The Experience Pembrokeshire Walking Festival gives you the opportunity to experience the variety of magnificent landscapes and distinct culture that our county has to offer. May is one of the most spectacular times to get out and about in Pembrokeshire. Our beaches are featured in many blockbuster movies so let them inspire you as they have inspired the film makers.

We’re sorry you missed the 2014 Festival as there were some great walks. Carry on reading below to find out about some of them:

Experience Spittal

Had a great day walking at Spittal today, organised by Spittal Community Forum as part of the Experience Pembrokeshire Walking Festival. Walk leaders Trevor and Kate very kindly had caught some moths the night before to show us the different species in the area. Fortunately, most of the walk was in woodland so we didn’t burn in the blazing Pembrokeshire sunshine. Leaving the village, there was a short walk along the road before we hit the public footpath. Trevor and Kate are well informed about the local flora and fauna so it was great to stop and talk about the wildflowers along the way. A common orchid may be called common but it is still beautiful to me! The first half of the walk was downhill but the uphill climb was made easier by the stops to look at fungi and how the trees were being shaped by the honeysuckle. Such a lovely fragrant flower but quite frightening how it digs into the bark of a tree and scars it for life. We climbed down into Treffgarne Gorge so we were able to stand where the Brunel railway would have been if it wasn’t for the loss of money during the Irish Potato Famine. Brunel had surveyed the route in the 1800s, when the South Wales Railway was hoping to extend to Abermawr – I wonder how different the area would be if that line had gone ahead? After some time to contemplate the whims of the past, we returned to the village said our goodbyes and enjoyed a lovely lunch at the pub in Spittal.

A Walk with Art in Mind

It was an exciting day as Fishguard Arts Society organised their first Art Walk to Strumble Head. No artist could ever be disappointed in this stunning landscape, the dazzling sunlit sky that dances above Garn Fawr; the red brick, lego-like look-out shelters; and the Strumble Lighthouse, surrounded by its dark undulating shapes like something from a science fiction novel. The thick carpet of wild orchids, lousewort, thrift and rock samphire are a patchwork of soft pastel colours. The large geometric shapes of yellow ochre, red and pale green enclosures give a sense of space all around and highlight the enormous variety of patterns and textures of the land and the distant grey and white oblongs, nestled tight against contrasting shapes and the dots of black and white. The bluebells were fading but looking inland there were long lines across the landscape of rust red, cadmium yellow and bubble gum pink, a readymade Mark Rothko. All around was the fascination of the shape and movement of the clouds, the reflected light on the hills, the serenity and the smell of the sea.

Drawing offers an escape and in this landscape the imagination and artistic freedom is truly liberating. Written by Jane, Fishguard Arts Society

Experience Pembroke Dock

The newly formed Pembroke Dock Men’s Shed group ran this walk in partnership with the Pembroke Dock walking group, hoping to raise awareness of the new group and discover some of the hidden treasures of the Dock. Our 3 mile walk started at the Asda car park on a lovely sunny day, going to Lanreath Beach via the Front Street and it’s gun tower. We followed the dockyard wall to the Garrison Chapel, crossing over to the Fleet surgeon’s house and on to the Llanreath GunTower/Beach where we regrouped and took in the view across the water, then continuing on to the beautiful Memorial Park. From there we walked down Argyle street, right along Birdcage walk to the ruins of Llanion House ( the old Manor House ) where the owner gave a guided tour of the ruins and it’s grounds, the history of which was fascinating. It is been assumed that it came into possession of the Adams family as part of the inheritance from the Paterchurch estate, and boats Lord Nelson as a visitor when he met with Sir Thomas Meyrick there in 1802. We finished our walk here with everyone making their own way back to town. Written by Becky

The Havens Bat Walk, Little Haven

Run by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority in partnership with and as part of The Havens Festival, the Bat Walk took place in Little Haven just before it started to get dark. We took a walk through some of the woodland area, and heard a little about the area and the bats living there. According to PCNPA, wildlife is thriving in Pembrokeshire- of the 18 species of bat in Britain, we have 16 of them here in Pembrokeshire, and 12 come here to breed. Little Haven sees only the small, micro bats, mainly Pipistrelles- but many of them. As the sun set and it started to get dark, we were given bat detectors, which picked up the sounds bats made and turned them into a frequency humans can hear- we were told that if we could hear at the frequency their noises are made, the sound would actually deafen us! The result was fantastic, and we got to see and hear more bats than any of us had ever done so before as they all came out to feed. A brilliant walk! Written by Becky

Templeton Airfield Walk

The Templeton Heritage organised a guided walk on Templeton Airfield as part of the Experience Pembrokeshire Walking Festival. Basil Foraud welcomed everyone on behalf of the group and he went on to explain that the research was an ongoing project and that any input would be most welcome. After a brief history Basil pointed out the position of bomb stores and the Nissen hut which were situated opposite the airfield on private land, and the Microwave Communication Bunker built in the cold war period at the Thomas Chapel entrance.

The first stop on the walk was to the perimeter runway and it was explained why the concrete was covered in bitumen. Next we walked to the main runway and information on wind directions that affected the construction of airfields in Pembrokeshire. The next stop was at the fuelling bay where there were some remains of the bases of the giant fuel tanks.

During the walk Basil described the aeroplanes that had used the airfield during the 2nd World War and their functions. Also the different units that occupied the airfield from its opening in January 1943 to its closure in 1945 and it’s subsequent after use.

On the last leg of the walk we saw the Battle Headquarters situated on the top of the hill, and the reason for its existence was explained. The Control tower had been demolished and the site is now covered with shrubbery and could not be seen from the pathways.

Two accidents were recorded for RAF Templeton one when a plane skidded off the main runway and ran into the hill. Fortunately only the plane was damaged. The other was a tragic accident when and plane with four airman crashed at Redstone killing 3 members of the crew and seriously injuring the other, he subsequently died of his injuries.

This only a brief description of a very interesting evening, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Written by Sue, Templeton Heritage Group

Llawhaden through the ages

Had a very enjoyable day today (the other weekend) when I took part in a great guided walk, part of the Experience Pembrokeshire Walking Festival. Our guide was Andrew Dugmore, whose local knowledge and story-telling ability bought the local history to life.

The walk began at the small, free car park in the centre of Llawhaden Village and we took a leisurely stroll up the lane to the Castle whilst Andrew talked about the route we would follow through time (though not chronological). The Castle, which can be seen from afar, was built in two phases , firstly a ringwork castle in the 12th century and later became the fortified palace of the bishops of St Davids. What wonderful views there are, particularly from one of the towers, if you can make it up the steps it is worth it!

The group then headed back up the village toward the village hall and learnt what a thriving community existed in the 14th century. To my surprise, hidden behind the village hall is a medieval building, once part of a hospice, founded by Bishop Bek in the 13th century. We learnt of some influential families who lived locally as we took in the views south of the Hospice.

We walked back up the village a little way and took the lane on the left before the wooded area. At the bottom of the long gentle path, we joined what was probably part of the old route to Llawhaden, and of battles that helped shape the local history. We took a path to the right up through a lovely wooded pathway, where the dappled sunlight brightened the way. Andrew pointed out a number of animal tracks and what animals might use them and we tasted the surprisingly pleasant tasting early leaves one of native trees. I can’t remember which tree it was now. Bushcraft is one of our guides many skills and he treated us to a number of tasting opportunities throughout the walk. I must remember to take a small note book next time!

A steep narrow path took us up to the site of Holgan Camps’ Bronze age structure, given us a taste of the areas ancient past.

Returning to the main path, we continued to a clearing, where we stopped from a short while. The scene was set, the atmosphere created and we listened attentively to a part of a story from the Mabinogion.

We continued down to the road, which we followed down to Llawhaden Bridge stopping at the resting place of the pilgrim. Rain was threatening so we passed the church knowing that we would return shortly. Back at the church we took shelter from the rain and had a welcome cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake. It was a great opportunity to ask Andrew any questions we had before looking around the exhibition of local crafts. We were fortunate that the church had organised this for the same date as our walk.

From here we took the path back up to the castle and were lucky enough to see a woodpecker and its nest, which was surprisingly close to where a buzzard was nesting.

A very informative and pleasing guided walk on which I learnt a lot and would recommend to locals and visitors alike.