Category Archives: Holidays

Packing for Pembrokeshire

Next week is the Husbear’s birthday, he will be that big number which everyone dreads. As a birthday treat we’re escaping to Bluestone in Pembrokeshire for four nights of rest, relaxation and fresh air. We’re taking the small boy of course, and there’s nothing he likes more than the beach, so Pembrokeshire seems the perfect spot for us all.

We’ve never been to Pembrokeshire before so it’ll be an adventure for us all. I like to do my research before I go anywhere new, find out where the shops are, a few nice places to eat, where the good beaches are and what attractions there are for kids nearby.

I like to have a few ideas of what we’ll do before we actually get there, I find it really helps to take the pressure off. We don’t have a strict itinerary, but it’s helpful to have some fluid plans for both wet and dry (and hopefully sunny) days while we’re in Pembrokeshire. Naturally my first stop was the Visit Wales website which is a pretty solid place to start your information gathering mission if you’re visiting Wales.

Pembrokeshire

Having never visited the area before we were keen to get to grips with what we’ll find when we get there. I was blown away by the pictures of the beaches which looked beautifully sandy, sunny and gorgeous, not to mention perfect for kids. A quick scroll through the kinds of activities available locally shows lots of great outdoor activity suggestions, with a few great wet weather options too.

I think if the sun is shining, or even if it’s not, we’ll make the most of the local beaches and countryside. We holidayed in Devon in February and still spent lots of time wrapped up against the weather, exploring the beaches, so it can’t possibly be any colder or wetter than that!

As well as our car full of “everything you ever need and most of the things you don’t” that we normally take on holiday, we always pack a day bag with a few essentials in it, we can always leave what we don’t need in the car to save us carrying it about. So here’s what will be in our Berghaus bag of Pembrokeshire essentials –

  • Sun cream (we are ever hopeful)
  • Walking boots
  • Swimming gear
  • Bucket and spade
  • A camera
  • A few good books
  • A flask of coffee
  • A pac-a-mac (you never know)
  • A proper map (I don’t trust sat navs)

We can’t wait for our little holiday, I’m really looking forward to exploring a part of the country we’ve never visited and I’m really excited to be spending some lovely quality time with my boys. I’ll be reporting back (naturally) on how we get on in Wales and what we get up to, so watch this space!

PS. If you have any top tips for what we cannot miss in Bluestone, Pembrokeshire they would be very much appreciated!

Note: We were sent a brilliant Berghaus rucksack of goodies by Visit Wales as a thank you for writing this post. All images and opinions are my own.

Exploring the Wrecks of Westward Ho!

We’ve been visiting the beach at Westward Ho! for many years. It’s a stunning beach, around two miles of lovely sand, popular with surfers and a great beach for collecting shells. Like most beaches on the North Devon coast its character can often be changed by the winter (and summer) storms; the fierce waves shifting the stones and sand, hiding and revealing features.

When we last visited Westward Ho! in June 2014 there was nothing of particular interest to note, it was the same as it’s always been, sandy and flat, with a bank of stones against the shore. In February 2015 it was at first glance the same. We took a stroll along the beach hoping to collect some nice shells to take back to school when I spotted some pieces of wood sticking out from the sand.

I was really curious about what they were and they seemed to be attracting attention, so we walked over to have a closer look. What we found was the ancient hull of what is thought to be a barge trading on the Bristol Channel, but has also known locally as a ‘Viking Ship’ or ‘Spanish Galleon’, we called it a ‘Pirate Ship’ because the small boy is currently obsessing about pirates.

The wreck is an oak-framed vessel which is around 25 metres long and 7 metres wide. It is thought that the wreck could be one of two boats wrecked nearby, the ‘Salisbury’ of London, lost in March 1759 on Northam Burrows or the ‘Sally’ of Bristol, which was wrecked on Northam Sands in September 1769.

This large wreck isn’t visible very often, so it was a real privilege to be able to see it. It’s usually buried deep in the sand and it might be a number of years before we get to see it again. I took the opportunity to take some pictures of it for prosperity.

Westward Ho

Westward Ho

Westward Ho

A bit further along the beach we came across another wreck, this was much smaller than the first, measuring just over 15 metres in length. The remains of the wreck were not as complete as the first. This wreck is thought to date from the late 18th or early 19th century and is likely to be a Polacca Brig, a style of sailing boat which was used to trade limestone, coal and other goods across the North Devon coast, Taw Estuary and to the Bristol Channel.

Somewhere under Westward Ho! beach lies a third wreck, but that hadn’t been revealed to us by the shifting sands. We felt incredibly lucky to have seen the two skeleton wrecks which had been uncovered over the winter months and we’re hoping to visit again later in the year to see if they are still visible or not.

Note: All images are my own, they must not be used elsewhere without my written permission.

I Wish I Was There (North Devon)

As I sit and type this I am wrapped in a blanket, sat in front of a blazing fire. I can hear the rain bouncing off the windows. The whole family is collectively wearing more layers than a bag of onions and we just want to be somewhere warm.

I want more than nothing else to sit on a beach listening to the waves, feeling the warm sun against my back, heating up my old bones. I want to see my lovely husband emerge like Daniel Craig from the sea and I want to build sandcastles and paddle with my 3 year old son. I want not to shiver when I slip out of bed in the morning.

In short, I want to be here.

North Devon

Here in this instance is North Devon. It might not be exotic or far-flung but it is beautiful. It is so restful and it is, in our eyes, just perfect. On the horizon you can just make out Lundy Island. If you follow the cliff path you’ll find your way to Hartland Quay, like we did.

I love this picture, it was taken a few years ago on a beautifully warm summers day. We’d spent most of that day in Hartland Quay, sat on the beach listening to the waves crash on the rocks, we’d paddled and swam. We’d walked up to the pub and had a pint and some lunch. The warm sun on our backs and our hair, thick and wild with the salt water. We’d never felt so relaxed.

Of course this was pre-baby, but we’ve taken him there since and he loves it as much as we do, though it is slightly less relaxing when you’re on toddler-drowning watch. It must be stunning if even my 3 year old says “oh wow” when he stands at that gate.