Guest blog by Children’s Author; Nigel Bernard.
Go back in time nearly 3000 years and imagine a coastal promontory with an iron-age defensive settlement overlooking inlets where boats are moored. Then fast-forward to the nineteenth century – the settlement has long gone and small dams have been constructed to turn the inlets into lakes teeming with fish. Now return to the present-day and head to Bosherston in South Pembrokeshire to visit this amazing place where history and wildlife meet the sea.
The walk begins in the National Trust car park in the village. A short downhill path takes you through the trees to the first of the lakes. The lakes, also known as the Bosherston Lily Ponds, are just one part of the Stackpole Estate owned by the National Trust. There is a path to the right running the length of the lake but I like to turn left to a narrow bridge with a handrail which crosses the lake. In winter the water may well be lapping over the edge along parts of the bridge so it is important to hold on to the rail. When I get to the middle of the bridge I usually stop and look to the left as there is often a heron on a branch lording it over the upper part of the lake as he looks out for fish.
Once across the bridge the path goes to the right, gradually increasing in height and giving ever widening vistas of the lake. Along the way there is a signed path which goes up to the site of the iron-age settlement, known today as the Fishpond Camp. But I usually stay on the lakeside path until it reaches a rocky outcrop overlooking the lake. Even in winter, without the lilies, this is a spectacular view. This is a good time to look out for swans and ducks and it may even be possible to see fish, such as pike, gliding beneath the surface.
The walk now descends to another bridge which crosses another arm of the water. After this you soon arrive at a wide stone bridge known as the Grassy Bridge. To the left can be seen the stretch of water known as the Eastern Arm. On one memorable occasion here I saw a kingfisher in the distance, resting quietly on a branch by the lake.
Once across the grassy bridge the path becomes sandy and the sound of the sea can soon be heard. The lake drains into the sea under a small stone bridge. Once across this you find yourself on Broadhaven South beach. This is a great beach to clear the cobwebs and ideal for children to run off some of their energy. At the far end on the right, a scramble across some rocks leads to a short tunnel carved out by the sea. At low tide it is possible to pass through this tunnel, crouching as you go and stepping gingerly across the pools of water.
To return I usually walk back along the path on the other side of the lake. This has no bridges and remains at the level of the lake throughout.
This is a great walk and a ‘must’ if you visit south Pembrokeshire.
Photo credit: Nigel J Bevans Photography.