Noticing that my portfolio for Wales was in need of some new additions I decided to revisit the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park having not been there since 2007.
Although I would love to walk the coastal path route of 186 miles, 58 beaches, 14 harbours and countless wave-lashed cliffs with 35,000 feet of ups and downs 6000 more than climbing Everest I decided instead that I would travel in my camper van and walk to the locations I had planned to photograph besides that seemed rather less strenuous.
I haven’t counted exactly how many peninsulas there are in Pembrokeshire but it’s quite a few including Dale, Angle, Dinas Island, Marloes, St.David’s, Castlemartin and many more hence the title. I hoped to see most of them during this trip.
I started my journey by having a one night stop on the border of Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire revisiting some locations from earlier trips including Cwmtydu, Llangrannog and Mwnt. The first photo location was Cwmtydu and just a short walk north from the car park with the early evening light on the foxgloves there was an amazing view back down the coast towards my next destination of Pembrokeshire. The beach at Cwmtydu is in the inlet between the two hillsides.
On my last visit to Ceredigion, I visited Mwnt mainly with the intention of photographing the church. The image from then can be seen in the Ceredigion gallery but I have always wanted to try to improve on it. I also knew that Mwnt was one of the best locations for sunsets on this stretch of the coast. By the time I arrived sunset was fast approaching so leaving the church I concentrated on the sunset which meant that I never managed the church shot I wanted. Fortunately, the sunset proved to be a worthwhile alternative.
The next day travelling into Pembrokeshire to my base for the next four days near St.David’s the weather was overcast with occasional showers and not really suitable for capturing the locations I had planned but I still managed walks to visit Pentre lfan and a climb up Mynydd Carningli with a great view over the coast towards Newport Sands.
Fortunately, the following day improved making it worthwhile to walk along the coast to visit Strumble Head, Porthgain and Abereiddi where I was particularly keen to take a look at the Blue Lagoon.
Another day I visited Druidston Haven which in my opinion was the best photographic location visited so far. I could have stayed all day and not run out of photo opportunities. Accessed via a narrow road and a steep path down to the beach and visiting late afternoon with the tide out gave me the time to consider my chosen views carefully. I was drawn to the southern end with its contrasting lush green vegetation created by the fresh water cascading down the cliff faces although the image I have chosen here is looking north where the vegetation is more sparse.
Opportunities to add to my Intimate Landscapes Collection seemed few and far between but Druidston Haven did offer one. This image was subsequently titled “Eisteddfod Peaks” as the pattern bears a close resemblance to the peaks on the pavilions at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
One of the next locations I visited was Marloe Sands which may have provided more opportunities for Intimate Landscapes but unfortunately the timing of my visit was not ideal with the tide coming in and very difficult light so all my efforts were concentrated on trying to capture at least one reasonable image and I hope you agree that this one of Wraggle Rocks is acceptable in the circumstances.
The next day I was moving on from my St.David’s base for a couple of days near Freshwater East. The timing of this move was critical because one of my main objectives of this trip was to be able to visit and photograph “The Green Bridge of Wales” and “Elegug Stacks” which because they are in the Castlemartin MOD Firing Range are only accessible at weekends. Fortunately, the timing worked out perfectly however on the way I had a note to take look at Freshwater West where through my location planning I had come across what I thought may prove to be a good photo opportunity the result of which is below.
Next was that access to Castlemartin and the weather was improving all the time. The access road drive to the coast and its car park is very straightforward, literally once you have found the turning off the main road. The car park was still fairly quiet which was good news so I headed off straight away and reached the coastal path and The Green Bridge within a few minutes. The sun was not ideally placed and after taking numerous shots, including using the viewing platform which I was surprised to find, I decided to move on to Elegug Stacks and return later to see if there had been any improvement.
My final day in Pembrokeshire and my main objectives were Barafundle Bay and Bosherton Lily Ponds so I set off from Stackpole Quay to complete the circular walk. Barafundle Bay is just a short walk over the cliffs and marks the end of the Castlemartin peninsula. In 2004 it was voted one of the best beaches in the world. Trying to avoid the early sunbathers and kayakers I found some really nice seaweed covered rocks at the far end of the bay which provided some great foreground interest for a wider shot of the bay.
As usual, once you go down on a coastal path you have to go up and Barafundle was no different as I moved on around the coast to towards Broad Haven South. Descending from the cliff tops to a wide sandy beach backed by dunes and a clean stream leading away towards the Bosherton Ponds from where it came. The contrast in scenery once you enter the Bosherton Ponds is very refreshing from the hot sandy beaches (if your lucky) and windswept cliffs to the cool shaded woodland and waters.
Unfortunately, my visit was too early in the season to see the lilies in all their glory, for which the area is well known, so I decided to move on to my last location in Pembrokeshire.
The name Swanlake Bay was sufficiently intriguing to me to make the walk from Manorbier but just a word of advice. If you want to follow in my footsteps and visit this bay believe me the nearest car park is not Manorbier as most walk publications advise but drive through and up the hill to find other spaces which are free. From there you can walk up the hill and gain access to the footpath to the coastal path or back down the hill to access it via Manorbier Bay. Either way, you will still have to tackle the steep road.
Whilst that was my last day in Pembrokeshire it wasn’t the end of my trip as I had planned to move on and make a short visit to Cardiganshire and the Glamorgan Heritage Coast which I had wanted to explore for some time but enough for now and I will share the outcome of that in my next post.