The stars of the show around Strumble Head at this time of year are Atlantic grey seals, but there’s plenty more to see, both on the way here and once you’ve arrived.
Stop en route to Strumble Head for a stroll to the famous Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy. This flooded slate quarry has become a focal point for coasteering (swimming and climbing around rocky coastline), and in September was the venue for an impressive cliff-diving event, with competitors plummeting 30m (100ft) from the top of the quarry into the chilly waters below.
The ghosts of industry
The walk from Abereiddy along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path to the harbour village of Porthgain is easy – on the way you’ll pass the forlorn but atmospheric remains of quarries and brickworks, which exported their produce from the tiny harbour 100 years ago. Now, Porthgain is better known for The Sloop, a cosy harbourside pub where you
can enjoy lunch.
Having retraced your steps to Abereiddy, hop into your car for the short drive to Pwllderi, one of the best coastal viewpoints in Pembrokeshire.
Finally, you’re at Strumble Head, where you may see the big white ferry forging through the tidal race on its way from Fishguard, across the Irish Sea to Rosslare. Also unmissable is the lighthouse perched atop the small island of Ynys Meicel just offshore, which you can reach by a footbridge from the mainland. This was built in 1908 to coincide with the opening of Fishguard, then a major transatlantic port. Just to the east side of the headland is an observation building (an old MoD structure), which provides some shelter from the often vicious winds that batter the coast, and from where you may see a huge variety of migrating birds including various auks, gulls, shearwaters and terns. When the sea is reasonably calm, there’s a chance that you may also see harbour porpoises, bottle-nosed dolphins and even fin, killer and minke whales.
However, it’s grey seals that are the main draw for wildlife spotters. At this time of year, you’ll almost certainly see
both adults and pups bobbing about in the water. A short walk east along the coast to the small cove of Porthsychan will usually reveal large numbers of seals hauled out on to the rocky shoreline.
Drive inland for a mile or so to the car park just beneath Garn Fawr. The five-minute walk to the summit of this rocky peak will see you in the middle of the remains of an Iron Age hill fort. Enjoy some of the finest panoramas in Pembrokeshire, stretching all the way from the Preseli Hills inland to Ireland’s Wicklow Hills on a clear day.
And if it is a clear day the sunset from here will be a treat, too.
HOW TO GET THERE
Strumble Head lies at the end
of a series of minor roads off the A487 St Davids-Fishguard road,
via the hamlet of Trefasser.
Find Out More
Fishguard Information Centre
The Sloop Inn
Porthgain SA62 5BN
The Manor Town House
Fishguard SA65 9HG