Published: Wednesday 29th Mar 2017
Written by: Anita Lee
There is a lot written and spoken about the South of Pembrokeshire, from it’s beautiful soft sandy beaches, abundant visitor attractions and quaint seaside towns.
But what about the North of Pembrokeshire? – What delights are on offer to the North of this county?
There is spectacular scenery and a rugged coastline and therefore walkers and cyclists visit this part of Pembrokeshire throughout the year. They come to challenge themselves and find adventure in this naturally idyllic playground.
At the top of the county there is St Dogmaels, the beginning of the 186 miles of Pembrokeshire coastline providing a great place to view the beautiful rugged landscape and sandy beaches and coves. From a small team of men in 1965 carving out footpaths to enable locals and visitors to experience this coastline, to present day, where you can explore the footpaths in a 360-virtual tour on Google Street View, you could say we’ve come a long way! Walk the Coast path at www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/trekker. St Dogmaels sits beside the river Teifi estuary and is a small village on the northern border of Pembrokeshire close to the market town of Cardigan at the point where Pembrokeshire meets Ceredigion.
Travelling South along the coast road is Newport, situated between the Preseli Hills and the Nevern estuary, which teems with birds and other wildlife. There is a mile-long beach, Treath Mawr, with golden sands and dunes making this a popular small and uncommercialised tourist resort. A second beach on the South side of the estuary called The Parrog, is a favorable place for those who enjoy boating.
Dominating the landscape from Newport is Carn ingli, (Mountain of Angels), 347 metres high, with ruins of an Iron Age village with incredible views, steeped in legendary tales.
Visit Castell Henllys, an Iron Age village which inspires children of all ages with lessons in history which are recreated and bought to life providing a greater understanding. Discover how the Celts lived and worked, what they ate and how they dressed. There are lots of activities to take part in from bread making, clay modelling to fire lighting.
The Mynydd Preseli or the Preseli Hills lie within the Pembrokeshire National Park and the highest point in Pembrokeshire is ‘Foel Cwmcerwyn’ which is 536m high. These hills are covered in moorland and support sporting events and industry with sheep farming and a reduced amount of forestry. Across the Preseli Hills there is a rich sprinkling of prehistoric stones, Bronze Age remains and other artefacts to discover.
In contrast, there is the Gwaun Valley – a deep ridge forged by the last Ice Age, now providing a lush green valley, with a couple of gardens open to the public and breweries. The family owned Gwaun Valley Brewery is well worth a visit, using the fresh Spring water from the hills to make their real ales and the brewery grain being fed to the farmyard pigs.
Fishguard is a typical fishing village and is split into two halves; one is the main town which is on the cliff top and the other being Lower Town which has a collection of quayside cottages. Lower Town was a local port trading in goods such as limestone and coal. It also had a small fleet of fishermen catching herring and pilchards. In 1797, 1400 French soldiers landed in West Wales. It took just 2 days for the French to surrender with the town heroine Jemima Nicholas capturing 12 French soldiers single handedly. There is a tapestry displayed in the towns Library depicting Fishguards last invasion. Fishguard is a favorite place for kayaking with local company kayak – King providing tours around the coastline. Watch the Stena Line in the waterway as it sails twice a day to Rosslare in Ireland from Fishguard.
Following the coastal road from Fishguard, there is the pretty coastal village of Trefin, a small inlet with a café and The Ship Inn. Trefin is well known as the home village of Catatonia’s - Cerys Matthews. Just down from Trefin is Abereiddy a small hamlet just 5 miles from St David’s and home to the Red Bull Diving World series at the famous Blue Lagoon.
North Pembrokeshire is also home to the smallest city in the UK, granted city status in the 16th century. St David’s was founded by the Welsh patron saint in the 5th Century. It was said that two pilgrimages to St David’s was equal to one pilgrimage to Rome. Looking at St David’s cathedral you may feel that it is oddly placed, hidden within a valley, and not placed high towering over the community like most buildings of stature. It was said that the original monastery was built in this location to protect it from invaders and from harsh Winter weather.
From St David’s boat trips, can be purchased to see the beauty of Ramsey Island, the gorges and sea caves and the abundant supply of seals, seabirds and maybe a dolphin or two.
Adventure into North Pembrokeshire for a holiday with a difference.
North Pembrokeshire has many events throughout the year, here are just a few: -
May - Tour of Pembrokeshire – Two days of cycling with climbs and descents ranging in differing miles to suit all cyclists, taking in the fantastic countryside.
May - Preseli Beast Run – an off road/fell running race in the heart of the Preseli Hills. Can you tame the beast?
June - Fish Week – There are great opportunities to eat out at many of the local eateries, watch cooking demonstrations and then dance to live music. There are fishing competitions, kayaking, crab catching and coasteering to try.
There are farmer’s markets in St Dogmaels on Tuesdays, Fishguard on Saturday, and St David’s on a Thursday.