When we first went into Lockdown, I thought it would be a good chance to catch up on publishing the holidays and days out posts that I hadn’t yet found the time to write up. Instead, I’ve found it hard to write anything on the blog at all. This is mainly because I don’t have a second spare or alone at the moment so it’s hard to find the time and energy to write and partly because it’s still quite strange and painful to look back at photos from “pre coronavirus” days. It’s a reminder of how life has changed and how we’ve changed. It seems like a world away.
Our last family day out before all of this was a walk in West Angle with the two younger girls. It was the 8th March 2020, so Rebecca was in France (which I still find hard to believe) and Danny was with Holly in Pembroke. I’d most likely dragged everyone out as usual with the promise that “fresh air and a walk” would do us good. I expect we drove to a few places until we found and decided on somewhere quiet enough to take Sid. Eventually, we found ourselves in West Angle, a place so close to our home as the crow flies across the sea but a little bit further by road. We parked in the large and (at the time) free carpark (Sat nav: SA71 5BB).
We spotted some dogs off leads playing on the beach, so decided it was best to take Sid along the coastal path instead. It would be so much easier to have a dog who likes other dogs!
Anyway, it was a lovely, puddly walk with stunning views of the beach and waterway.
West Angle Bay Beach
It’s a good beach for surfing.
We love West Angle Bay all year round but especially in the summer. We’ve spent many a sunny day there with a picnic, bucket and spade and bodyboards or inflatables. As my dad would always remind me, the sea here is known for its strong currents so always take care.
There’s is a cafe- Wavecrest Cafe, above the beach and toilets. It tends to stay open later when the beach is busy. Nearby, in the village, there are also two pubs.
West Angle Coastal Path
We continued on with our walk along the path to the right of West Angle Bay.
It’s been so long since I’ve been on a nice path, surrounded by hedges.
Sid enjoyed the views too! As you can imagine, it’s every exposed here and the wind picked up. We could hardly hear each other speak. I kept reminding the girls and Sid to keep in from the edge in case they were blown off (I’m such a worrier!)!
From this part of the walk, you can see Dale Peninsula and Thorne Island. We were unintentionally standing completely opposite the place we’d walked the week before, Mill Bay.
On this occasion, it was a pretty muddy walk! Izzy had the right idea wearing her wellies!
Thorne Island is a rocky islet with an area of 2 acres, on top of the island is one of Pembrokeshire’s twelve coastal artillery forts. This one was built to defend the Milford Haven Waterway in the mid-19th century. It has been the site of a number of shipwrecks, including one in 1894 that was carrying a cargo of Scotch whisky.
The fort was converted into a hotel in 1947 and was sold in 1999 for £275,000. In 2001 it was owned by the Von Essen hotel group who intended spending four million pounds to reopen the hotel with a five star rating and a cable car to allow access from the mainland. In 2001 a competition was successfully held to find a family who would serve as caretakers for a year. The island was put up for sale again with a price tag now of £750,000.The island was finally sold in November 2011 for ‘significantly less’ than the guide price.
The fort became a Grade II Listed Building in 1996, because it was “a well-preserved fort of Palmerston’s Haven defences”.
A businessman, Mike Conner bought the Island in 2017. You can see some fascinating photos of the interior of the fort from 2018 here: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/inside-amazing-fort-welsh-island-15367353 . There are also videos on Youtube showing bands playing on the island in the 90s.
More “Going on a Bear Hunt” style squelching mud.
The highlight of the walk is a (not so) secret high tide lagoon. I really wished I’d bought our bathers or even towels. We planned to come back here one night for a swim and a fire.
It looked so inviting and there is even a slipway for easy access.
Imagine the view here at sunset.
While we didn’t swim on this occasion, the girls had fun playing on the rocks.
This was the closest I got to the sea on this occasion and strangely the last time I went into the sea. Usually, at this time of year, I’d go in at least once a day. I am planning to rectify that!
Me and the girls and Sid!
If we’d continued along the walk we would have seen views of Milford Haven. The walk eventually leads to Chapel Bay Fort a military fort, museum and cafe. This would be interesting to visit in the future. Further on you would reach Angle Lifeboat Station.
On the way home we stopped at Llanion Cove to give Sid another little runaround. We used to stop here quite a lot whenever travelling home from Pembroke way.
We also popped in to see Great Granny on the way home (after taking all our muddy shoes off first!), which was lovely as always.
Popping around to see family and having hugs and contact is something we used to take for granted as well.
It’s lovely that we can see family now at a distance outdoors. We’re looking forward to the school term ending so we have more spare time to spend with everyone (still outdoors and social distancing at the moment). The five-mile travel rule has also been lifted so we can go out more and I could blog current days out again. The “new normal”. Will we forever have an ache in our hearts for life as it used to be? As Dan’s still shielding and we’re still shielding him, we’re still being extra cautious. I’m watching the statistics very carefully now more people can travel down here again too. But we definitely want to get out more again in the summer holidays.
I hope you’re all safe and well. Where was your last carefree day out pre COVID19 and Lockdown? Are you getting out and about now? How are you feeling about it?