Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Exploring the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in Wales

The beauty of Britain’s only coastal national park hasn’t gone unnoticed. National Geographic Traveler magazine in the US recently rated the Pembrokeshire Coast one of the top two coastal destinations in the world. No wonder its visitors keep returning, year after year.

The Pembrokeshire coastline is an intricate ribbon of weather-worn cliffs, dazzling beaches and secret coves, jewelled with rock pools. Here, where land, sea and sky combine, walkers, surfers, kayakers and sailors are in their element.

In spring, you can explore woodlands carpeted with bluebells or meadows bursting with samphire, cowslips, harebells and campions. In summer, butterflies dance through arches of honeysuckle and over clouds of thrift and gorse.

And if, come autumn or winter, you feel like an outdoorsy break, the coast is the perfect place to blow the cobwebs away. You’ll find plenty of pubs and other cozy retreats within range when you’re ready to rest up and thaw out.

The national park is fantastic for wildlife-watching, too. From the first little bursts of warm weather in spring, the clifftops are alive with crickets and ladybirds. Overhead, seabirds wheel, screech and soar. Every year, puffins and Manx Shearwaters return to the islands of Caldey, Grassholm, Skokholm, Skomer and Ramsey to nest, while rabbits graze companionably and seals snooze in the sun. And occasionally, half-hidden by the waves, a pod of dolphins will come frolicking by.

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