PEMBROKESHIRE COAST PATH 2015-
We've walked the Dale peninsula several times in the past, but we've never actually completed the anti-clockwise circuit. So today we set off to do just that.
Then up the steps
We crossed from Dale to Westdale Bay and got ourselves up the steps to the cliff top. Almost immediately we came across a handful of wheatears with their distinctive white rumps, grey plumage and pale orange undersides. Shortly after that a kestrel seemd to be having a bit of a tussle with a pair of ravens - it was all going on!
We passed Long Point and found ourselve passing through a sunken path with Pembrokeshire Banks on the left hand side, sometimes smothered with primroses and violets, other times with thrift, and the other side covered in bright yellow spicey smelling gorse.
Pembrokeshire bank on the left and gorse covering on the right
We passed a runner heading towards Westdale Bay then no one for a considerable time until we were approaching St Anne's Head, when we came across a couple who it turned out were from the USA . Curtis and Pam were both exclaining enthusiastically about the delights of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path - a sentiment with which we thoroughly agreed. Their exploits can be viewed on their own walking blog, together with a punishing calendar of proposed walks for the next few years.ood luck Curtis and Pam!
Geri and I with Curtis and Pam
We said our farewells and continued to St Anne's Head remarking on the renovation of the former coastguard cottages which are being turned into holiday lets and which for so many years hay lain dejectedly crumbling and rotting in the punishing environment.
We now "turned the corner" and got our first views of Milford Haven, and arrived just in time to see an Irish ferry enter the waterway.
A ferry approaches Milford Haven
I've always felt that tthis sheltered side of the Dale peninsula is much more interesting, and so it proved to be so this time around. We passed Mill Bay with the remnants of HMS Barking still in evidence, and likely to remain so for many years to come.
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Now we needed to stop for a spot of lunch. A convenient stone slabbed bench just beyond West Blockhouse Point was tailor made for us and we settled down in the warm sunshine to enjoy our break. Once we got going again, the various navigation beacons came into sight. First, West Blockhouse Point Beacons - three leading light beacons which perform the same function as a lighthouse.
West Blockhouse Point Beacons
Next along the path was the beautiful, almost tropical Watwick Bay and in our view the most delightful looking bay on the peninsula
Watwick Bay with Watwick Beacon on the distant headland
From Watwich Beacon we dropped down through a shady Castlebeach Bay.
The 159ft tall Watwick Beacon
We were now on the final stretch as the coast path diverted to bypass the Dale Fort Field Centre. Basking in the sun ahead of us, and right on the path was a beautiful fox
and I took a quick photo just in case it vanished, but it seemed unconcerned as we approached until we were about 20 metres away. Then reluctantly it got to its feet and loped off into the undergrowth.
Our first walk on the coast path this year with thanks to our next door neighbour who sadly died on Christmas Eve last year. One of her wishes was to give us a 2 day break in her beloved Pembrokeshire, and so, this was it.
I thought I had everything worked out as we waited by the Old Post Office in Little Haven for the Puffin Shuttle to arrive at 9:40am. At 10:00am, and with no sign of the bus we decided to cancel our walk back from St Brides and just do a walk halfway there, stop for a break, then return. In the evemt, this proved to be the sensible option. And the Puffin Shuttle? Well, we could have waited all day and it wouldn't have arrived as the buses were still on the winter schedule - Thursdays and Saturdays only (not Fridays)!
It was a cloudy morning as we went up onto the cliff tops with a cool onshore breeze keeping us comfortable as we walked.
The view from the cliff top across toward Broad Haven sands
The Setlands in the middle foreground with The Rain headland behind
On the clifftop we spied clumps of cowslips making a first appearance. We negotiated a short stretch of road and then we were back on the coast path passing Musslewick Bay as we moved into the woodland part of the path which took us around Borough Head. Plenty of chiff chaffs kept us company as we walked, with the occasional sound of a stonechat in the distance.
A solitary tanker lying off Broad Haven
It was noticeable that the path had received considerable attention during the previous winter as long stretches of it had been widened and consolidated, making a broad swathe through the shaded woodland.
The improved coast path
Plenty of bluebells to come on Borough Head
We continued heading for St Brides until we reached the Howney Stone whenre we perched ourselved on a convenient roack outcrop and had a snack before returning to Little Haven.