Finding our feet in Pembrokeshire…
We’ve spent quite a lot of the summer this year travelling around the UK and one of our ports of call was Pembrokeshire. It was actually my Mum’s choice having spent quite a few years of her childhood there when her father was stationed at an RAF base at Pembroke Dock. The idea behind the holiday was to see if she could find any information about her father’s time at the RAF base and to see what had changed and how much of it she could remember. 😉
So, all keen to test my Mum’s memory and see where she’d grown up, the four of us, myself, MrBizkitz, my Bro and Mum, packed up our respective geo-wheels and headed off for a relaxing week of sightseeing, Geocaching and history hunting in Pembrokeshire.
We stayed for a week in a pretty little cottage by a river near Narberth, which was central for all of the places we wanted to visit, and, more importantly, close enough to a pub should we fancy a cheeky pint after our days out 😉
My Mum and Bro had arrived at the cottage the previous night and by the time we rocked up they’d already left for the day. Luckily they weren’t far away. A note at the door soon had us back in the van and on their trail heading towards Carew Castle.
The phone reception was poor and I couldn’t get through to either of them so once we’d parked up we decided to take the walk around the castle. With only one main circular walk we hoped that we’d bump into them and the walk also happened to coincide with a few geocaches too which was a nice bonus 😉
So, our first geocache of the holiday was Carew Castle View which was very close to where this picture was taken…
Quickly we signed and replaced the cache and then legged it full pelt across the field towards them, dodging sheep as we ran, shouting the whole way but with no joy. Just as I thought we’d lost sight of them I saw a gate at the end of the field and they were just about to make their way through it when they finally heard me shouting to them.
We all had a giggle when I told them I’d been shouting them from way back and they said they’d wondered who it was but didn’t think to look! Very helpful!! Anyway, as they’d already done quite a long walk we decided to all head back into the small village of Carew and drive back to the cottage for lunch.
Cresswell and Lawrenny…
Unloading the van at the cottage didn’t take too long and after lunch we decided to go for another local walk to check out the area and see if there were any good places to eat nearby.
We opted to pick up a few of the Cresswell Circular geocaches starting at Cresswell Circular 17, although for some unknown reason my phone hadn’t stored all of the caches properly and so we ended up missing quite a few out. Ooops! 🙁
We still had a good walk though and really enjoyed the views. It’s a very pretty walk with some good caches. One that I’d recommend if you’re in the area. We also picked up Deal or No Deal? which was very well camouflaged and, Knowles Cross, which made clever use of ‘the force’!
From there we headed down into Lawrenny Quay and stopped at the Lawrenny Arms for a quick pint. They had a good menu which we made a mental note of for the week ahead. With it being a Sunday afternoon the pub was very busy but we managed to find the last available picnic table outside to soak up the sunshine and drink our pints. Perfect.
The next cache on the list was Cresswell Circular 8 – a tree climb, which, with a pint in our bellies, was surprisingly easy…I’ll have to remember that for our future escapades 😉
The last cache of the day was STEPPING STONES TOO! “THE MICRO” which, as you’ve probably guessed already, you had to cross over stepping stones for. We were lucky to have our timings right for this as you can only use these stones 2 hours either side of low tide. If not you miss the fun and have to walk the long way round! A nicely hidden cache greeted us on the other side of the water and also a pub (the Cresselly Arms)…where we had another pint before returning to the cottage for the evening.
Waking up bright and early the following morning we were all eager to explore and we’d decided to have a look around Pembroke Castle for the day. Wales is full of stunning castles and I’m lucky enough to have visited a few, but this was by far the most impressive one I’d been in for a while. It was slightly less imposing than it should have been – set against the brilliant blue backdrop of the sky that day, but once inside you could really feel the history of the building.
The displays were informative and interactive, and I was pleased to find one on the Rebecca Riots which I (being a Rebecca myself) found extremely interesting – albeit slightly weird. Essentially they were riots about the raise in taxation on the agricultural industry, where men, usually farmers, would get themselves dressed up as ‘Rebecca’s’ to go and protest at these rises in tax. Just picture it now…an army of angry, hairy, Rebecca’s…blimey! 🙂
The castle was also the birthplace of Henry VII and I found that I could easily have spent quite a lot more time reading all of the exhibitions. If you’re thinking of going expect to spend a few hours there exploring the place and don’t forget to head down the 55 spiral-stairwell into the spooky Wogan Cavern where you’ll be surprised to find a huge limestone cave, also known as a karst cave.
Rediscovering old memories in Pembroke…
Stopping in the tourist information office my Mum asked the lady at the desk if there had been any significant changes to Buttermilk Close, where she had lived as a child. The lady told us that the area had been redeveloped, to include more houses, but that Buttermilk Close was still the same. They also both shared memories of a tunnel where it turns out that they had both played when they were younger too which was nice! We decided to head straight over to the house to see if it would bring back any memories for my Mum, and we were in for a real stroke of luck when we got there.
As soon as we’d parked up a guy popped out of the house next door and asked if we were ok, obviously being on a Close they weren’t too used to seeing a car at the end of their drive. We got talking to him and explained that my Mum used to live in the house next door and he invited us into his back garden to look over the fence to see if my Mum could remember it, which was really sweet of him. My Mum told him how the houses on Buttermilk Close were built specifically to house RAF officers and NCOs stationed at Pembroke Dock and we spent a good few minutes chatting about the area before we left to do a bit more sleuthing at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre.
The Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre was a treasure trove of information about the history of the dock during the war years and the helpful volunteers gave my Mum some advice on where she could find out some more information. Sadly we didn’t find too much. I spent most of the time scanning the photo’s to see if I could spot my Grandad but with no joy – think we need to check out the archives next!
West Angle Bay was the next stop on the list, another place that my Mum remembered from her childhood, it’s a picturesque small sandy beach and when we arrived it was reasonably quiet with just a few people walking the Pembrokeshire coastal path. From the path on the cliffs you could see down into the clear blue water below and we were lucky to spot some jellyfish bobbing around. It was nice to take in the wildlife along this part of the coast and we even spotted a cute little crab in one of the rock pools as we were leaving.
We didn’t manage to find any geocaches on the second day as we’d all been a bit preoccupied on our mission down memory lane to be looking, that and it’s nice not to overdo it and just be in the moment sometimes too!
We’d been spoilt with the weather on those first couple of days and were happy with our progress but there was still so much to explore and we didn’t want to miss a beat and after a quick meal in Narberth we headed back to the cottage to hatch a plan for the following few days…
Stay tuned for part two of our Pembroke tour to find out how we got on in Stackpole, Cardigan, Tenby and Saundersfoot as we continued our exploration of this beautiful corner of the UK!
Happy caching! 🙂