I love taking the kids to Monk Haven. I don’t like driving there however as it involves at least half a mile of a very narrow two way road. If you meet a car, there is no choice but to reverse, if you come across a group of hikers you have to slowly creep behind them until the road widens and there is room to pass.
However, this is no hardship as the walk from nearby St Ishmaels village is so pretty, that I would recommend walking there anyway as part of the day out. I park by the recycling amenities at the Cricket Club, walk through the village and down to Monk Haven. The village is so pretty, the villagers take pride in their blooming gardens and they always grow amazing poppies!
When you pass the family and dog friendly pub, The Brook Inn, you will see a stream flowing alongside it. Make sure you take a good look, it is full of pond (well stream!) life all through the year and what do we find at this time of year?…tadpoles! I have been hearing holiday makers say that “back home” there are not so many tadpoles this year due to the late cold weather we have had. In Pembrokeshire, we seem to have caught up as I have found lots of tadpoles this year. This stream flows all the way down to Monk Haven, where we were headed.
It’s a good place to stop and have a water break.
We looked after them and put them back into their pond ready to turn into frogs. We may come and look for them again in a few weeks!
After the stream you pass some more houses and then find yourself at the path towards Monk Haven carpark. Ses how narrow the path is. I wouldn’t mind if it was for a short distance but it’s a very long road (if you would even call it that!).
Far nicer and easier to walk it.
Or skip or run it!
Our next stop was the pretty Monk Haven Church. Sometimes we are lucky and visit when it is covered in flowers for a wedding.
On some visits, especially in the colder weather, we stop inside the Church and have a look around. We sometimes buy some books and put money in the honesty box.
As it was such a nice day, we sat down on the Church Yard picnic bench and ate our lunch. The kids couldn’t wait until we got to the beach to eat as we normally do! It is a handy stop as there is a fresh water tap to refill water bottles.
We are also once again beside the stream that flows to Monk Haven. The pretty little bridge provides inspiration for many games. I do wish that Danny and Caitlyn would be patient and take their shoes off before paddling in streams as they always end up walking in sopping wet shoes recently!
Rebecca and cousin Cerys stay dry on the bridge.
After a play in the Church Yard- where we spotted lots of bamboo growing- it was on with our walk to the beach.
On the walk to the beach we pass old ruins, a vicarage and a field of wild garlic. I love the smell.
Then we reach the beach. It is unusual in that the old monastery wall and arch way still stand across the beach.
It is a pebbly beach with the stream finally running into the sea. I love walking barefeet through the ice cold stream. It wakes me up and makes me feel alive! It is not a sandy, sandcastle and paddling beach. It’s more of a rock climbing, exploring and barbecue with friends one!
On the beach we find skeletons, bones, shells, pebbles, fossils, beach glass, rope and driftwood.
We climb the rocks. Danny goes so far and high, I’m relieved when he climbs safely back to me. We watch dogs swimming in the sea and jumping on the rocks looking like seal pups rather than the canine kind.
Therr is another bridge behind the wall by the beach. Danny immediately is under the bridge playing damning the stream or other games.
Jo and I lied down on the bridge. It was so relaxing listening to the stream bubbling below us.
When we opened the eyes and looked up this was the view.
After the beach, we walk on up a different path until we reach a clearing in the woods. As the sun twinkles through the gaps in the trees, it always reminds me of the clearing scene in Twilight.
We spend time playing on the rope swings there. There used to just be one- now there are three!
Jo wanted a photo of the kids by the blue bells. It took a while but eventually we rounded up just two children who would only have their photos taken with their eyes closed! Their pose did make me laugh.
Rebecca made a Dock Leaf anklet bandage for her nettle stings. I am also covered in nettle stings this time of year now I’m baring my legs again.
After the swings we rollercoastered down the steep hill to head back to the Church.
We retraced our steps, back to the Church, refilled our water bottles. Back to the tadpoles for another sit/lie down. Then eventually back up to the Cricket Club.
There are toilets and a lovely park there too. We didn’t have time for the park on this occasion so I’ve promised them a special trip to St Ishmaels just to play in the park.
If you are planning to visit Monk Haven, the Brook Inn have really detailed directions with photos on their site. I have more photos in my Google Plus Monk Haven album.
Have you looked for tadpoles yet this year? I hope everyone is enjoying the sun this weekend!
Thank you to Jo for leting me use her photos when my battery went!