Well spring has hit us with a bang. After weeks of cold easterly winds, temperatures dropping regularly to 1C over night the weather has changed. Instead of 6C during the day it’s now 20C – scorchio! We are now filling in some gaps along the Coastal Path in Pembrokeshire. So today was a shortish walk from Saundersfoot to Tenby. This combined the occasional cliff top view with steep climbs and woodland walks. In fact the number of climbs from sea level to cliff top meant we ascended over 1300 feet.
Looking at the beach today and at everyone having fun in Saundersfoot it’s difficult to appreciate the fact that the village started out as a coal mining town and harbour. The only evidence visible today are the tunnels that worm their way through the cliffs just above the sand which carried a small train track used to transport the coal from the mines to Saundersfoot to be loaded on ships beached on the sand at low tides. The tunnels were completed in 1834 and the first trams were horse driven, bringing the coal from Stepaside Colliery. In 1874 a steam train called Rosalind replaced the horse drawn trams. The mining industry along the coast here was never in the same league as the South Wales valleys to the east, but it was still an important industry in the 19th century.
We climbed quickly out of Saundersfoot through the woods up to Monkstone Point. Even here there are a few mine audits visible in the trees, locked off to keep fools like me from poking around inside.
If evidence is needed that spring is finally here then you need to look no further than the rivers of blue we came across along the 7 mile length of the walk. Bluebells everywhere. They flash as the sun streaks through the shadows in the woodland, lifting the spirits and allow us both a catch our breath after struggling up another steep climb. Apparently the UK is host to half of the worlds Bluebell population. Not bad for a small island. Long may it continue.
Just beyond Water Wynch, a secluded little valley we encountered another climb, but this quickly brought Tenby into sight. From there is was a quick and easy descent into this iconic Welsh seaside town. The multi-coloured houses twinkle in the sunshine seeming to protect the small harbour below. It may not always have been like this, and Tenby didn’t seem to one of Dylan Thomas’ favourite places to life. He dismissed as a ‘filthy town’ in a letter to Vernon Watkins. But visit it yourself and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.