This is another day when I am walking on my own, Lynnie is not confident her back can cope with anything more than a gentle stroll. It has been a few days since I last walked more than a few miles, so the dogs and I leave Lynnie in peace at Woodstock CL.
The starting point for my walk is Wiseman’s Bridge; there is ample free parking here. The only problem is the minute the dogs smell the sea air they are pulling on their leads to reach the beach but our walk starts by walking easterly along the road towards the Wiseman’s Bridge Inn.
This pub is said to have been visited by Winston Churchill when he and other top war leaders visited the area to watch a rehearsal across the bay of Operation Jantzen part of the Normandy Invasion plan. On our travels we have encountered many pubs that Churchill or Eisenhower visited during the Second World War, I am sure it was part of rallying the troops by having a pint along the way. Nowadays when I see a political leader with a pint in his hand it is cringe making, one in particular comes to mind and I would find it difficult to enter a pub that boasted that he has once visited!
Passing the pub, (it is far too early in the day for me to contemplate venturing inside even if it is not tarnished with the Farage factor), I carry on uphill along the road until I come to a lane on the right (Cliff Road); this soon becomes a bridleway heading towards Amroth. I get the occasional view of the coastline through the trees.
After a mile the path descends into Amroth. This is a pleasant seaside village with a number of beachfront cafes doing a brisk trade on a sunny Saturday morning.
I continue alongside the beach until I reach the Amroth Arms and then turn left to follow the road past a car park and then on up the hill until I reach a tarmac driveway which forks to the left. This path is known as part of the Knights Way and heads towards Colby Woodland Gardens.
It is a pleasant stroll along the wide path through sunlit woodland and I soon see some of the fine trees in the Woodland Gardens, owned by the National Trust.
The path continues straight through the outside seating area of the National Trust tearoom and then through a gate onto a lane where I turn left and after crossing a bridge turn right up a bridleway.
This is another pleasant path; initially it is close by a stream but soon heads uphill through Craig-y-borion wood.
Passing through a gate I go through the farmyard of Craig-y-borion, although there is little obvious sign of the yard and outbuildings being used for farming. My route carries on along the farm drive before diverting left to go through hedgerow to reach the edge of the busy A477. Fortunately I do not have to wait too long before there is sufficient gap in the traffic to cross the road and join a tarmac lane on the far side.
Within a couple of hundred yards of leaving the main road it becomes a quiet country lane with hedgerows abounding with wildflowers.
After almost quarter of a mile the lane turns to the left and I follow it for over half a mile to reach another road junction at Longstone. Here I turn right and then soon take a turning on the left and for a while follow the Landsker Borderlands Trail along the road. After a quarter of a mile the trail heads off to the left but I stay on the road.
I don’t mind walking on roads like this, there is plenty to see in the hedgerow, I have not yet encountered a car and it is easy to cover ground quickly. I stay on the road until I reach Kilgetty Farm where the road veers to the left and I follow it to reach a bridge crossing the A477. Just before the bridge I stop to look over a gate at what appears to be part of an old colliery building, the map shows a proliferation of old mine shafts in this area.
After crossing, what turns out to be a very high bridge, the road descends towards Stepaside. At a fork in the road I take the right option and go under a road bridge then reach a notice board with details of the history of this village. According to the board “A local tale, difficult to substantiate, is that Oliver Cromwell on his march to Pembroke in 1648, ordered his men to step aside to take their victuals. This explains a modern inn sign” Somehow I seem to have missed this modern inn!
This area was once highly industrialised with local collieries at Stepaside, the Iron Works a few hundred yards further on built in 1849, the Grove Colliery on the hill above and mines and slate works at Kilgetty. It is therefore a bit odd that the area I am now entering is called Pleasant Valley.
I briefly stop to look at the ruins of the ironworks but do not linger long as I will return to explore with Lynnie.
My route through Pleasant Valley is along the tramway that heads to Wiseman’s Bridge and then onto Saundersfoot Harbour. The tranquility of this spot belies its industrial heritage and as I approach Wiseman’s Bridge there is a huge swathe of wild garlic on the left.
The hill to the right is covered in Bluebells. What a stunning spot. I definitely need to bring Lynnie here.
On reaching the road I cross the bridge and then wander down to the stream to look back at it, I assume this is the bridge that gives the village it’s name.
My little wander has covered just over seven miles, time to get back to the Coachman and see if Lynnie is ready to go out for a short stroll. I suggest a not too taxing wander around Colby Gardens, so for the second time today I find myself at Colby Woodland Gardens.
It is amazing to learn that these gardens were once the site of a coalmine. The estate was established by John Colby (1751-1823) who mined the area and built Colby Lodge in 1802.
The gardens developed after 1873 when a pharmacist from Stockport, Samuel Kay, purchased the estate as a holiday home. Later generations of his family put in water features and extended the woodland.
Miss Elidyr Mason purchased the estate in 1960 but sold the lodge and walled gardens to Peter and Pamela Chance in 1965, whilst retaining ownership of the woodland gardens and estate. On her death in 1979 she left the gardens and land to the National Trust.
Apparently Peter Chance (1910 – 1984) was the head of Christie’s auction house and he and his wife added further features including the summerhouse that stands in the walled gardens.
The Chance’s gave Colby Lodge and gardens to the National Trust in 1980; there is a memorial to Peter Chance on the hill to the east whilst across the valley there is another to his wife.
An hour wandering around is enough for Lynnie, hopefully she will be restored to full fitness soon!
To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer Map OL36 South Pembrokeshire
6th May 2017
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2017)