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A perfectly Pembrokeshire perspective – by Cara Jasmine Bradley

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Budding young travel writer Cara Jasmine Bradley writes about her experience at visiting Pembrokeshire last summer

IT WAS the moment that saw all my childhood dreams come true in a dramatic flurry afore my eyes.

The hoof beats below me intensified, and I laughed as I was showered in a mixture of sand and sea spray. The wind slapped at my face in refreshing fashion as we thundered along, tearing up the surf.

Slicing into the waterfall of rain, I felt overwhelmingly empowered and alive. I wanted the descending coastline to spiral onwards forever.

Towering cliffs doused in pulsating spillages of shrubbery dwarfed the cove on either side, creating an illuminating spotlight to my disposition.

The grey clouds overhead created a quintessential backdrop to the bursts of colour created by the blissful clash of the sea and its surrounding rolling meadows.

Leaning forwards, I embraced the rain and my every spine-tingling sensation, and allowed the horse to pick up his pace another notch. The feeling of sheer freedom was indescribable.
Pembrokeshire: the place that presented me with one of the most invigorating memories of my life.

Galloping along a deserted stretch of Haverfordwest beach truly made up the ingredients for the stuff dreams are made of. The drum of the hooves replicated my bursting heart, and I scarcely recalled a time I had felt more joyous.

It was the promise of horse riding on the beach that had initially enticed me to Pembrokeshire that summer, but it was the treasured alternate elements that sum up the mystical county that have kept my heart alight ever since.

Pembrokeshire quickly enlightened me the depth of its rural charm, showcasing just what the UK does best: nature. We arrived at our caravan that first evening to find that we already had our first visitor ready and waiting for us at the door. In the gathering dusk, the silhouette of a badger made my breath catch in my throat. I had never been in such close proximity to one before! The badger boldly held eye contact for a few seconds, before scuttling off, only to return every night!

Perhaps it was the prime location of our caravan that won me over. An overgrown pathway led us away from the caravan park. We passed by the towering wall of bold foxgloves and followed the aroma of sea salt until we found ourselves in an open field, which boasted astounding views out across the sea via the craggy cliff-side beyond.

Watching the sun set from that very spot became a nightly tradition that never failed to motivate and mesmerize.

The declining sun dropped an explosion of blood orange across the cliffs, sending its rays clambering across the still surface of the sea far into the horizon. It felt as though I was stood on the brink of the eye to the world, gazing at its magnificence through a magnifying glass.

Famed for its paradise perfect beaches that behold the ability to make one believe that they could actually be anywhere in the world, Pembrokeshire also modestly lets fans into its sacred secret of outstanding countryside.

It’s easy to get lost in the endless woodlands and forests spread generously across Pembrokeshire. And by ‘lost,’ I also mean in the metaphorical sense of the word, for it is almost impossible not to abort all of life’s worries and negativities under the protection of the rich canopy of trees.

Enchanted pathways zig-zagging through the heart of dense woodland defines a magical fairytale setting intent on inspiring.

The woods were stunningly silent, aside the therapeutic droplets of rain cascading from the branches. The air was thick with the revitalising smell of nature – that tantalising ambiance that can only truly be appreciated after the rainfall.

The blackberries sat plump on their bushes, squirrels darted across the undergrowth in our wake, and mysterious flora and fauna shimmered in delight amidst the showers.

There was just something about trekking through the superlative forests that made me feel like a child again; uncontrollably wide-eyed with admiration and enthrallment. The scenery that generously enveloped me was so beautiful, so surreal, that I felt as though I was floating through a pleasant day-dream. You almost find yourself checking tree trunks for signs of fairies, resisting the urge to jump in puddles, and making wishes out of dandelions. Even the most cynical of adults would fail to fall victim to the spell.

Sharing my time with this mind-blowing landscape forced me to shrug off my stifling coat of conformity and simply be myself. I was walking hand in hand with the person I had almost forgotten to be. I was awakened, and my soul followed suit.

Quite often during our trip, we would pack our bags with a picnic, which we would relish half way through our lengthy walks, nestled somewhere between the forests and the coast. There is something quite thrilling about a mid-hike picnic. Rain sodden sandwiches tarnished with stray flecks of sand are part of the deal in the UK, and you know what? It only adds to the authenticity! Fleshly picked blackberries enhanced the flavour of the day, their tangy bitterness somewhat ruled out by the pride of souring and picking our own desserts straight from the trees!

One morning, we took a drive into a nearby town, enjoying the serene sights that walled the country lane ahead of us. We pulled over to catch a better glimpse of the sea from a particularly high spot en-route, and stumbled across a vast orchard adjacent to the cliffs. The lazy morning sun shone through the branches of the trees, the golden rays of its glow making patterns waltz underfoot. The scent of ripe, sweet apples drifted along the breeze, accompanied by the light buzz of the appreciative bees.
The time I spent walking around the orchard, lost in thought, was perhaps not as significant as my spectacular ride across the beach, but it is equally as memorable in terms of unrivalled serenity.

During our time in Pembrokeshire, we frequented a variation of dainty villages and towns, from Broad Haven to Tenby. Doused in a vibrant olde-worlde fishing village charm, Tenby was undeniably as pretty as it was wealthy in culture. With pastel-coloured houses rising above the coast, Tenby is a nostalgia-provoking location that posses the power to escort all of us back to care-free childhood afternoons spent on the timeless beaches of the UK.
A drive through Pembrokeshire will reveal a whole trove of hidden gem villages, quivering with the prospect of being uncovered.

Pembrokeshire ferociously ticks off the credentials for the most desirable trip. Combining pearly sands, twinkling seas, electrifying countryside, adorable towns, and endless adventures to be indulged and shared, this is what makes us so proud of our wondrously versatile United Kingdom.

Community

New health concerns over Withyhedge Landfill site emissions

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LEVELS of a potentially harmful gas emitted by the Withyhedge Landfill Site have been recorded above World Health Organization (WHO) guideline levels, according to a recent report. Public Health Wales (PHW) conducted a health risk assessment on air quality data collected between 1 March and 3 April 2024 in the surrounding area.

The data indicates that during March and April, hydrogen sulphide, a colourless gas with a distinctive “eggy” smell, exceeded the WHO’s odour annoyance guideline. PHW warns that exposure to such odours can cause symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, watery eyes, stuffy nose, irritated throat, cough or wheeze, sleep disturbances, and stress.

PHW stresses the importance of addressing the source of these offsite odours to mitigate potential health impacts on the local community. Despite an enforcement deadline passing last month, residents continue to report gas and odour issues in their homes daily.

“These are common reactions to unpleasant smells, and these effects should usually pass once the odour has dissipated,” PHW stated. “The long-term health risk is low.”

In response to the health risk assessment, PHW advises residents to keep doors and windows closed when the odours are present and seek medical advice if they feel unwell. However, they caution against blocking windows or vents completely, as these are crucial for ventilation and controlling dampness. Once the outdoor smell subsides, opening windows and doors can help eliminate any remaining odours inside.

Work to cap the landfill site has been completed, and PHW has welcomed plans to install static air monitoring equipment around the site to capture more detailed data. Dr. Sarah Jones, a consultant in environmental public health for PHW, acknowledged the stress and anxiety local residents are experiencing due to the odours. She emphasised the importance of resolving the issue swiftly and assured that the health risk assessment would be updated as new data becomes available.

Gaynor Toft, Chair of the Air Quality Group for the Multi-Agency Incident Management team, noted that the risk assessment from PHW is being used to refine and develop the air quality monitoring programme. Suitable locations for static monitoring equipment are being identified to ensure robust data collection for future assessments.

Huwel Manley of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) confirmed that NRW would continue to use its regulatory powers to drive improvements at the site and address the causes of the odour affecting the community. NRW had given RML, the company operating the landfill, until mid-May to undertake several remedial actions to control gas emissions.

The Pembrokeshire Herald has reached out to NRW for a detailed update on the current situation at the site. The community remains hopeful for a swift resolution to these ongoing health and environmental concerns.

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Community

Local projects benefit from Sustainable Development Fund grants

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SEVEN local projects have benefited from over £70,000 of funding through the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund supports community-led projects in and around the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park that contribute towards a reduction in carbon and help respond to the climate emergency.

In the latest round of funding, grants were awarded to Southern Roots Organics, Narberth Museum, and the Crymych Arms Community Pub to install Solar PV systems. Additionally, the Narberth and District Community and Sports Association received funding to upgrade their existing Solar PV system and improve the energy efficiency of their squash court lighting. As well as generating new low-carbon electricity and offsetting higher carbon grid electricity consumption, these projects will reduce ongoing electricity costs for these organisations.

Cosheston Community Hall was another beneficiary, receiving support from the Fund to construct a bike shed. This project aims to encourage more people to cycle to the Hall, promoting sustainable travel within the community.

In Marloes, SDF funding has paved the way for the village clock to be retrofitted with low-energy and Dark-Skies-friendly illumination, which will reduce both energy consumption and light pollution in the area.

The VC Gallery also received funding to upgrade to more energy-efficient windows and doors, which will create a warmer community space and contribute to lower carbon emissions.

Jamie Leatham from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority said: “These grants represent our continued commitment to addressing the Climate Emergency, supporting community-led projects that improve sustainability and reduce carbon emissions.”

“By funding initiatives like Solar PV installations, energy-efficiency upgrades, and sustainable transportation solutions, we are helping our communities to reduce emissions, generate their own low-carbon energy, and raise awareness to promote a greener, more resilient future for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.”

The Sustainable Development Fund consists of money allocated from the Welsh Government Sustainable Landscapes Sustainable Places Fund.

Further information can be found at www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/sustainable-development-fund.

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Teenage town crier rings in a new era for Tenby

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TENBY has ushered in a new era with the appointment of its first female town crier, Erin Morgan. At just 17, Erin is not only making history in the resort town but is also carrying on a family tradition, standing beside her father, Dai Morgan, who serves as the town mayor.

Erin, a student at Pembrokeshire College, is fulfilling a vision long held by the late John ‘Yobbler’ Thomas, one of Tenby’s most esteemed town criers, who believed that a young person should take up the iconic bell.

Erin’s inaugural engagement as town crier was a poignant one, accompanying her father to Tenby’s D-Day procession to Castle Hill. There, she opened the beacon lighting ceremony by reading the official D-Day International Tribute, marking a proud and memorable start to her tenure.

Adding to the occasion, former Yeoman of the Guard Spike Abbott made his debut as Sergeant at Arms, joining the mayoral party for the first time.

Erin’s appointment was confirmed at the recent town council meeting, where she spoke passionately about her love for Tenby and the significance of the town crier role in preserving local traditions.

Erin, who is also a young leader with Tenby Guides, expressed her desire to see greater youth involvement in the town’s activities. She hopes that her position will help foster a stronger sense of community and bring people together through the town council’s initiatives.

(Image: Gareth Davies Photography)

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