December 30, 2020 5 min read
There are 15 National Parks in the UK where you can enjoy some of the most breath-taking and treasured landscapes in the country. Each National Park is unique and that certainly applies to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
In Wales there are three National Parks. They are the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog), the Snowdonia (Eryri) and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Parks (Parc Cenedlaethol Arfordir Penfro). These three parks contain very different landscapes; the Brecon Beacons is an inland National Park containing rolling hills with Pen y Fan being the highest point at 886m / 2907feet. Snowdonia has most of the highest peaks in Wales and is mountainous, with Snowdon itself being the highest point at 1085m or 3560 feet.
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The Environment Act (1995), which outlines that the purpose of the National Park is to:
The Park is managed by the PCNPA, which has around 130 staff and a committee of 18 members. In pursuing these purposes, the Authority should seek to foster the social and economic well-being of the communities within its boundaries. The Authority also manages the entire length of the Pembrokeshire coastal path, a 186-mile (299 km) national trail which lies almost entirely within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is the only one in the UK to have been designated primarily because of its spectacular coastline.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path was established in 1970, and is 186 miles (299 km) long, much of it at cliff-top level, with a total of 35,000 feet (11,000 m) of ascent and descent - more than Everest! The Pembrokeshire Coast Path twists and turns its way for the 186 miles from Amroth in the south to St Dogmaels in the north. During the 186 miles walk are some of the most breath-taking coastline views and landscapes in Britain. It covers almost every kind of maritime landscape from rugged cliff tops and sheltered coves to wide-open beaches and winding estuaries.
Pembrokeshire National Park is one of the smallest parks within the UK. As a result of this, where ever you are in the national park, you are never further than ten miles away from the coast. It is estimated that 33% of Britain’s nesting choughs can be found in Pembrokeshire and that Grassholm is the home to one of the largest gannet colonies in the world.
There are stunning beaches in every part of the National Park. A total of 39 beaches have been recognised winning Blue Flag, Green Coast or Seaside awards.
Due to this, there is also beautiful wildlife! In 2019, eleven beaches achieved the Blue Flag:
Also, twelve of the beaches within the national park were awarded Green Coast Awards, whilst 16 received Seaside Awards; eight of the beaches were awards both of these honours. Consequently, during the summer months some of these beaches may not welcome dogs, it is also worth checking in advance.
The Seaside Award is the national standard for the best beaches across the UK. While Seaside Award beaches can be vastly different, the flag is a symbol of quality which ensures visitors are guaranteed to find a clean, attractive and well managed coastal stretch. Green Coast Awards celebrate ‘hidden gems’ along the coastline and recognise excellent water quality and unspoiled environment.
No fewer than 13 of the 18 Welsh Green Coast winners are in Pembrokeshire.
Eight beaches completed the ‘double’, winning both Seaside and Green Coast awards. They were: Abereiddy, Barafundle, Broadhaven (south), Freshwater East, Manorbier, Marloes, Martins Haven and Penally.
The following beaches also won Seaside awards: Broad Haven (north), Cwm yr Eglwys, Goodwick, Little Haven. Newport, Nolton Haven and Wisemans Bridge.
A further five beaches also picked up Green Coast awards: Caerfai, Druidstone, Priory Bay on Caldey Island, West Angle Bay and West Dale.
A map of the Pembrokeshire National Park is available here.
There are so many stunning parts to the is National Park that trying to find some favourites is very difficult, but after much deliberation, here are three to consider a visit…
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Last update 29th December 2020