Camping in Pembrokeshire

Well, it turns out that my fears were confirmed. It rained for most of the week. But despite this, we had a good time and I took quite a few pictures that I like. Some of these were also taken on my phone.

The campsite

We stayed at Rosebush Camping & Caravan park. It’s an adults-only site in a tiny village with a small lake and beautiful scenery. When we arrived it was sunny and dry (although the ground was wet from recent rain). After setting up the tent, we took a leisurely walk around the site.

Our pitch
Lily pond

A tiny toad – barely a centimetre in length. There were hundreds of these hopping around in the wet grass. We also saw a handful of large adult toads.

A tiny frog
Foxgloves

A view across the Preseli hills

The view over the valley

The friendly campsite cat.

The campsite cat

Llys-y-Fran dam

There is a large dam and reservoir near the village of Llys-y-fran. The reservoir perimeter walk is approximately 8 miles, and due to the intermittent rain we decided not (couldn’t be bothered) to walk around it. We simply walked around the dam area instead.

Last time I saw the dam, probably 12 years ago, it was possible to walk along the top of the dam, as far as the round tower. It’s no longer permitted due to “falling debris”. The pumping station at the bottom used to run, too. This made a huge plume of water and a noise like the end of the world. The pump was turned off on this occasion 🙁 I still managed some nice photos of water spilling down the slipway, though.

Llys-y-Fran dam
Llys-y-Fran dam
Water streaming down the dam

Tenby & Caldey Island

We took a day trip to the seaside town of Tenby. To start with the conditions were OK, but not quite beach weather, so we walked around town and saw the sights.

This is St Catherine’s Island. As you see here, it’s an island at high tide, but connected to the beach when the tide goes out. It has a fort which was completed in 1870. According to Wikipedia

St. Catherine’s Fort has four main bedrooms, 16 turret rooms and an old banquet hall with a life size statue of Queen Victoria and an old, half-broken suit of armour. In the basement there is an old armoury which used to hold 444 barrels of gunpowder. At one time the fort was used as a zoo.

St Catherine’s Fort
Tenby harbour

Then it started raining on and off, so we decided to take a boat trip to nearby Caldey Island, some 20 minutes by boat. However being in an open boat isn’t much fun in the rain, and Hana has the scowl to prove it.

Hana on the boat

Once on the island, the heavens opened and we ran for cover. I tried to take photos of rain. It’s pretty hard because as soon as you get the camera close enough to the splashing puddles, you get water on the lens and lose the ability to focus.

Rain

After a few minutes, it cleared up and we had a look round the island. There is hardly anything there – apparently the island was and still is inhabited by Cistercian monks. There are several churches and other religious buildings, a post office, and shops that sell chocolate, fudge and perfume made by the monks.

Caldey Island monastery
A carving in a church on Caldey Island
A stained glass window

By the time we returned to the mainland, the tide had gone out from Tenby harbour.

Tenby harbour

Oakwood theme park

On Wednesday the weather looked like it might be good all day, so we gambled on a day out at Oakwood theme park. The gamble paid off, and it was hot and sunny all day.

I didn’t take my camera as I didn’t want to be carrying excess baggage around, but I have scanned in the obligatory photo taken while we were riding Megafobia, a large wooden rollercoaster.

Megafobia


Night time

After we got back from Oakwood, we were in such high spirits from the good weather that we didn’t go into the tent for ages. I took these photos on the campsite. It’s not often I get to play with long exposures at night, mainly because urban Bristol is well lit after dark. These photos were exposed for 4 and 30 seconds respectively.

Our tent at night
A tree at night

The last day

From 9am Thursday to 9am Friday (when we started packing to leave) it rained continuously, without even a minute’s respite. Our tent, being a cheap one from Tesco began to leak and by the time we woke up on Friday, was one or two inches deep in water. The area around the tent became a lake.

Hana was up before me, and from my lazy position still in bed, with my phone camera, this was the view of the groundsheet inside the tent, and the puddle outside.

The view as I woke up

By the time Hana had figured out how to get my camera out of long-exposure mode from the night before, the puddle had soaked in and diminished a bit – but it was still too big to jump over from a standing start.

The flood

As we were packing up to leave, a couple near us attempted to leave and tow their caravan home, but their car was stuck in the wet grass. We offered to give them a push; alas I got sprayed with wet grass from the spinning wheels. That’s the last time I offer to help anyone!

Covered in water

Speaking to the elderly owner of the campsite upon departure, he said he had lived in the area since he was born and had run the campsite for nearly 50 years, and yet had never seen such a severe rainstorm. Just our luck!

9 Comments

  1. July 20, 2009
    Reply

    Hi Jonathan
    Have received a link to your site via my Google Alerts. I’m Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire Tourism and would love to use your blog as a link to our members and also some of your pics, via my e newsletter. I keep going onto our members (520 in Pembrokeshire all front facing tourism providers) that they need to give everyone on hols a fab time, no matter what the weather, as often this is very low on visitors priority list, your blog shows that its certainly the experience and not the climate that keeps you coming. If you could e mail me above that would be great.

    Best regards
    Alison Belton

  2. Beth
    July 27, 2009
    Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    I wrok in the digital dept in Visit Wales
    A friend just e-mailed me a link to your blog. I think its fantastic, lovely images and a nice open friendly writing style.

    You should enter this http://blog.visitwales.co.uk/623/wales-in-words-the-visit-wales-blog-competition/

    Just e-mail you blog to marketing@visitwales.co.uk and we’ll send you a piece of code. There’s a lovely 5 star prize for three night here http://www.walesinstyle.com/places_to_stay/cardiff/holm_house.aspx

    Hope you enter.

    Regards
    Beth

  3. Matthew C. Kriner
    January 13, 2010
    Reply

    Hi from Ireland, good post, deserves a Digg.

  4. April 11, 2010
    Reply

    Hi Jonathan, I see a photo of the camp ground at Rosebush here, I was in the Tafarn Sinc last weekend. It’s the best pub in Wales I think. I dare say you went in there too. Great photos, Chris

  5. April 11, 2010
    Reply

    Hi Chris,

    Yes we did indeed go into the Tafarn Sinc, mainly to dry out from all the rain. The food was excellent and I enjoyed the locally-brewed bitter, although its name escapes me.

    Thanks for comment on my photos. I’ve just had a look at your website, too. There’s some fantastic work on there!

    Cheers,
    Jonathan

  6. Hilary
    April 12, 2010
    Reply

    Just come back from Pembrokeshire – tracing ancestors. Looked at a possible cottage to buy at Rosebush but it is right next to the caravan park. Can anyone let us know what the caravan park is like and how busy it gets in summer. Is it quiet at night? Many thanks. Pub great and within walking distance. Scenery amazing. Hope someone can give us some more info on the camp site.

    • April 12, 2010
      Reply

      Hi Hilary,

      The campsite was almost deserted while we were there. It’s adults only so there shouldn’t be any problems with children. I imagine it would be a pretty quiet place to live.

      Jonathan

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