The Gower peninsular and Pembroke coast national park. 253 miles approximately

The next part of our journey took us along swansea bay to the Mumbles pier. A quite delightful place, full of olde worlde charm ..  and olde worlde narrow roads. Albert may have well deserved to mumble but remained stoically silent. 

At the end of the headland the road turns right to head Westwards along the base of the gower peninsular, passing the spectacular langlands bay. The next 25 miles are simply stunning. The Gower penisular is rightly regarded as a jewel. Lovely rolling countryside terminating abruptly into sea cliffs broken by narrow sandy bays. First Oxwich, then Port Eynon then on to Rhossili and the worms head.


Oxwich bay from Port Eynon

Rhossili bay

At Rhossili the road now returns along the northwestern coast of the peninsular. Despite the car park costing £3 and the loo's not being up to standard it is worth stopping. The walk out to the headland of worms head is quite stunning, just be sure that if you do cross the tidal causeway to get to worms head itself you have time to get back again.  Not the best place to have to overnight in!

Going the other way the bay of the same name is fabulous, if you can find your way down to the beach.

Worms head. Reached via a tidal causeway, covered in this picture. Uncovered for only 2 1/2 hours between tides so plan a visit carefully!

'Sadly it is now necessary to head back to urbanisation, and west along the carmarthen coast to Llanelli. The road now winds its way to burry port, a neat little harbour, if you like neat little harbours, then kidwelly, if you like castles, especially run down broken ones.

Next is Pendine. An unremarkable place, owned by the MoD. In fact they keep telling everyone that they own it, mostly in the form of signs warning of "strange objects", presumably meaning unexploded ordnance. Looking at the state of some of the MoD housing in the area I can think of one way that any unexploded ordnance could be put to good use.

Pendine would go without notice, except for it's wide, long beach of firm sand and here lies it's claim to glory and it's mention in the record books.

7 miles of straight, wide, firm sand ...

No Albert! I do not want you to attempt the world campervan speed record!

 " chitty bang bang" was the name given to a series of high speed aero-engined cars buit in the mid 1920's.  Chitty 4 was bought by John Parry-Thomas, a native welshman, rebuilt and christened "Babs".  Pendine sands, 7miles of firm, hard, flat sand, was the place chosen by Parry-Thomas to take Babs for an attempt to break the world land speed record and on April 26th 1926 Thomas and Babs did just that, achieving 171 mph.  Sadly in a later attempt Babs went out of control killing Thomas, and the wreck was buried in the sand dunes at Pendine.

40 years later it was discovered, resurrected, restored and is now on display at the museum of speed.

Secluded stackpole quay

Leaving Pendine, Albert going slightly slower than Babs, there are a few miles of gruesome terraces of holiday chalets, fixed caravans and MoD buildings, possibly a high security prison somewhere but indistinguishable from the rest, before the little beach of Saundersfoot is reached and then the small holiday town of Tenby. 

The coast now becomes quite rugged and the countryside becomes more rolling, delightful countryside of the beautiful Pembroke coast National Park with it's many hidden coves and beaches.

First of these is Stackpole quay, and the stackpole estate also houses one of the most beautiful Pembroke bays, Barafundle bay, hidden, secluded, accessible only on foot. 

Stackpole cliffs, barafundle bay hidden from view

Continuing along the Pembrokeshire headlands  the coast flattens for a while, bercomes quite bleak, the road making it's way along narrow cuttings through sand dunes, until starting to rise again. Then, in the most bleakest of spots, here, on this most westernmost fringe of the UK mainland, stands a reminder that the dark tentacles of the slaughter of the great war reached into every corner of these islands.

Here, beautifully kept,  is a memorial to the fallen of the kind that can be found in every hamlet, village, town and city of Britain.

So thought-provoking. In one of the most uninhabited places in mainland britain so stands a monument to the fallen of the area.

Heading Northwestwards the scenery changes for the worst as the refineries and petrochemical works of Milford Haven come into view but it is only a brief blot on the landscape.

Passing through the small town of Pembroke and Milford Haven is soon bypassed and its back to high headlands and glorious rolling countryside.

past the artillery ranges of Castlemartin, another headland, skomer, from where the foot ferry to the bird sanctuary of skomer island can be found. The wild waters and high hills of Skomer are the habitat to seals and sea birds and it is truly a beautiful place to be.

Skomer Island from St Martins point.

Heading northwards, Past the harbour of Dale and the more developed small and picturesque harbours of broad haven and little haven, and the tiny county town of Haverfordwest is reached. 

The harbour of Dale. The salt marsh spits ore home to many species of seabird and the area is a favourite place for bird watchers.

Highly picturesque in it's own right Haverfordwest is the gateway to the most western edges of the UK Mainland. Heading west out of the town and soon the headland of St Davids head comes into view. Another 8 miles and the tiny city of St Davids, the smallest city in the UK, is reached.

First views of St Davids head

St Davids Cathedral stands on the site of one on the monastries founded by the 6th century Christian missionary and scholar who spread christianity amongst the pagan celtic tribes of west and south wales and is now the patron saint of wales. Going back 15 centuries nowhere else in Britain is there a more continuous line of Christian settlements and during the medieaval times it was one of the gerat christian sites of pilgramage.  It has survived Viking raids, Norman attack, Dissolution and sacking under Henry 8th beforehe had The tomb of his grandfather, Edmund Tudor, moved there after dissolving grey friars monastry in Carmarthen!). It came to near destruction under Oliver Cromwell.

Now Granny historian, enough! You promised not to turn this into an historical tour!

Quite right, but it is not going to stop me displaying a pic of the wonderful cathedral of St Davids.

St Davids cathedral

just a mile from St Davids is St Davids head, the lifeboat quay of the same name and just off St Davids head the wildlife sanctuary of Ramsey island. A truly fitting end to this section. There are a few more miles of unremarkable coastal road to the small fishing port of Fishguard, where this section ends, but fittingly the last views belong to this, the extreme westernmost point of the British mainland.

A hazy view of St Davids head and, seperated from it by a narrow channel, Ramsey island

Northwards Albert!  The men of Harlech and the islanders of Angelsey awaits.

The next section .. West Wales