Dale to St. Brides
As sunny as the previous day but with a constant strong wind so this cooled down the temperature quite a bit and made it more bearable to walk. Caught the same bus as the previous day and met the same Charlie – a young lad who goes to Dale as many days as he can when he's on holiday with his parents at the adjacent campsite. Had the same changeover of buses at Marloes – seems to generate quite a lot of milling around but it gets sorted in the end. There were quite a few passengers on the bus as well looked as though quite a few were going walking. Got off at Dale and stopped at the very busy café to get a drink. The first 6 miles is round the headland and then you end up at West Dale Beach which is literally half a mile from the back of Dale. We started off on a road though a wood but this was the only time we went through any kind of shade like this on the whole of the walk as most of it was exposed cliff top or low level grass and shrubs.
On the walk to West Dale Beach one of the places we came across was St. Annes Head. We stopped at a plaque on a large stone plinth which told you that here was the bay that Henry Tudor had landed with his troops who then went on to drum up more support on the way through Wales and fought against Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and ended up being crowned Henry VII. At this point a guy came past carrying driftwood for his winter fire stocks and he told us quite a bit more about the history. St. Annes Head is a very strategic position at the end of Milford Haven inlet and is notorious for shipwrecks. It has had a lighthouse since the early 1800s. He now lives in one of the original lighthouse keepers houses. There is also a new lighthouse the old one has been converted into a holiday cottage complete with lookout room instead of lamp – it looks as though it would be fantastic to stay in. There is a precipitous stairway down to a cove which used to be the only way to get supplies to the lighthouse. There is also a large walled garden which now apparently is home to a family of foxes. Over the years as one set of lighthouse keepers cottages fell into disrepair they simply built another set so there were 3 sets of cottages built altogether and they have now all been done up and are privately owned. The guy himself works in London and commutes weekly back to St. Annes Head on a Friday evening and early Monday morning(sets off at 3.30am to arrive at work by 10.30 am!).
We had lunch at West Dale Beach after this we went past a very large old airfield – all that seemed to be left was the concrete landing and taxiing strips, but there were some massive groups of foxgloves, never seen them in such profusion! The path itself was straightforward just a few places where it went down then up. The next place of interest was Marloes Sands which is quite long and full of people then onto Martins Head where we went round the perimeter and there is also a car park (where the 400 bus goes to) a shop and toilets. Once again with the proximity of a car park the path was quite crowded. From here we went past another beautiful looking beach and round the back of St. Brides Castle and onto ST. Brides Bay. We were an hour and a half early for the bus so sat at some benches looking out to sea to while away the time. We were joined by an elderly couple who brought their tea with them. We got into conversation with them and they told us quite a bit about the history of the area and he was very knowledgeable about where ships were wrecked. They say that St. Brides was their favourite place to come and have tea on a sunny evening and then they were going onto St. Annes Head. He also suggested we go and look at the Pump House on our way up to the bus stop which we did. The pump house was a small house currently used by a pair of house martins but originally used to house the pump that pumped water from a spring into a reservoir for St. Brides Castle. There were also a number of descriptions about the castle and what it had been used for over the years, certainly very interesting and well worth the visit.
The bus stop was only a short distance up the hill and while we were waiting a kind guy came past and offered us a lift so we were back at the campsite 15 minutes earlier than we should have been.