Steep paths lead from the car park to the south but access for those with pushchairs or wheelchairs is easier via the Lily Ponds. Parking and facilities are available in Bosherston village.

Swanlake Bay

Between Freshwater East and Manorbier is the hidden gem of Swanlake Bay. It’s a bit more remote than some nearby beaches but this means it’s quieter – a great place to spot birds, take a walk or run off excess energy. There are no facilities on site so it’s best to park at Manorbier and walk to Swanlake on the coast path.

Manorbier

A favourite of families and surfers located 6 miles from Tenby. If you like a bit of history with your trip to the seaside, this dune-backed beach is overlooked by the imposing Manorbier castle and has a Neolithic burial chamber on the headland to the south. There is a cafe, toilets and parking near the beach and good wheelchair access.

Glen Beach Saundersfoot

A small, sandy beach with streams and rock pools, there’s plenty to keep the kids occupied. The sea is also quite shallow here so it’s good for swimming. At low tide it is connected to the western end of Saundersfoot beach but it is covered at high tide so take care not to get cut off. There is access via the harbour ramp or you can take a path from the road through Glen Woods, though this way is a little steep. The nearest facilities are in Saundersfoot.

We hope you have a great time enjoying our wonderful shoreline. Please remember to stay safe by being mindful of strong currents and by checking the tide tables before you set off.

If you or someone else are in danger on the coast DIAL 999 and ask for the Coastguard.


Photo: Ceibwr Bay. Credit: Mike Hillen Photography.
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