Matt Thompson, Ranger Mid Pembrokeshire and his favourite Pembrokeshire place.
Just a short walk from the National Trust car park and I am on the Deer Park headland, the most westerly point of the Marloes peninsula. There are no Deer here, it’s just a name inherited from days of old.Autumn and winter here are special for me; the hustle and bustle of the summer season is left behind, and there just seems to be a little more time in the day to reflect, appreciate and take in what is actually happening on and around this wonderful place. From sea birds to porpoise, from chough to peregrine and from cattle and Welsh mountain ponies to grey seals.
My preferred route onto the Deer Park is the path at the bottom of the National Trust car park that heads south along a field edge in the direction of Skokholm Island, a stroll of 3 – 4 minutes. Once at the coastal path and cliff edge I immediately get a sense that this place belongs to me for the day. From here I head west, with Skomer Island in sight. A gentle 10 minute stroll into a brisk south westerly wind certainly wakes you up, but it’s here where the main seal pup rookeries are.
A spectacular birds eye view of the seals and pups is what I get, not bothered by me watching from the cliff top, the cows get on with the job of rearing the young, while the Bull just bobs about in the water carefully guarding his territory. Straight ahead, between the mainland and the islands of Middleholm and Skomer, is a fearful rift of water called Jack Sound. Between September to December, you’d be unlucky if you didn’t see seals from this spot.
The whole journey, from the moment I get out of my car, to the short 15 minute stroll to the viewing point is one sensory and physical experience which somehow always hits the spot for me.
The first time I saw a seal, was from this very cliff on the Deer Park many summers ago whilst volunteering for the National Trust. 22 years on, I now bring my own children here. So yes, a very special place for me indeed.
Here’s Matt’s walk: