Stackpole is both a listed, designed landscape and an internationally important nature reserve. Footpaths radiate from the site of Stackpole Court, a grand mansion demolished before the National Trust owned the area. Exotic plantings in Lodge Park give way to mixed woodland further upstream. The famous Bosherston Lakes were created 200 years ago to provide a backdrop to Stackpole Court. They have evolved into a wildlife habitat famous for its otters, water birds and dragonflies. Cliffs, sand dunes and tiny coves alternate along eight miles of coastline. Barafundle is a jewel of a beach set between limestone cliffs and backed by dunes and woods. This secluded bay can only be reached by a cliff path walk from Stackpole Quay, with steep steps at either end. Stackpole Quay itself is a tiny harbour used by local fishermen and small pleasure boats. Broadhaven South, at the foot of the Bosherston Lakes, is another safe family bathing beach while Freshwater West, a few miles west of the main estate, is Wales's premier surfing beach.
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About the area
Wales meets the Atlantic Ocean in spectacular fashion at Pembrokeshire. Unlike the West Country, Pembrokeshire can offer the coast without the crowds, and quaint fishing villages without those huge coach parks. Volcanic eruptions and earth movements have left a tortured rocky coastline of some 160 miles, whose beauty and drama have been recognised by National Park status.
Sometimes known as ‘Little England Beyond Wales’, the county has held a fascination for English visitors ever since the first Norman warlords forced their way in 800 years ago, leaving a string of 50 fine castles in their wake. The anonymous author of The Mabinogion, an 11th-century collection of Welsh folk legends, started it all. His description of the old Celtic kingdom of Dyfed (which encompasses Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire) as ‘the land of magic and enchantment’ was perhaps the earliest written attempt to sum up the outstanding natural beauty of this wonderful westernmost outpost of Wales. This is a county where you can take it easy on the sandy beaches, make sport out of those Atlantic waves, or discover the mysteries of St David’s or the ancient Preseli Hills.
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