The Pembrokeshire National Park in Wales is one of Britain's smallest parks at 240 square miles (620 sq km), but its dramatic 170 miles of coastal scenery (all of the park is within 10 miles of the sea) more than makes up for its size.
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Windswept headlands and steep cliffs look down on wave-washed pebbles below. Islands (Skokholm, Skomer, Grassholm and Ramsey), the Preseli hills moorland and wooded estuaries contribute to the panorama. Sandy beaches at Marloes, Whitesand Bay and Newport are further attractions.
Pembrokeshire's coastal path, a designated national trail of 186 miles (299 km) in the park, offers walkers a close-up view of the scenic delights of the park. Glimpses of wildlife include the gray Atlantic seal and sea bird colonies-shags, razorbills, kittiwakes, ravens and peregrine falcons are just a few of the birds that inhabit the area.
The coast trail mainly follows the clifftops and offers a challenge in its 35,000 feet of ascent and descent. It begins at Amroth in the south and ends at the Poppit sands near St Dogmaels in the north. The path passes through 17 Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI), one national nature reserve, a Wildlife Trust South & West Wales nature reserve and a marine nature reserve.
Prehistoric man left his monuments in the park. Medieval man built churches and the castles of Carew, Manorbier and Pembroke. Industrial use included the quarrying of stone from the hills and harvesting fish from the sea. The park is densely settled in parts and includes the cathedral city of St David. Little Haven, Solva and Lower Fishguard bustle with harbour activity, while Tenby and Saundersfoot are favourite holiday resorts.
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is truly Gwlad hud a lledrith, the 'land of magic and enchantment'.
National Park Officer
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire SA61 1PY
Tel: 01437 764636
Email: Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Website: Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Photos courtesy Swansea cam, Calverton Cam, Visit Britain, and by Barbara Ballard