Archives for November 2011

Royal Welsh Winter Fair

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Rachael Garside Rachael Garside | 10:00 UK time, Tuesday, 29 November 2011

This is the 23rd Welsh Winter Fair which originally began as a one-day event but has grown steadily into two days of competing, and is steadily staking its place as one of Europe's main prime stock shows.

There's a great festive atmosphere here with Christmas trees and decorations on every corner.

It's hard to believe but there was snow on the ground and severe weather warnings this time last year which threatened to disrupt proceedings - but by comparison it's been positively balmy in Builth today.

Things have also been hotting up in the main showrings, ahead of today's championships.The greatest number of entries has been in the horse section this year with more than 600 horses competing.

328 pairs of sheep are competing and show organisers are thrilled that the number of entries in the pig section is at its highest since 2008.

The standard of stock here is tremendous and I've been speaking to Jonathan Maycock who had the hard task of judging the heifers in the cattle ring this morning.

As an Englishman and a butcher (from Derbyshire) Jonathan admitted that there is something truly special about this event.

Brand new for this year was a dressed poultry competition being judged by Rob Rattray, the butcher from Aberystwyth who judged last year's Supreme Championship in the cattle ring.

The Food Hall has been busy all day with 42 exhibitors launching new products, such as organic Welsh dressings and sauces and promoting old favourites like Welsh cheeses and meat.

The floral display pavilion was a hive of activity as I passed by, with competitors working well into the night on their displays under the theme of 'Rejoice'.

Two awards were presented at the show on Monday, firstly the John Gittings Award for an outstanding contribution to the sheep industry in Wales - won by Alwyn Phillips of Pen y Gelli, Caernarvon and the title of Welsh Woman Farmer of the Year has been awarded to Mari Evans, Erwfaethlon, Tywyn.

All eyes now turn to the main championships on Tuesday and the live auction of the winning livestock.

Unsettled weather over the next 24 hours

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 15:04 UK time, Monday, 28 November 2011

As you may already know, severe gales and rough seas over the weekend caused a cargo ship to capsize off the Llyn Peninsula during the early hours of Sunday.

Things have since calmed down but the wind is now increasing again with more disturbed weather on the way.

A sharp trough of low pressure will bring heavy rain and strong to severe gale force winds tomorrow. The Met Office has issued a yellow wind warning for south west and north west Wales.

Gusts around 60mph or more are expected in the north west and the south west along with some with very rough seas and as well as the strong winds tomorrow, a spell of heavy rain will move west to east across Wales.

Some torrential rain is likely in places lasting for around 2 or 3 hours, however, the rain will be followed by clearer, drier weather by the evening with blustery showers. It will also turn colder with temperatures dropping once the rain clears.

So, some very unsettled weather to come over the next 24 hours. Take extra care if you are travelling.

Starlings swoop into Llanelli wetlands

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 10:18 UK time, Monday, 28 November 2011

I was only blogging about this last week and wondering when we were going to see more starling 'murmurations' happening in Wales when this News online story appeared about the Llanelli Wetland Centre.

The reserve believe that around 100,000 starlings have recently arrived to roost there over winter. Safety in numbers, helps keep the birds safe from predators such as owls and peregrines and the way the reed beds have been cut make an ideal habitat for roosting birds.

I recently saw a few thousand starlings flying over Kenfig Reserve, so wonder if these birds were making their way over to Llanelli?

Apparently if you want to see the starlings in action then the best time to visit is around 3.30pm each day.

Find out more about this story and watch a video clip on News online.

I was just searching online for information about crows doing a similar thing (as I have a huge flock living opposite my house that put on a spectacular show at dawn and dusk) when I stumbled across this jaw dropping video clip of starlings flying over the Shannon River in Ireland. It is probably the best footage I have ever seen of this phenomenon.

Incidentally, a large flock of crows however is called a 'murder', not so glamorous but equally impressive if you've ever seen them in action.

So, have you spotted any large starling flocks yet? If so, let me know and leave a comment below and we can try and work out where the best ones are currently happening in Wales.

Remember last November?

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 15:51 UK time, Friday, 25 November 2011

This day last November saw the beginning of a very cold spell of weather with Arctic winds bringing severe frosts, ice and snow.

In fact by the end of November it was colder in Wales than Greenland with plunging temperatures and frozen pipes!

But it's a totally different story this year. This weekend will be positively mild in comparison and windy too.

In fact The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for strong to gale force winds in north Wales.

The reason for the windy weather is low pressure between Scotland and Iceland which will bring some rain and drizzle. However, most of the rain will come during the early hours of Sunday.

Tomorrow a few bright or sunny intervals are likely, for example in Flintshire, but generally it will be cloudy.

Met Office weather chart for Saturday, 26 November.

Met Office weather chart for Saturday, 26 November.

There will be a little light rain and drizzle at times, especially on higher ground, the Cambrian Mountains and in Snowdonia, but otherwise it should be dry.

Temperatures higher than today, 10 to 13 Celsius but windy. The south-westerly wind will be fresh to strong with gales on exposed coasts and hills in the north and gusts of 50 - 60mph.

So if you're going walking, it would be best to keep off the hills and mountains and stick to the lower ground.

Tomorrow night will be very windy with some drizzle, then rain after midnight.

On Sunday, the weather will improve becoming dry and much brighter with some sunshine to look forward to.

The west to north westerly wind will slowly ease and it will feel colder with top temperatures between 10 and 12 Celsius.

Sunday night into Monday will be dry and cold with a touch of frost. Monday will start dry for the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Llanelwedd but it won't last because there's more wet and windy weather on the way.

There's no sign yet of another big freeze like we had last year but cold snaps are expected in December.

I've already been asked if it will be a white Christmas but it's far too early to tell so I will let you know nearer the time!

Derek

Christmas preparations

Rachael Garside Rachael Garside | 09:00 UK time, Thursday, 24 November 2011

Do ever you get the impression that everyone else's Christmas preparations are far more advanced than your own?

I have that sinking feeling (already) that I'm getting left behind. Last weekend was stir-up Sunday, the traditional day for making Christmas cake and puddings which always falls on the last Sunday before Advent.So I've missed that one.

I could cheat of course and buy both items at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair at Builth next week.

As luck would have it, I'm working there this year and am banking on having a few spare minutes to get some serious shopping done.

It seems to me there are two camps of people at this time of year - those who like to boast how far ahead they are and those who are lagging woefully behind and just can't seem to get the motivation together for plunging head first into festive preparations.

A house on my street in Carmarthen had their decorations in the windows at the beginning of last week and by this week, the shop displays are all in place, twinkling and flashing as constant reminders to get the party started or certainly to start spending.

I also like the idea of a chance to enjoy a 'festive skate' at Dinefwr Park and Castle in Llandeilo this year - they're installing an ice rink as part of their Edwardian Christmas Fair this weekend (Nov 26 - 27 - more information at www. nationaltrust.org.)

These temporary rinks have become all the rage - there's one in Cardiff and Swansea every year and this year, there's outdoor skating in Newport, Blaenavon and Betws-y-Coed, where they're planning a week of winter festivities from December 2.

The choice of festive events on offer in Wales is truly dazzling and can seem a little overwhelming.

It's always a dilemma to decide where the best place to see Santa is, or end up running the risk of 'Santa fatigue' whereby even the children have had enough of the man in red and white by the time Christmas actually arrives.

Every year, I vow to keep things simple but it's a bit like riding a runaway train. Maybe I should head for the Museum of Welsh Life in St. Fagan's for their 'Sustainable Christmas' event on December 3.

At Tee Gyred - the eco-house, they'll be offering tips on how to host an environmentally friendly festive season and a chance to make home-made decorations. All from recycled materials no doubt.

So many options, so little time, 32 days to be precise.

Changeable weather

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 16:34 UK time, Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Last night was the coldest night for most of Wales for just over a fortnight. Temperatures in Mid Wales, the north east and the along the border fell close to freezing with a slight frost.

But the weather is on the change again today - it's turning milder with south-westerly winds and tonight temperatures will stay well above freezing.

The next 24 hours will be breezy if not windy with strong winds in the west and north west, up to gale force on exposed coasts and hills with gusts around 50 mph or more and gales in the Irish Sea.

A little rain is likely in north west Wales tonight, mainly in Snowdonia and on Anglesey and then tomorrow night a cold front will cross Wales bringing a short spell of heavy rain.

Behind the front, it will turn colder on Friday making it feel chilly but nothing unusual for this time of year, while on Saturday it will turn milder and windy again. So the outlook is fairly topsy turvy!

Misty morning in the Chepstow area by Allen Lloyd in Caldicot.

A misty morning in the Chepstow area. Image by Allen Lloyd in Caldicot.

I'm sure some of you will remember this time last year, when there was a severe cold snap during the last week of November with snow and record breaking low temperatures.

At Llysdinam near Newbridge on Wye in Powys, -18 Celsius was recorded on November 28.

There is no sign of a repeat performance this year. Next week temperatures will vary from mild to near normal.

As we head into December, though, there is a strong signal for it to turn colder for a time, with some sleet and snow on the hills and mountains, mainly in the north of Britain including Snowdonia.

So, there is no sign of any severe winter weather on the horizon just yet but the drop in temperature on Friday and next month will come as a shock, given that it's been such a mild autumn.

Derek

Cold snap for birds ahead

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 11:53 UK time, Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The mild autumn weather has meant late sightings of summer migrants, late broods of young for birds like blue tits and empty feeders as birds were still finding food further afield.

Derek Brockway is warning of unsettled and changeable weather ahead with some short, sharp cold snaps which could have a significant impact on the needs and behaviour of garden birds.

Dana Thomas from RSPB Cymru, says: "The sudden change in weather almost certainly means that garden birds will start to turn up in gardens en masse one again, hoping to find supplementary food and water."

Blue tits on a feeder by Eddie Evans.

Blue tits on a feeder by Eddie Evans.

"Typically, this would have happened a few weeks ago, but it is just a bit later than usual. Once icy conditions set in, natural food like berries and insects are almost impossible to find so the extra treats we put out are really important."

"We may not be in the bleak midwinter just yet, but if the temperatures dip significantly, as is predicted, it will instantly become a tough battle for survival for lots of birds. Make sure you put out a little bit of extra food, and water to make their lives a little easier."

Bird food like seed mixes, peanuts and fat balls, leftovers like grated cheese, porridge oats, soft fruit and cooked rice and pasta are all ideal.

Water is also vital for both drinking and bathing and bird baths can be kept from freezing over using small floating items like twigs or ping pong balls.

Winter visitors

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 10:50 UK time, Monday, 21 November 2011

The more exotic looking winter birds are beginning to arrive in Wales now and as usual, our Flickr group members have been first on the scene. Here's a taster of what we've received recently.

These shots of an Isabelline wheatear on North Gower have caused quite a stir amongst 'twitchers' as these birds are extremely rare visitors to Britain. Only 27 have been recorded since the 1800s and this is only the fourth sighting ever, in Wales.

Isabelline wheatear by Tony Llewellyn.

An Isabelline wheatear by Tony Llewellyn.

Issabelline wheatear by Moses Davies.

Isabelline wheatear by Moses Davies.

Meanwhile snow bunting are arriving at certain beaches along the North Wales coast. These large bunting are moving south now from their Arctic haunts along with a resident Scottish population.

They will be with us now until February/ March time, so head north to Kimmel Bay, Rhyl if you want to see them.

A snow bunting on the beach in North Wales by Joe Wynn.

A snow bunting on the beach in north Wales by Joe Wynn.

Meanwhile, closer to home, I was lucky enough to witness a huge starling 'murmuration' overhead as I made my way down through Kenfig Nature Reserve for a pre-work surf last week.

They flew in from Port Talbot direction and caused quite a few dog walkers to stop and stare skyward, as they danced in the skies above.

It won't be long before we're getting the Aberystwyth Pier birds putting on their spectacular aerial displays.

Black-headed gulls are now in full winter plumage and Linda Edwards snapped this lovely shot at Gallow's Point up in North Wales:

Black-headed gull by Linda Edwards.

Black-headed gull by Linda Edwards

Countryside news

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Rachael Garside Rachael Garside | 16:02 UK time, Friday, 18 November 2011

A couple of countryside stories have caught my eye this week.

The first was a report from conservationists calling for urgent action to restore vast areas of peatland - including the Welsh uplands, in order to control levels of CO2 emissions.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that losing just 5% of the UK's peatlands and bogs would be equal to the UK's entire annual carbon emissions. Peatlands also lock in more carbon that the entire country's forests.

I remember last year visiting the Hafren Forest in Mid-Wales which is a stone's throw away from the source of the River Severn and one of the most remote parts of Wales.

The views were glorious and thanks to the peat, it was extremely boggy under foot. In an effort to protect the wetland areas and the host of wildlife and plants that live there - the Forestry Commission had built a series of around 30 'natural dams' made of straw and heather bales.

These dams allow a slow release of water from the forest, ensuring that a new peat layer can gradually build up.

It's hard to imagine that a few peatbogs high up in the Welsh hills can have a dramatic effect on our country's climate and how easy it is to overlook their significance.

But the worrying thing is that according to the IUCN report, around 80% of the Uk's peatlands and bogs are being damaged by overgrazing, burning and extraction. And that because they also produce about 70% of the UK's drinking water, they're calling for tougher controls on the use of peatlands.

Another story this week came from the Health and Safety Commission's annual figures which alarmingly show that farming is still officially the country's most dangerous profession.

I wouldn't want to suggest for a minute that farmers don't take safety seriously, but the levels of accidents - too many of them fatal, has been consistently high. Is more training the answer?

When you think of the heavy machinery, the large animals and isolation element, isn't it obvious that the risk of accidents is high?

I know most farmers would argue that time is a factor and that they have no choice often but to work alone. Cost could be another issue But then again, it's an even higher price to pay if you injure yourself in the line of work.

Finally, on a lighter note, congratulations to Andrew Rees from Narberth who has been named Welsh Butcher of the Year.

I used to be a customer of his when I lived in the area and was always impressed by the choice of meat and fish on offer and the fact that it was all locally sourced!

Weekend weather update

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 12:58 UK time, Friday, 18 November 2011

Temperatures have been up and down this week. A chilly 5 Celsius in Tredegar on Wednesday but it's now turned milder again, up to 15 in Llandudno yesterday afternoon.

Overall the first half of November has been mild according to the Met Office.

Temperatures have generally been well above normal and it has been much drier and sunnier than usual. November is normally one of the wettest months of the year but so far we haven't had much rain. In Wales, only 36.3mm of rain fell from I - 15 November.

High pressure over the continent is the reason for the recent quiet spell of weather and the lack of rainfall but things are on the change now.

The high pressure is moving away and low pressure over the Atlantic is beginning to influence our weather.

That means more unsettled conditions with stronger winds but with southerly winds, temperatures will remain above the seasonal average. The mild weather looks set to continue over the weekend but at least it will help to keep the heating bills down.



Derek

Black Mountain rustlers

Rachael Garside Rachael Garside | 09:55 UK time, Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Black Mountain looked splendid today in bright autumn sunshine, but the welcome spot of clear weather provided little comfort for Huw and Mary Davies who've lost an incredible 150 sheep this year to rustlers.

I've went to meet them on their 350 acre farm near Gwynfe in Carmarthenshire where they keep sheep and a suckler beef herd.

Each year they send hundreds of sheep to graze on common land up on the mountain which stands opposite their farm.

Last month, they went to collect the stock down from the hills and realised for the first time that there were significantly fewer in the flock than there should have been.

Black Mountain views

'It's so disheartening' Huw told me as we went to look at the breeding ewes in a field behind the main house, 'we've lost a few sheep every year, but nothing on this scale.'

It's making me seriously consider whether I'll be using the mountain in future. But the thing is, without stock up on the hills, there'll be no way of grazing and maintaining the mountain.'

I mentioned rustling was a growing problem a few weeks ago, but this is the first time I've managed to find someone willing to talk about their experiences.

Pride could be an issue, or ongoing investigations but for Huw and Mary, those considerations have been put aside and they've decided it's time to talk.

'We just feel that the more publicity there is, the better the chances of catching the people who do this' said Mary.

But with a strict tagging system in place, and passports for further identification, it's hard to believe that the thieves can get away with it.

I asked Huw if he'd considered dying the sheep a bright colour as other farmers in the UK have done in the past in a desperate attempt to deter the criminals. Huw said he'd already tried it.

Huw herding his sheep.

Huw rounding up his sheep.

More practical possibly is the decision to see if they can set up a Farmwatch scheme in the area. It's a scheme that's done well in other parts of Wales, where farmers are texted by the Police as soon as there's an incident in their area, to make them more alert to possible criminal activity.

Although if you've got sheep grazing on a mountain far from the farm, it's difficult to see how you could do more to protect the stock.

But if farmers stop using common land, it would mean the end of a farming tradition which has been in place for centuries.

In the meantime, Huw and Mary have got to face huge financial losses following the disappearance  of so many sheep.

Huw has even offered a £5,000 reward to catch the criminals and a neighbour has offered to double that amount, but so far even that sum of money hasn't produced any new information.

And with lamb prices soaring at the moment, the worry is that rustling could become more widespread.

Mildly confusing

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 15:35 UK time, Monday, 14 November 2011

After one of the mildest October's on record and November is going the same way.

Yesterday the temperature at the Botanic Gardens, Bangor University rose to a balmy 18.2 Celsius, 64 Fahrenheit.

Not quite a record but the highest temperature they have recorded in November for 25 years! RAF Valley on Anglesey also reached 18 Celsius.

The average maximum temperature for this time of year is closer to 10 Celsius while the highest temperature recorded in November in Wales is 21.7 Celsius at Prestatyn on the 4 November 1946.

Yesterday's warmth was due to a combination of sunshine, a south-easterly breeze and the Foehn Effect, whereby mild air blowing across the Snowdonia mountains, dries out and warms as it descends on the lee or downwind side.

The north Wales coast has had some notable out-of-season heat-waves, thanks to the Foehn wind. Abergwyngregyn, near Llandudno, has recorded 18.3 Celsius in January and 21.3 Celsius in November, while in February 1998, 18.1 Celsius was recorded in Prestatyn.

The recent mild weather is confusing some wildlife and plants too. Sarah Hartill sent in this photo of a tete a tete daffodil flowering in her garden at Ogmore by Sea.

A confused daffodil

A confused daffodil taken in my garden on 13 November - Sandra from Ogmore by Sea.

Today temperatures are lower with cloud covering most of the country but there's no sign of any frost on the horizon.

Longer term, though, there is a hint it may turn colder next month although there's no sign as yet of a repeat of last December when we experienced heavy snow and record breaking low temperatures.



Derek

Walking along an ancient border

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Rachael Garside Rachael Garside | 10:18 UK time, Wednesday, 9 November 2011

What's 177 miles long, has the sea at either end and is celebrating its fortieth birthday this year?

It's Offa's Dyke, the ancient border which at one time separated Wales and England. I spent the day walking along parts of the pathway, which is one of Britain's National Trails.

I think it's fair to say that other paths in Wales (like the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path) may be better known, but the Offa's Dyke trail does attract thousands of walkers every year, including 3,000 determined people who complete the entire route.

I met Rob Dingle, the Offa's Dyke Trail Officer at the standing stones above Hay on Wye, surrounded by thick fog.

A foggy view point

A foggy view point

Rob assured me the view was stunning but I had to take his word for it because I couldn't see my hand in front of my face!

It's part of Rob's job to walk the entire trail every year and he explained that as part of the anniversary celebrations this year, a new tourism project has been launched - 'Walking With Offa' aiming to promote the path as a tourist destination.

The trail begins in Chepstow on the edge of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB) - one of five in Wales and ends in Prestatyn near another ANOB, the Clwydian Range.

The idea is to encourage businesses to 'welcome walkers' along the route, by improving facilities like accommodation and food outlets.

There are also plans to improve public transport links, to get walkers to the area without relying too much on their cars and create more circular walks, realising that not everyone wants to walk 177 miles in one go.

Offa's Dyke trail

Offa's Dyke trail

But the biggest challenge is the fact that the pathway passes back and forth between Wales and England 27 times along its route, which means that two countries and a lot of local authorities have to come together to co-ordinate the project.

Imagine what King Offa himself would have made of that! His feat was to construct the entire border back in the 8th Century - probably to keep feisty Celts out of his kingdom, Mercia.

Last year around 100,000 walkers completed circular walks that included parts of the Offa's Dyke trail, generating an estimated £2m for local economies. Offa himself would have been horrified.

Saving a rare Welsh breed

Rachael Garside Rachael Garside | 09:42 UK time, Monday, 7 November 2011

Last Thursday I spent the morning at Gelliswick Bay near Milford Haven meeting five Sealyham terriers and their owner Janet Wonnacot.

Sealyhams are one of only three native Welsh dog breeds (the others are the Cardigan Corgi and the Welsh terrier) and a campaign has just been launched to save them from 'the brink of extinction'.

Country Life magazine is highlighting their plight, pointing out that the breed is rarer than Giant pandas, with only 49 puppies registered with the Kennel Club last year.

It wasn't always the case. In the early 1900s, an incredible 11,000 Sealyhams were known to exist and they were the dog of choice for Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Cary Grant.

A Sealyham terrier also appears in every one of Alfred Hitchcock's films and Princess Margaret owned two.

Sealyham Terrier. Image by Rachel Garside.

Sealyham Terrier. Image by Rachel Garside.

The breed was originally created by Captain John Edwards who lived in the village of Sealyham in Pembrokeshire, with the intention of using them as hunting dogs, to flush out badgers and kill rats and polecats.

In 1850 he began crossing various terriers including the Fox terrier, the West Highland terrier, the Dandie Dinmont terrier and possibly the Welsh Cardigan Corgi.

The result was a Sealyham - a feisty but affectionate dog who makes a good hunter and guard dog. I asked Janet Wonnacot who's been breeding Sealyhams for 48 years why the numbers have gone down so dramatically.

She thinks it's because the current fashion is for what she calls 'wash and go' dogs - the lap dogs seen tucked under the arms or in the handbags of various celebrities and that terriers just aren't as popular any more.

Janet Wonnacot, with Sealyham terriers Gracie and Bella.

Janet Wonnacot with Sealyham terriers, Gracie and Bella.

'People are crossing breeds to create new types like Labradoodles and Cockapoos but I think it's a shame when we have so many native breeds. It also frustrates me when I see Sealyhams described as 'English' terriers as they're very much a Welsh breed'.

' I also asked Janet if the remaining blood lines are strong enough to ensure the future of the breed and she feels that there are enough dogs left but that care needs to be taken when they are bred.

She's keen to stress that numbers aren't everything and that the health and welfare of the dogs should remain the priority.

I met the newest member of her canine family, a dog called Bruno who's just been imported from Denmark. He was clearly getting used to his new Welsh home and unaware that he could be doing his bit to save his species.

I can see the sea

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Rachael Garside Rachael Garside | 10:40 UK time, Thursday, 3 November 2011

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.

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.

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.

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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