Cycling in the Pembrokeshire: page 2
More stuff in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to look out for..
Solva is a picturesque fishing harbour in St Bride's Bay between Newgale beach and St David's. It's worth walking a bit for the best views - from the carpark: cross the footbridge and follow the paths up on to the headland, or walk along the right side of the harbour to the Cafe on the Quay, or up the path/steps behind that cafe to Upper Solva for wonderful views over the mouth of the harbour.
St Brides Beach
This little cove, in the SE corner of the greater St Brides Bay, is one of the nicest places to swim in Pembrokeshire. To the right of the below photo is a small sandstone cliff, and if you look closely you should see the remains of 6th-10th century stone coffins sticking out of the cliff. Apparently, an expert managed to count 14 graves. Some of the graves are only obvious by the different coloured square patches. Sitting on top of the cliff mound is the ubiquitous lime kiln.
Why So Many Lime Kilns?
North Pembrokeshire contains acidic soils. Since the 15th century farmers have treated their fields with quicklime to reduce acidity and make them more productive. The limestone was brought by sea from South Pembrokeshire, which is why you see old lime kilns in every little harbour or inlet. The limestone boulders were loaded onto a small coal fire in the kiln and burnt to produce a powder. Horse and carts then carried the lime to the surrounding fields where it would react with rain.
Good examples can be seen at Solva (photo above), Porth Clais, Porthgain, St Brides, and Abercastle.
Rebecca & Her Sisters
Talking about Lime Kilns leads neatly on to the Rebecca Riots. The farmers had to carry the lime inland to their farms. At the time of the Turnpikes, this involved a toll to use the road for a 24 hour period. If a wheel came off your cart or you had some other misfortune which meant you didn't make it back within the 24 hours, you had to pay again. This aggrieved the downtrodden tenant farmers, often bankrupting them.
In 1839 the farmers on the Preseli Hills rebelled. They went out at night dressed up in women's clothing and burnt down the turnpike tollgate at Efailwen (to the south of hills). Quoting the bible, they called themselves 'Rebecca and her sisters'. Over the next 5 years riots broke out all across south and mid Wales. The rioters lead the authorities a merry dance, with few of them being apprehended. This was a success story, leading to legislation in 1844 which removed many of the farmers' grievances. The Rebeccas had connections with the Chartists and the Co-operative Movement.
The Last Invasion of Britain
In February 1797 the Revolutionary French attempted an invasion of Britain. The idea was to land 2 ships to incite riots in Liverpool and Bristol while the main force landed in Ireland. Bad weather disrupted the plan. Only one ship managed to land - at Carregwastad, a secluded bay west of Fishguard. They established their headquarters in a nearby farmhouse, little knowing that wine had been hidden there after a Portuguese shipwreck. Captain Tate soon lost control of his drunken convict crew and eventually surrendered. One story tells of the French surrendering to local women, mistaking their traditional tall black hats and red cloaks for the uniforms of the infantry.
Local women recently embroidered a wonderful 30 metre long tapestry of the invasion which is on display in Fishguard Library and well worth a visit.
Location: the tapestry is displayed in Fishguard library (Town Hall, The Square, Fishguard. Phone: 01437 776638. firstname.lastname@example.org), admission free. Well worth a visit.
Bridge Under Troubled Waters
The footbridge across the Gann, near Dale, can be under water 2 hours either side of high tide - we were running a little late! Not only is this bridge too short, it's not long enough either.
Pembrokeshire Round Chimneys
As you go cycling around you might spot a 'Flemish' round chimney, such as this one at Rhossen Uchaf farmhouse on the lane from St David's to St Justinian.
New Year's Eve on Whitesands Beach
On a walk in September 2015 we re-discovered these artworks hidden along a footpath in north Pembrokeshire...
Picnic At Strumble Head
The bike ride out to Strumble Head lighthouse is well worth it. In the autumn this is one of the best places on the mainland from which to see Grey Atlantic Seals (in the coves either side of the lighthouse island). We'll put a cycling route up soon.
Location: stained glass window in Roch church.
Lloyd George Knew...
Lloyd George, the 1st World War British prime minister, grow up in the as a Welsh-speaker in village of Llanystumdwy (west of Criccieth) - he is the only UK prime minister to have spoken English as a second language. Sustrans' cycle route 4 goes along a lane right past his grave.
Location: The grave is hidden in the woods on the right by the "30" mile speed limit sign on the eastern edge of Llanystumdwy, opposite the rear gates to the Lloyd George Museum. There is usually a few cars parked by the entrance in the low wall.
How many dates do you really need on a chapel? Five apparently at this chapel at Llangloffan.
Sustrans South West Wales Cycle Map - shows on-road and traffic-free paths, height contours, 5 town centre maps, recommended linking routes connecting the National Cycling Network with quiet roads. Includes the Celtic Trail (route 4), Lôn Teifi, and Millennium Coast Park (near Llanelli). 1:110,000 scale. (Also available from Waterstones)
Or buy the ordinary Ordnance Survey Landranger Map from Amazon.co.uk; scale 1:50 000 (1.25 in to 1 mile), about £9:-
Number 157 St David's & Haverfordwest Map covers North Pembrokeshire.
Number 158 Tenby & Pembroke Map covers South Pembrokeshire.