Thursday 3 November 2011, 10:40
You can get a lot of walking done in a week - as I've just discovered after spending half-term in North Pembrokeshire, getting back to basics.
I stayed in the hamlet of Tregwynt (location of the famous woollen mill), a stone's throw away from the coastal path, which can guarantee a good bracing walk whatever the weather.
Felin Tregwynt Mill.
The best walk of the week took me from Tregwynt to Pwll Deri (around an 8m circular walk) along the inland road then back via the coastal path.
I chose the best day weather-wise and the scenery was just breathtaking. I only saw three other sets of walkers - one family and two couples, all with assorted canine companions and all walking in the opposite direction.
Last week there was a report recommending the Welsh coast as one of top sites to see on earth in 2012 (according to the 'Lonely Planet guide) and on a sunny autumn day, walking along the rugged cliffs, surrounded by yellow gorse and sea around every corner, it's easy to see why.
No distractions, no mobile phone signal and no shops - just amazing views and the odd grazing sheep or pony for company. I can't recommend it highly enough.
The place names in this part of the world are also magical and sound like poetry in themselves - on the inland road to Pwll Deri I past Treseissyllt, Velindre and Llanferran farms.
Then along the coastal path were the headlands of Penbwchdy (scene of many a shipwreck), Trwyn-llwyd, Llechdafod and Carreg Golchfa not to mention the coves of Pwlldarnau, Pwllcrochan and Aber-bach. All could have been prime sites for the odd spot of smuggling.
Stunning coastal views.
At Pwll Deri stands the monument to the Welsh poet Dewi Emrys who grew up in Pembrokeshire and found inspiration for his most famous poem in this very spot.
A couplet from the poem 'Pwllderi' can be read on the memorial stone - 'A thina'r meddilie sy'n dwad ichi/Pan fo'ch chi'n ishte uwchben Pwllderi' (And these are the thoughts that will come to you / When you sit above Pwllderi').
A little further along is what must be one of the best-placed hostels in the UK, complete with bronze inscription proclaiming to be a place 'where young people regardless of race or creed may spend the night and to help all people of limited means to a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside'.
As I joined the coastal path above Pwll Deri, the ferry passed by on its way back to Fishguard, gleaming white out at sea as it headed out of view around Strumble Head.
The view from the hostel at Pwll Deri.
This is apparently a great place for seal-spotting in early Autumn, although I was sadly a bit late to see any this time.
It took me around three and a half hours to complete this small but magnificent section of the Pembrokeshire path, which in its entirety stretches to 186 miles in total.
The Wales Coast Path is due to be completed next year and will make it possible to walk around the entire Welsh coastline covering an incredible 850 miles. Now that would be quite a walk.
Derek Brockway walked this route for his new Weatherman Walking series in the summer, which will be on TV in January 2012 so keep an eye out for that.
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