The Walking Eye by Alain Ayres

Wales Coast Path: Near Marloes to the Druidstone Hotel, Pembrokeshire

September 8, 2013 · 10 comments

Distance walked: 9 miles

Date walked  22nd  July 2013

Map required: OL36- South Pembrokeshire

Suggested walking guide book: Pembrokeshire Coast Path by Jim Manthorpe

The Pembrokeshire Coast path Officer is Dave MacLachlan. His email is DaveMac@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk

The Pembrokeshire Coast is also a National Park which is  responsible for planning decisions.

I was certainly happier with the ground underneath me on this second night of bivvying, but I was barely warm enough.  With the forecasts for warm nights as well as days I had only brought with me a silk liner by way of extra insulation, so in the middle of the night I rather awkwardly put my socks back on and my shirt. The periodic waking gave me glimpses of the orange tinted moon and the lullaby of the waves was enough for me to wake around 6 feeling that I had had a reasonable night. I brewed a cup of tea on my neat little Coleman F1 Lite stove and despite a lack of breakfast felt quite ready to resume the path by 6.45.

View from The Wales Coast Path from near  Marloes in Pembrokeshire, photographed by Charles Hawes

Once again the early morning sun worked wonders with the grasses that grow at the cliffs edge. Down below me the water was as clear as any I remember from the Mediterranean (of course my memory may be entirely unreliable).

Deep inlet of the coast near Marloes, photographed on The Wales Cast Path in Pembrokeshire by Charles Hawes

I can’t see a name for this inlet on the map but I am sure it must have one.

A stone wall on my right near Tower Point marked the edge of the St Brides Estate.

Wall of the St Bride's estate near Marloes, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

An arty shot for once looking into the early morning sun

Rounding a corner the castellated  St Brides Castle sits assertively over the surrounding open fields.

St Brides Castle near Marloes, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

You’ll have to buy into a Holiday Property Bond to stay there.

The path drops down to the sea at St Brides Haven where the low tide revealed the red sandstone geology of the area and then crosses a little beach to pass by a couple of cottages perched on the headland.

View across St Brides Haven to St Brides Castle from The Wales Coast Path, photographed by Charles Hawes

The Castle makes a good focal point, if a bit hazy.

From around here and for much of the day I was walking between swathes of tall grass, bracken and bramble. I began to feel occasional gentle brushes against my arms that were not from this path-side foliage but spiders’ webs that had been flung across my route overnight. Most were just a few stands in construction but some were quite elaborate to the point where I regretted their destruction and regretted later that I had not stopped to photograph any of them. My attention having been drawn to the path itself I also began to notice the bodies of quite a few shrews, the reject corpses of some night-time predator who obviously found them distasteful. And beetles, too, scurrying across my route in a panic. The other quite striking thing about the path was that it had quite recently been cut back, as the debris from the strimming was obviously quite fresh.

But my attention was regularly taken back to the calm blue sea below and the decoration of the cliff tops with grasses and other wild flowers.

View to St Brides Castle from The Wales Coast Path near St Brides Haven, photographed by Charles Hawes

The grasses really were this beautiful golden colour. Would love to know what they are called.

Just above Mill Haven someone has placed a simple sculpture in stone that I subsequently discovered is one of  five in the area by Alain Ayres, this one called “Walking Eye”.

"the Walking Eye" by Alain Ayres, photographed on The Wales Coast path near Little Haven in Pembrokeshire by Charles Hawes

I had to do a careful adjustment in order to retain the detail of the sea – just saying.

A wooden bridge crosses a book at Mill Haven and by it stands an old lime kiln, becoming submerged by the encroaching bracken and grass.

Mill Haven on The Wales Coast Path in Pembrokeshire, photographed by Charles Hawes

Lime kiln on right. There are lots around.

The path becomes more challenging with quite steep climbs and descents and although I had only been walking a few hours I was finding it quite demanding.  The sheer cliffs contained several deep inlets and in one near Brandy Bay I noticed a seal almost motionless in the blue water, perhaps looking at me.

Deep inlet near Brandy Bay in Pembrokeshire, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

The seal is the little dot just in from the submerged rocks; you’ll have to take my word for it.

Quite suddenly, from near Ticklas Point, the shape of the cliffs changed and became more gently sloping and covered in gorse and bracken (and other stuff).

Sloping cliffs near Ticklas Point photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Just to confuse you, I’m looking back from where I have walked. The change of profile in the cliffs is because the geology changes around here.

Once past Borough Head I passed through a wood of oak and beech, their trunks bare and slim as they have grown upwards, competing for the light.

Woods near Borough Head, Pembrokeshire, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

This wood stops just short of Little Haven and above the little  town the path affords a great view to the far side of St Brides Bay, some 5 miles ahead, before dropping down to the water.

View to St Brides Bay looking north from The Wales Coast Path, photographed by Charles Hawes

That first jutty out bit is Black Point and the beach is Broad Haven

Not having breakfasted and having walked around 5 miles I was ready to stop for a while but my first choice of café was so busy and so understaffed that I gave up after 10 minutes of sitting at my roadside table and took and paid for an orange juice from the chiller cabinet and felt a little cheated and hungry. I missed the steep road out of Little Haven and took instead the even steeper one that meant that I walked two sides of a triangle and was again ready for a sit when I dropped down to the beach at Broad Haven. I did better at a café where a piece of walnut cake and a coffee were my breakfast.

The Druidstone Hotel, Pembrokeshire, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

First sight of The Druidstone.

On the far side of Broad Haven’s sandy beach the path climbs steeply up to the cliff tops once more and levelled off for a while before turning inland briefly to take a minor road. I had identified on my map that my destination was just off this road and then below me I saw The Druidstone Hotel and its outbuildings as close to the sea as any building has a right to be.  It was only half past one but I had walked 9 miles and I suddenly felt utterly exhausted so I could have kissed the receptionist when he told me that my room was ready.

Room in The Druidstone Hotel in Pembrokeshire, photographed by Charles Hawes

This was SUCH an inviting sight.

I was on the top floor in the main house in what is called Roof South.  It was a large room with wood panelled walls and ceiling and rugs on the floorboards. Opposite the entrance was a balcony overlooking the sea and a chair. I loved it and felt I could have happily stayed a week.

The bathroom had a bath and I had a long slow soak before closing the curtains and the blinds and climbing into the smooth sheets of the double bed for a long snooze.

Around four, having slept deeply, I went down to the bar and ordered tea and scones which I had on a table outside. They were surprisingly poor with a falling apart crumbly texture and very thin jam and not very thick cream. Which was a shame but the tea was OK.

A path from the hotel goes steeply down to the beach so I wandered down to its pebbly shore, passing an eco dwelling (one could not describe it as a house) that was set into the hillside and had an oval glass façade.

Eco dwelling near The Druidstone Hotel near Broad Haven, Pembrokeshire, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

Did this appear on Grand Designs?

The little beach only had 3 other occupants having a barbecue and I spent half an hour just sitting watching and listening to the waves rolling the pretty pebbles up and down the gentle slope.  I also chose two little pebbles to bring home for my kitchen windowsill.

Near Marloes to Druidstone32

I was looking forward enormously to dinner – the restaurant  is in The Good Food Guide – and was pleased that I had not been tucked into a corner of the pretty dining room but was seated opposite a family of 6 who provided more than enough interest during the course of my very enjoyable meal. Whilst the food was good, the table decoration was delightful.

Table setting in The Druidstone Hotel, Pembrokeshire, photographed by Charles Hawes

Sweet peas in the water. Not had that before!

Everything, even the butter, had some plant either in or on it. Actually the dining room was far more than just pretty but I am not going to tell you more now- go and find out for yourself. Half way through the meal I picked up the news on my phone that our new Prince George had been safely delivered (though his name was not revealed at the time).  I celebrated the birth by a third glass of wine, taken outside in the gently falling rain.

 

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ian Thorpe September 8, 2013 at 8:54 am

Great – wonderful variation in the photos – love the grasses, stone and table setting.

Reply

Charles September 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Thanks Ian! Did you know the Druidstone? You and Elizabeth ishould give yourself a weekend there .

Reply

Ian Thorpe September 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm

No; apart from The Gower all this is new to us. Very much looking forward to the opportunity to visit.

Reply

Charles September 10, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Well, keep reading and I might come up with some more ideas closer to home!

Reply

Paul Steer September 8, 2013 at 10:45 am

I liked the arty photograph. I also appreciated your sea view through the sculpture. It is a magnificent coastal path. Ah wonderful !

Reply

Charles September 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I try to be arty, but seldom succeed! Thankfully the fabulous coast makes up for my inadequacies.

Reply

Anne Wareham September 9, 2013 at 9:29 am

Flawless.
You don’t comment on my blog posts.
Sulks.

Reply

Julia September 9, 2013 at 10:07 am

Best yet for me that is. Inside and out looks equally delicious.

Reply

jeanette lee May 29, 2015 at 8:40 am

Have done this walk many times and stopped for coffee ar the Druidstone , mamy special.memories !

Reply

Charles May 29, 2015 at 4:53 pm

I wish it was nearer but will certainly return there for a long weekend some time.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)