Things To See And Do
Porthclais Farm Campsite is situated just next to the famous Pembrokeshire Coastal Path with its miles of spectacular scenery. The offshore islands of Skomer, Grassholm and Ramsey are renowned for their resident and migrant birds and grey seal colonies. Open air theatres and concerts take place in the medieval Bishop’s Palace. The historic Cathedral City/village of St Davids is just half a mile away, with a wide range of shops, banks and restaurants.There is a regular bus service between the train stations at Haverfordwest and Fishguard to St Davids. The National Park provides local bus services: The ‘Celtic Coaster’ runs between Porthclais Harbour, St Justinians, Whitesands Bay and St Davids (on request will stop at Porthclais Campsite) between 1 June and 30 September; the ‘Puffin Shuttle’ runs southwards along the coast to Milford Haven and the ‘Strumble Shuttle’ runs along the north coast to Fishguard.
A little distance away is the beautiful sandy Caerfai beach, one of the four best beaches in the British Isles (Holiday Which). Very safe for small children and toddlers with shallow rock pools for paddling and shrimping.
The large sandy beach of Whitesands is nearby. This has golden sands at all stages of the tide, with easy access for pushchairs from the adjacent car park. Whitesands is an EEC Standard Blue Flag Beach (free from contamination and manned by Lifeguards). Enjoy a quiet picnic and swim at the sheltered sandy beaches of Porthlysgi, Porthselau, Porth-melgan or Caerbwdi, accessible only on foot. The large sandy beaches of Traethllyfn and Newgale are only a few miles away. Abercastle, Aberbach and Abermawr have rock pools and sandy beaches. The tiny picturesque Porthclais harbour, beloved by children for “crabbing”, has a slipway for launching small boats and free boat park. There is also a famous lifeboat station at Porthstinian. Boat and fishing trips to the offshore islands are organised by local fishermen.
Spring arrives early in the Peninsula and the area is beautiful with an abundance and variety of flowers and birds. The campsite is only a few hundred yards from the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path with its miles of spectacular scenery. The offshore islands of Skomer, Grassholm and Ramsey are famous for their resident and migrant birds and grey seal colonies. The surrounding countryside is a haven for badgers, seen on a late spring evening.
In May the abundance of wild flowers on the cliffs produce truly breathtaking scenery – among the most beautiful in the British Isles.
Summer pursuits include swimming or relaxing on the sands at the nearby beaches of Caerfai and Whitesands, or, for the energetic, surfing, windsurfing, boating, fishing, pony trekking and golf, and there are many castles, islands and ancient monuments to visit.
In September seals swim between Porthstinian and Treginnis, where they breed in the sheltered coves and in October the mother seals can be seen suckling their young.
Autumn is long and mild. Walk along the Coast Path to see the newborn seal pups in the quiet coves. Visit prehistoric monuments, the iron-age hill-fort at Caerfai and neolithic burial chambers on Carn Llidi. In autumn the heather and gorse on St Davids Head create spectacular patches of purple and gold. The rare parasitic plant, Dodder, is to be found on the heather and gorse opposite Carreg yr Esgob (Bishop’s Rock). Christmas and New Year. St Davids with its cathedral and mild weather forms an ideal setting for family reunions or a quiet, secluded break. Choral and orchestral concerts are organised in the cathedral and choral evensong is sung by the Cathedral Choir.
Whatever the season there is something for both young and old, indolent and energetic. Aber Mawr, Porthlysgi, Porth-melgan and Pwlderi are just some of the tiny bays to explore.
At hand is Ramsey, a few minutes sailing time from St Justinian’s with seals basking below cliffs, soaring with kittiwakes.
Scramble up Carn Llidi or Pen Berri on a clear day, to be rewarded with a glimpse of Ireland, laze on Whitesands beach, a surfer’s paradise, wander down flower-strewn lanes between disused mills and tiny coves, once bustling medieval trading ports, or participate in “Adventure Activities” organised by the National Park and Outdoor Pursuit Centres – surfing, windsurfing, sea canoeing, kayaking, abseiling and climbing, mountain biking or pony trekking.
The St Davids Peninsula – Dewisland, the Land of David – is a land of ancient history, of myth and of legend with a tranquil, timeless atmosphere. This remote peninsular is one of the wildest and most spectacular stretches of the National Park. Pembrokeshire – Penfro in Welsh – translates as “Land’s End”.
The sea has been the major influence on the way of life of those who lived on the peninsular. From early prehistoric times, the Western Seaways have been used as a major highway by settlers and saints, pilgrims and pirates, traders and travellers.
The earliest settlers to arrive by sea built megalithic burial chambers or cromlechau, such as Ccetan Arthur, on St Davids head. Solitary standing stones remind us of the people who created large temples from the “Bluestones” of the nearby Preseli Hills.
On many promontories the embankments and earthworks of an iron-age fort are found. The hut circles of an iron-age village can be clearly seen on St Davids Head and the stonemarked boundaries of their narrow field system run northwards from Cam Llidi to the sea.
Later came the Celts, whose stories and songs have been handed down in the folk tales of the Mabinogion and who left inscribed stones bearing the Ogham script.. In historic times there was a catastrophic flood to which the tree trunks, to be seen on Whitesands at very low tide, bear witness.
Early Christian missionaries also travelled by sea, and this peninsula was an important focus of the Celtic Church. Holy wells and Celtic crosses carved on wayside stones mark the ancient pilgrim route. Three pilgrimages to St Davids were worth one to Rome.
The National Park runs several activities each day during the holiday season and less frequently the rest of the year – walking, pony trekking, boat and coach trips.
Further details are in the free newspaper, Coast to Coast, available from the Tourist Information Centre or by post from The Information Service Pembrokeshire Coast National Park County Offices, Haverfordwest, Dyfed SA61 1QZ.
Maps and guides of the local area are available at the bookshop in The Pebbles, St . Davids. The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path meanders around the peninsular, over high cliff tops, rugged promontories and into a succession of sandy coves and beaches. It is a perfect paradise for walkers, and inland, too, are footpaths, bridle paths, old green lanes and ancient pilgrim ways. Easy round walks can be taken from the campsite from 2 to 14 miles or longer completely away from the main roads!
The cathedral is a local music centre, with choral evensong, organ recitals and choral music from artists of international reputation.
Dining and Eating Out
There are at least 12 restaurants and coffee shops to choose from in St Davids alone, catering for all pockets.
TYF Adventure are one of the UK’s most respected outdoor activity operators, based in St Davids. TYF pioneered coasteering, started a world freestyle kayaking championship series, and were the first adventure business to go carbon neutral and commit to 1% for the Planet. TYF create adventures that set new standards of play and learning that help people to reconnect to themselves, friends, family and nature. Half days, full days and multi activity breaks available year round. Call 01437 721 611, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tyf.com to find out more.
Sea fishing is excellent from the rocks at Caerfai point, St Non’s, and at Ogof Golchfa between Porthlysgi and Porth Clais. Angling trips from St Justinian and Solva – details from the Tourist Information Centre in St Davids – 01437 720392.
Sailing and Boating
Launching – slipways and public boat parks are at nearby Porthclais harbour and Fishguard. There are also slipways at Whitesands bay and Solva harbour. Boat trips along the coast and around Ramsey Island from St Justinian, Whitesands Bay and Solva. Landing trips to Ramsey Island from St Justinian – details from the Tourist Information Centre St Davids – 01437 720392.
Falcon Boats St Davids – www.falconboats.co.uk
Bowling Riding School – Rudbaxton, Haverfordwest – Tel: 01437 741407 Centre for riding for disabled and Pembrokeshire College for their equine courses.
Dolrhanog Riding Centre – Newport – Tel: 01239 820432 Horse and pony treks across the peaks of the Preseli hills.
East Nolton Riding Stables – Nolton – 01437 710360 Riding over sandy beaches and farmland overlooking St Brides Bay. Hendre Eynon Riding Centre – 01437 720474 Escorted rides daily, hourly and afternoon rides, day courses. Maesgwynne Farm – Fishguard – 01348 872659 One hour and half-day treks, riding lessons. Creche facilities available.
St Davids City Golf Club – Whitesands – www.stdavidscitygolfclub.co.uk
Situated 2 miles west of St Davids in a splendid position overlooking Whitesands Bay. The course is a 9-hole, 5911 yard SSS 70, 18-tee links course, Open all year. The clubhouse has showers, toilets and changing facilities.
Arts & Crafts
John Williams Slate Craft and Engraving Workshop -Nun Street, St Davids -Tel: 01437 720498
John Williams is a native St Davids craftsman who hand carves Welsh slate producing house plaques, numbers, sundials, commemorative and memorial work. Visitors welcome to call in and see a rural craft of Wales.
Jim Harries, Woodturner- Siop Fach, Mathry – Tel: 01348 831379
The woodtumers can be seen at work. Fruit and salad bowls, bread and cheese boards, soup bowls, named eggcups and many more wooden gifts. High quality fumiture is a speciality- Welsh dressers, tables and chairs and four-poster beds. Open all year, 7 days a week.