Bosherston and Manorbier walks – part of the 2022 All Wales Weekend – September 2022

We were treated to nice weather on both of the coastal walks we led, on spectacular southern stretches of the Pembrokeshire National Park.

                                                                             Saturday- Bosherston Lily Ponds.

Saturday’s walk started at Bosherston – passing the popular lily ponds and crossing three bridges that traverse the man-made ponds, built as pleasure grounds by the owners of the nearby Stackpole Estate in the 1700s and 1800s.

As we made our way inland, we were treated to a local charity vintage tractor run, with many fine specimens to wave at and appreciate. A few joked that it was Stackpole Pride! We were soon at Stackpole Quay, again bult by the nearby Estate owners to ship out limestone and bring in luxury items for the household. Following a brief stop at the NT café, we joined the coast path and admired fine clifftop westward views and also eastwards to Caldey and Gower. The sands of Barafundle Bay soon appeared, and we descended the steps onto this popular beach. From there we climbed upwards, the wooded area providing some welcome respite from the sunshine, and we regrouped in the shade to cool down. We carried on along the clifftops, admiring the sheer drops and rock formations.

Lunch was taken overlooking the sea and Church Rock, in glorious sunshine, with lots of seabirds providing us with company. After lunch, we reached Broad Haven, another lovely sandy beach with the church shaped rock dominating the view, and an ice cream van was a welcome sight. From there, several climbed down to see St. Govan’s Chapel, an ancient church built into the cliff face.

Tired but happy, we wound our way back towards our cars, all having enjoyed our day in great company and stunning landscapes.


                                                       Monday – Manorbier – in the footsteps of Neil’s ancestors.

As we all gathered for our final day of the All Wales weekend, the sun shone and we firstly visited my ancestral home, Manorbier Castle. As the ancestor in question, Philip de Barri, left Manorbier for Ireland in 1184, a few seemed to think my claim was a tad tenuous, but I saw such comments as envy! Following a brief look around the Castle and it’s grounds, we climbed up to see the 12th Century church of St James the Great, still the parish church for the area. We followed a high level path with great views  until we reached King's Quoit, a Neolithic Dolmen  burial chamber. From there we headed across Manorbier Beach and headed for the well preserved Dovecote, built in the 13th century to provide fresh meat and eggs for the inhabitants of the Castle.

Our route then went uphill though woodland, fields and lanes, before reaching the coast path above the isolated Swanlake Bay. My claim that Tchaikovsky was a frequent visitor to the area, and thus the inspiration for his ballet, did not fool anyone.   Our route then took us eastwards back towards Manorbier. Our undulating cliff path provided more clear views of Cadley Island and Gower in the background. We were soon back at our cars, and ready for our pre-booked lunch.

We made our way to The Potting Shed Cafe at the nearby Manorbier Garden Centre, which provided us with delicious food and friendly service. People reflected on the wonderful weekend, thanked Al for all her hard work in organising the event (issues with accommodation and the Tenby Iron Man made her task even more challenging this time round) before reluctantly saying goodbye and promising to meet soon on another walk.

Such events as this really show what a great organisation GOC is – a welcoming space providing the opportunity to explore interesting places with friends old and new.

Note: the first six photos are from the Bosherston walk whilst the second six are from the Manorbier walk.


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