Hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast of Wales is simplicity itself!
With three hiking trips from the USA to Wales, we haven’t been there often enough. We quickly figured out some key elements to make your travel and trekking in South and West Wales more fun. The Jackie and Rosemary Italian Road Show, you know that having hiking adventures is part of our DNA. We managed in Italy without knowing the language, you would have thought trekking in English-speaking Wales would be easy. It is!
1. You Can be a Novice at Traveling on Trains and Buses
In South Wales, you quickly learn that knowing what you’re doing isn’t a prerequisite for having everything work out as it should. The recent adventure Jackie and I had hiking in Pembrokeshire is proof of that.
In South Wales, you learn that knowing what you’re doing isn’t a prerequisite for having everything work out as it should. The recent adventure Jackie and I had in Pembrokeshire is proof of that.
Being good tourists, we deciphered Arriva trains, local buses (remarkable drivers), the sometimes too expensive taxis, and multitude of footpaths. One or a combination of a few can be the best way to reach your destination. To leave the Brecon Beacons Park, we walked a mile to the bus stop to journey. two hours through the hills. Grabbing a train at Swansea, we traveled another hour and a half to arrive at the Saundersfoot stop. There, we caught a ride in a painter’s van to Edith Cottage, our charming home for a week. (There’s a story to that van, but not for this blog.)
2. You’re Sure to Laugh with Other Hikers
What’s more fun than decrypting train schedules, bus passes, and dickering with taxi drivers over fares? Maybe knowing there’s one thing to be relied on throughout your journey: the kindness of the Welsh people. They laugh a lot (with you, at you—it’s all the same), help you, and set you on the proper course. Time and time again.
Enjoy a casual chat over coffee with the proprietress of the local shop. Or luck into an impromptu tour of Tenby with the formal mayor. When you’re warm and genuine to others, they sense and return the sentiments. Aren’t people a great way to discover a new place?
3. Hiking Pembrokeshire is a Study in Unique People
Maggie told us when we met over her blooming garden, “As soon as you talk with a Welsh person, they’ll ask how long you’ll be here. It’s not rudeness, it’s to see how much time we’ll have with you.” What a delightful approach to meeting strangers, don’t you think? This complements their willingness to befriend the lost and set you on your intended course—or, quite often—offer a new idea that’s better than your plan.
4. The Size of Wales Keeps Hiking Manageable
At around 8,000 square miles, Wales is about the size of the state of Massachusetts. Because Wales has 3,074,067 people compared to our state’s population of 6,547,629, it allows a lot more space between humans.
There might be something to the wide openness of a landscape allowing the people to be open to each other. The scope and views are why hiking in Wales is at the top of my favorite adventures.
5. Wales has a Notable Simplicity
If you’re an overworked American who has allowed an unhealthy amount of stress to pervade your life, head to Pembrokeshire. Inland towns from Brecon to Haverfordwest are enticing, but the coastal villages captivate my wanderlust-filled heart. I could be heard saying, eighteen times a day, “Have I mentioned how much I love Wales?”
Setting foot in quaint communities, from Fishguard to Goodwick to Saundersfoot to Tenby, I think, How soon can I return? How can I stay longer?
These lovely, quiet places along the Coast have a pervasively relaxing approach to life. I’m reminded of a California beach town where the daily attitude was, “Surf’s up, be happy.” Not a surfer, I didn’t get that so much. This peacefulness, I get. My heart is boundlessly happy when I’m walking the turf of this land.
6. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is 186 Miles of Gorgeous Hiking
Since reading about the Pembrokeshire Coast Path years ago, I’ve had a mind to walk its 186 miles. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not the trooper to do this in one fell swoop. I need to enjoy a glass of wine, savor some chocolate, and keep conversation with the locals flowing. I’ll continue to conquer bits of the trail anytime one hike at a time.
Summing Up Hiking in Wales
The simplest way to enjoy South Wales is to ready your shoes for walking, whether it be a stroll or a hike, a town path or the coastal trail. Know that your best-laid plans may go awry and decide now not to let it bother you. Kick back, put on your brightest smile and start trekking. The sights will be varied and the people you meet are guaranteed to captivate your soul.