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Bristol - Marloes

Abbeys, rocks and birds.

sunny 20 °C
View Picturesque Pembrokeshire and Skomer Island 2013 on Grete Howard's travel map.

I can't believe how much stuff we're taking just for a week camping in Wales! It was like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube attempting to fit it all into the car! We didn't pack our passports however, and we had to bribe the officials to let us into Wales. Oh, wait, that's a road toll....

Neath Abbey
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Originally founded as a daughter house of Savigny in 1130, the abbey was absorbed into the Cistercian order in 1147. Fairly complete remains of the abbey survive, together with the sixteenth-century mansion raised within its precincts. Once the largest abbey in Wales, it was known as "the fairest abbey of all Wales.”
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Like its contemporary, the more famous Tintern Abbey, Neath is huge! The grounds were lush meadows covered in wildflowers – albeit mostly dandelions and those baby daisies you often find in lawn,s but it was beautiful all the same. Such an impressive site, it is amazing that not only is it free entry, but we also had the place to ourselves!

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Stack Rocks
We had planned to visit a reptile place in Pembroke, but when we got there we found it was closed, so we decided to pop out to the coast to see the stacks instead. Good move. The stacks are on a military firing range, and are only accessible when there are no manoeuvres happening. Today being a bank holiday, the road was open.

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Stacks are isolated pillars of rock which rise steeply from the sea and are of Carboniferous Limestone, the dominant local rock type. Around the Pembrokeshire Coast there are a number of stacks. Stacks were once part of the mainland, however, over time the sea has worked into weaknesses in the rock, known as joints and bedding planes, and worn it away. What is left is a stack that is separate from the mainland. Some stacks form from arches, after the arch part has collapsed.
The two stacks are important nesting sites for guillemots and kittiwakes, two of the many species of seabirds found on the Pembrokeshire Coast. The birds return to the stacks in spring, and can be viewed from the mainland throughout the spring and early summer. Locally the Stack Rocks are known as the Elegug Stacks, after the Welsh word for Guillemot. According to a local birder we got chatting with, the birds only arrived a couple of days ago, very late this year due to the cold spring, so we were very lucky! There were literally thousands of the birds perched on the rocks, making an already stunning location totally breathtaking.

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The Green Bridge of Wales
The Green Bridge of Wales is said to be one of the most famous landmarks in Wales, and one of the most spectacular sites on the Pembrokeshire Coast. I have to admit I had not heard about it until I started the research for this trip.
The Green Bridge is basically a limestone arch. formed when the sea wore away the rock underneath. At first, it is likely that a cave was formed in each side of the spur, then as the sea gradually washed more rock away, the two caves joined together to make an arch. One day in the future the centre of the arch is likely to collapse, and the arch will become a stack.

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Carew Cross
This magnificent 11th century decorated cross is believed to commemorate Maredudd ap Edwin who died in 1035. This cross provides the inspiration for the symbol of Cadw, the Welsh Heritage organisation. The cross is right next to Carew Castle, which we visited some years ago, but I can't remember seeing the cross at the time. It must have been there though, as I am not that old.

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Jodie's Place
On our way to our overnight accommodation, we popped in to see an old friend who is now a farmer's wife (in all but name) at a gorgeous remote location in Pembrokeshire. We were treated to coffee and home made flapjacks, a tour of the new vegetable patch, pond and the boys' camp in the woods (which brought back many happy memories of playing and making dens in the forest as a child) as well as cuddles from Kenny the boxer dog. Apparently it is a sign that he likes you when he places his head on your leg at the table.

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The Griffin Inn
After checking in to our guest house in Marloes and ordering tomorrow's breakfast, we set out to go for dinner. Having read many scathing reviews on Trip Advisor about the local restaurant within walking distance of the guest house, we headed for The Griffin Inn in Dale instead, a ten minute drive away. Boy were we glad we did! What a wonderful place! Specialising in fresh fish – very fresh, most of it comes from the bay right outside their door – and the staff were exceptionally friendly, treating us like long lost friends. The menu was described to us in detail, the manageress and the chef both came out to ensure everything was OK and just to generally chat. And did I mention that the food was awesome? I tried razorclams for the first time and they were scrummy! The clams were picked from the sea wall some 20 metres from our table earlier that day! That is truly local and truly fresh!

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Posted by Grete Howard 13:42 Archived in Wales

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Comments

It sounds like it was a wonderful day.
Wishing you many more in Wales.

by kyoub

Lovely article.
ps... I love razor clams too.

by jeannie

You haven't had razor clams before? And there's no way Jodie's flapjacks are better than mine :oD

by Helen

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