It is the middle of November, the coldest and rainiest period for the United Kingdom (Malta is always sunny so they don’t care!) yet the gloomy weather will not scare us, as we are still remembering those beautiful and warm days of summer! Such memories are worth keeping especially during the winter gloom when all you can think of is the hot tea and a warm bed.
After visiting Ogmore-by-Sea and Saundersfoot, we are moving up the splendid Pembrokshire Coast and today we will invite you to visit one of the most unspoilt beaches in the world. No, we are absolutely not exaggerating at any point – Barafundle Bay has been called the Pearl of Wales, The Golden Beach and A Paradise on Earth. It has won several international awards for its wild beauty including Seaside Award (Rural) 2013, Green Coast Award 2013, Best Beach in Wales online award (voting took place in 2014), Best Beach in Britain (according to The Good Holiday Guide), Best place in the United Kingdom for a picnic (Country Life Magazine, 2006) and has been featured several times in Top Ten Beaches in the World by several magazines and tourist websites (Trip Advisor, Time Magazine, BBC and others). Do you need more encouragement? We didn’t think so!
Barafundle Bay is usually described as “remote, slightly curved, east-facing sandy beach” that lies between the Stackpole Quay and Broadhaven South on Pembrokeshire Coast Path, the only coastal natural reserve in the United Kingdom. It is one of several beaches that were part of the famous Stackpole Estate. This magnificent Georgian and Victorian country estate measured 24 kilometers and belonged to the richest family in Britain – the earls of Cawdors. The grand Stackpole Court has been sadly demolished in 1960, but even today the entire estate will amaze anyone who comes there. Right now it is a listed designed landscape and an internationally important nature reserve with cliffs, rock pools, wild lakes, semi natural woodland, remains of English and vegetable gardens (so called walled gardens), sand dunes and lily ponds. We will write about the estate in a separate entry in the future – we still haven’t visited all the right places and we want to write a proper, detailed review!
Sherlock fans should pay a special attention to Barafundle Bay – it is one of Benedict Cumberbatch’s favourite places in the world and it played an important part in a move called “Third star”. It is an independent production and we didn’t like it that much, but you can clearly see how much Mr Cumberbatch enjoyed being there! The movie was completed in 2009 and is widely available on DVD and Blu-ray. You can purchase a copy at Amazon:
Getting to the remote beach can be a bit of a problem. The only car park is at Stackpole Quay, nearly a mile away and you will have to pay five pounds per day. This is a standard fee for all National Trust managed places in the area so it is cheaper to join the National Trust than to pay a fiver every time you want to park somewhere. You can also walk to the beach from Broadhaven South, but the path is much more difficult – 3 miles of climbing the lime stones and dragging yourself through the sand almost feels like completing the London Marathon. We recommend parking at the Stackpole Quey and walking through the woodland and sand dunes. There is also a different path that leads through the cliffs and you can take some fantastic pictures from the top. Be careful when you are near the edge as there are no barriers and few unfortunate travelers met their end after falling down. Once you reach the beach, you will have the privilege of walking through a small gate that has been constructed for John Campbell, 1st Baron Cawdor. At the end, there is small stone staircase with 54 steps leading straight to the sandy shore. Let’s not forget that for nearly 200 years, Barafundle Bay has been a private beach and it has been protected by a guardsmen!
You can learn more about this amazing place by reading the following articles:
Visit Pembrokeshire: http://www.visitpembrokeshire.com/explore-pembrokeshire/beaches/barafundle-bay/
National Trust: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1356400537038/
Pembrokshire Council: http://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/content.asp?nav=101,100&id=13343
BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_west/4761873.stm
Trip Advisor: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g1474995-d481159-Reviews-Barafundle_Beach-Stackpole_Pembroke_Pembrokeshire_Wales.html
Wales Online: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle/20-best-beaches-wales-2013-2573728
We will hang around the Stackpole Estate a bit longer and take you to Broadhaven South next. Stay tuned for another amazing collection of beautiful pictures and clicks! Have a fantastic day!
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz