On Sunday we enjoyed a family day together. Now the kids are older, it’s getting harder to arrange days out when all six of us are free at the same time as the older kids want to spend their free time with their friends so we make the most of the opportunity when we can. We jumped into the car, popped to the shop for food and decided to go to one of our favourite places, Bosherston Lily Ponds. It’s a beautiful place to visit all year around, but we tend to go out of season when it’s quieter. Read on for more snapshots of our time at Bosherston Lily Ponds, Pembrokeshire.
Visiting Bosherston Lily Ponds
To get to Bosherston, follow signs towards Pembroke, then Stackpole and Bosherston. The Sat Nav for Bosherston Car Park is SA71 5DN. There is plenty of parking available but it does fill up quickly during the school and Bank Holidays. During Peak Season it costs £5 a day to park, but out of season it is donation only and is well worth it!
Next to the car park there are picnic benches, toilets and visitor information so you can prepare before starting your walk.
We ate our lunch first so we wouldn’t have to carry a heavy bag around. There was a glorious autumnal light, it’s such a picturesque picnic area.
As we packed our picnic away the kids looked to see what was growing in the nearby fields and climbed the trees.
We spotted some coal fungus (also known as King Arthur’s Cakes!) which Danny collected to dry out and use as tinder for our next camp fire.
About Bosherston Lily Ponds
Although it is called Bosherston Lily Pond, it is not really a pond, instead it’s an artificial lake built by the Campbell family of Stackpole in the 1760s. They dammed the valleys running down to the coast. The dams created long , slender lakes perfect for growing water lilies and a habitat for otters.
The Bosherston Lily Ponds Trail
It was time to begin our walk. On paper, the walk around the lily ponds is only a mile long and should take about half an hour but we tend to go off course and explore the full breadth of the beach making the walk longer. We could spend a whole day there.
The walk is dog friendly and we met lots of lovely dogs being walked along the way like the lovely Ozzy above- great name! We even came across some dogs (and owners) that we knew from our town.
Bosherston Lily Ponds Causeway
When I was younger I was terrified of crossing the causeways. Looking back I’m sure they didn’t used to have a rail one side but I’m not sure if that’s true! Also, they were often busy so you had to pass other families. Nowadays I find people tend to wait until the path is clear and thankfully I enjoy this walk as an adult and my fearless kids have never been wary of it!
The views from the causeway are stunning. In June and July the lakes are carpeted with white lilies. I love listening to the sound of the lapping water as we walk across. If you’re lucky you may spot an otter or two.
Once safely across the bridge the country path continues. It’s a great walk for bird spotting.
The second causeway takes you over the Fish Pond part of the lakes.
Look down and you can still see the lily pads now underwater. Due to the recent heavy rain and high tides the causeways have been flooded so only accessible with high wellies! I’m glad they were just about clear for us on our visit.
I turned around to enjoy the view from behind and I’m so glad I did. Together, the winter sun and the water made reflected rainbows all over the bridge. It was such a pretty, atmospheric light. Although the lakes are artificial, over time nature has claimed them and apart from the man made causeway it feels a very real and authentic place- “Artificial lakes, natural wonderland”!
We chose to take the path to Broad Haven (beach) but have already planned to choose the Higher Path on our next visit.
On the Grassy Bridge the kids apparently practised mindfulness! It wasn’t as serene in real life and just part of some game they were playing!
Bosherston Lily Ponds are a beautiful home for a bevy of swans to live. We spotted a plump of Moor Hens too.
Rebecca enjoyed photographing the wildlife and landscape views.
At one point Rebecca felt Danny was leaving her out of their game with the girls. It can be difficult to get all four kids to get along and be happy at the same time. I had a word with Danny and the younger girls but of course it’s not as simple as just letting someone back in the game when they’re feeling hurt and isolated, especially when they feel they are only being invited back in because the adults said so.
So Dave and Rebecca went off on a mini adventure up the mountain to find the Victorian Monument erected in 1881.
As we continued along our path to Broad Haven Beach, when I glanced backwards I could see the duo making their way up the hill. I would have liked to explore in this direction too but it was important for Rebecca to have some special time (away from the siblings!).
The visit to the special stone monument and a chat with her dad cheered her up and they soon came back to rejoin us. Rebecca visited here previously on a school visit so she knew lots of information about the Campbell’s.
From the bridge you can also walk to the Devil’s Quoit, a standing stone erected about 5000 years ago. However we were conscious of the time and finishing our walk before it got dark so we continued to the beach as the kids like to spend time playing there.
While I again stuck to the main path, the kids chose a higher one and did give me a few scares. From my angle it looked like they were getting close to the cliff edges above Broad Haven Beach. From their angle they could see that there was actually a safe (although steep!) path directly down to the bay and two of them decided to go this way. We didn’t realise they were already on the beach safe so I had a brief panic until I heard them calling to me!
Broad Haven South Beach
We all eventually arrived at Broad Haven South Beach safe (not to be confused with Broad Haven Beach further South West in Pembrokeshire).
The kids like to play in the clean stream emptying the lily ponds. Izzy was the only sensible one with wellies on during this visit!
Broad Haven South is a wide sandy bay backed with sand dunes. There are lots of caves to explore and plenty of soft sand to play on. During the summer it’s a lovely spot for a paddle but be aware that Broad Haven South has strong currents. You can park in Broad Haven South Car park but many find the walk from Bosherston longer but more accessible.
A Circular Route Around Bosherston Lily Ponds
From the beach you can continue your walk now on the other side of Bosherston Lily Ponds as this is a circular walk.
More “meditation” from the kids. If only they were really as “Zen” as they look!
Every time Rebecca tried to take a photo of the graceful swan it ducked into the water it’s head to look for food which eventually had her in hysterics. She kept missing the shots while the swan was upright so instead has lots of interesting “swan bum in the air” shots!
From the other side of the lakes we could see the Victorian monument that Dave and Rebecca had walked to.
At last, we had reached the end of the walk before it turned dark (although it was dark by the time we drove home). If you haven’t been before we would recommend a walk around Bosherston Lily Ponds. There are tearooms- “Ye Olde World Cafe” for refreshments before you head home or you could also visit “The Little Chapel”, St Govans or beautiful Barafundle Bay for a longer day out.
Have you visited Bosherston Lily Ponds before?
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