During St David’s Day weekend it was quite apt that we visited Mill Bay, where Henry Tudor invaded and so began the journey to Bosworth, during which time the current welsh flag began. As with most of our Pembrokeshire days out, it wasn’t planned, we jumped in the car, headed west and this is where we ended up. Read on to find out all about Mill Bay and to see our coats gifted from Lighthouse Clothing:
When we left the house the sky was blue and the sun was shining but by the time we arrived the sky had greyed and it poured and hailed continuously. We laughed as we sat in the car in the pouring rain with the kids moaning as usual at being dragged our for fresh air and exercise- a typical Sunday family day out then! At least we could enjoy the view of Skokholm Island. Skomer Island can be seen from nearby too.
After a while, the rain eased and a rainbow appeared, giving us hope we’d have a good afternoon after all.
Sid wanted to explore the cold hail!
Visiting Mill Bay, Pembrokeshire
Once again we parked in Kete car park (SA62 3RR). It’s free and there are lots of spaces. This car park is owned and looked after by the National Trust and also happens to be one of the best stargazing sites in Pembrokeshire. We still haven’t got around to coming here on a clear night to stargaze. To extend your walk you could park in Dale (SA62 3RB).
Kete to St Ann’s Head
The first part of the walk is along a narrow road from Kete to St Ann’s Head. The skies were blue once more but it was still very windy! You could follow signs for the coastal path to the lighthouse too. We’ll take this route on a calmer day. Kete has it’s own interesting military history to learn about if that interests you.
We saw lots of daffodils on our drive to Kete and during our walk.
The strong wind carried the sea foam up to us so it appeared to snow.
Look closely and you’ll see the flying seafoam- it was quite difficult to capture in a photograph.
St Ann’s Head
As we walked along the road, Dave told us that his Grampy, who we heartbreakingly lost very recently, used to take him to the old lighthouse when it was the Coastguard Station (and he was an officer). It made me glad we’d come to visit here once more. I’ll have to scan the original photos of Dave, Uncle Andy and Great Grampy at the Coastguard Station one day.
St Ann’s Lighthouse
In 1714, Trinity House oversaw the building of two new lighthouses on St Ann’yyyus Head, these consisted of a taller ‘high light’ and a ‘low light’ 200 metres away
The ‘high light’ was decommissioned in 1910. Just before the Second World War, its lantern was removed and a concrete observation room added on the top of the structure, after which it became the Milford Haven Fire Command Headquarters. During the war, it acted as the Royal Navy’s Port War Signal Station, with the role of identifying any warships or submarines approaching Milford Haven. After the war, it became the Coastguard Station, as Dave remembers it. It is now used for holiday accommodation under the name The Keeper’s View- Lighthouse and Cottage. The accommodation sleeps ten so would make a great family getaway. The pool looks amazing with views of the sea.
There are a number of routes to explore in this area. It was too rough to take the kids to Cobbler’s Hole View Point on this occasion but I’ll try and take photos on a calmer day.
Sid loves puddles and mud, which means he fits in very well in this house! I’d love to find a safe pool of water to see if he can swim as gets straight in any water he finds. The kids want to take him on our kayak in the summer and we do have a dog life jacket as Dave sells them at work but I’m not sure how he’d find that!
Then we got to the “low light”, this was rebuilt in 1841 under the supervision of John Knott, the senior lighthouse keeper with Trinity House. This is the modern functioning lighthouse, the last remaining shore-based lighthouse in Pembrokeshire. It was converted to mains electricity in 1958, and automated in 1998.
Looking out to the sea, Dave pointed out the Mid Channel Rock Lighthouse Beacon to the kids. As well as guiding ships safely away from the mid-channel rocks it also has a remote weather monitoring station installed on it.
Our Lighthouse Clothing Coats
Lighthouse Clothing kindly sent us some coats to review. It was completely unintentional that we ended up photographing them next to a lighthouse but their brand name fits and the coats were perfectly suited to the wild coastal weather.
I (Claire) wear/s: Lauren Coat in Blackcurrant Floral
Rebecca wears: Florence Coat – Night Sky
Isabelle wears: Amy Coat- Blue Floral
The coats look great. Rebecca went for a plain navy so she can wear hers to school. I love the blackcurrant floral print on my coat and blue floral on Izzy’s. They’re all very warm and waterproof too.
Sometimes cattle are grazing on this island but no cows were to be seen during this visit. I’m not sure what Sid would have thought of them!
We continued our walk, passing the farmers fields.
We passed the plaque explaining about Henry Tudor’s landing at Mill bay in 1485.
The views are gorgeous- just look at the sprawling hills, rugged cliffs and blue skies.
The kids ran down to the beach ahead of us, they couldn’t wait to get to the sea.
The route to the beach is scenic too, although not one of the easiest beaches in Pembrokeshire to access (we are lucky to have lots of accessible beaches too!).
Mill Bay is a small, secluded beach, I’ve yet to share it with anyone during our visits but we do see people pass by on the coastal path during the summer months. Mill Bay still has the remains of HMS BARKING (Steamship ), a Boom Defence Vessel, wrecked on March 1964 while being towed to a breakers yard in Swansea. The vessel broke away from the tug. Part of the wreck was removed in 1974 but the rest is still visible at low tide.
Sid and the kids enjoyed exploring the rocks. The girls looked for crabs and other creatures.
As I mentioned in our previous post, there are a number of circular walks in this area but we chose to make our way back. If you continue along the coastal path you would get to West Blockhouse Fort and then Watwick Bay, which is a lovely small, sandy beach.
The girls had cheered up and had lots of fun on the beach but when it was time to head home they fell out over who’s turn it was to walk the dog, so we had moody faces once more until we sorted that issue- the joys of siblings!
The route is great for spotting marine traffic, we saw the pilot boat and tankers.
We walked back past the old walled gardens.
And back across the fields.
We arrived at the lighthouses once more. Izzy was getting tired so we started setting small goals to aim for to help the walk pass more quickly.
The last stretch of our walk took us back up the long narrow road.
We looked out for fawn and flora to make the road more interesting. We found more daffodils and other wildflowers.
We also found holes and animal homes in the hedgerow. We didn’t let Sid near these as he loves rabbits!
Overall, despite the effort getting out we had a lovely day and can’t wait to come there again. We have lots more routes to explore and want to just lay here and watch the stars one night too! It seems we may not have as much freedom in the next coming months so I hope we all get to enjoy unlimited fresh air and time outdoors again soon!
Stay safe and well everyone xxx
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