Easter Saturday and we’re braving the buses again., though without much confidence. We got to the bus stop early and sat watching the cyclist go past. It seems this is a popular cycle route. In the 25 minutes we sat on the bench 31 went west but only 5 going east. I’m not suggesting that but bus stop is not used very often in Lydstep but the bench was covered in lichen. The only one of which I can identify with any certainty is the Green Shield Lichen – Flavoparmelia carperata. Not surprisingly it’s the green round on the back of the bench. Eventually the bus arrived and we heaved a sigh of relief that the buses were in fact running on a Bank Holiday Weekend, and we were deposited safely outside the town walls ready for the days adventure.
A few years ago South Wales was hit by a number of storms and the effects of the rough seas can still be seen today. The last time we came to Tenby the pristine sands of South Beach stretched into the distance all the way to Giltar Point. Now however you can see a stretch of stones and pebbles along the beach and there is a discernible drop in the beach level where the sands have been scoured away during the storms. Parts of the sand dunes backing onto the beach have been washed away and there are attempts to stabilise the dunes by planting old Christmas trees.
After walking along Tenby beach we climbed up to the headland at Giltar Point which gives a fantastic viewpoint over Caldie Island.
Whilst our previous walk from Saundersfoot to Tenby with a steep climbs through wooded valleys today it is wide clifftop walks affording views across the sea and dizzying heights as you look down into all the small secret coves. The geology along this part of the coast of sedimentary limestone which were formed about 201 to 252 million years ago in the Triassic period. Due to major geological upheavals the rocks have been turned by 90° and the sedimentary nature of the books themselves can clearly be seen in the layers and bands in the cliffs. The constant pounding of the sea finds small weak points in the rocks themselves resulting in the development of caves on the coast and the occasional sinkhole on the clifftop, some of which are huge and very, very deep.
There are army camps, firing ranges, tank practice areas and artillery ranges all over this part of Pembrokeshire and they done seem to have Bank Holiday weekends off. Because the army were using the firing range we had to make a detour away from the coast for a mile or so before finally rejoining the path just east of Proud Giltar. The cliff tops are sprinkled with pink patches of Thrift, Armenia maritima.
With no wind, the sun shining the cliff tops provide the best lunch spot around. The views along the coast towards Lydstep Haven. This is another beautiful sandy beach back by a large holiday park. That’s really all there is to say about the place really, but maybe my impression is coloured by the incessant drone created by fools on Jet Skis. These really do spoil the quiet of the seaside. I think I’m turning into a grumpy old man. So we did it stop off here but quickly climbed out of the bay back to the cliff tops and on towards Skrinkle Haven.
At high tide you have to wonder why it was worth the bother to climb down the 50 or so steep steps bolted into the cliff face. The high tide pushes you up into a small and narrow beach jam packed with large boulders without any sand in sight, but look around and then you see the Church Doors. A huge arch carved out of the limestone, looking as if it’s about to fall down.
On the other side of the Haven there’s a small hole in the cliff that takes you through to a secret sandy beach. But if you wait for the tide to go out then a large expanse of sand appears and it’s a doddle to walk around the narrow protective arms of the cliff sides and you are rewarded with a beautiful beach of sand and intriguing rock pools. It’s only fairly recently that this gem has been accessible. In 1935 the army commandeered the area and used it for artillery practice up until the 1970s. The concrete artillery bases are still visible on the cliff tops. But now it’s a target area for beach lovers. And long may it be so.