By full time volunteer Rangers Charys Russel-Smith, John Andrews and Bethan John.
In the glorious Pembrokeshire sunshine last week we joined the annual spring flower walk around the Treginnis Peninsula. This four mile route, led by Ranger North Pembrokeshire Nicky Middleton-Jones, takes in some of Wales’ oldest rocks and has some great views of Ramsey Island. We ticked off plenty of wildlife, from spring flowers to seals and porpoises. This is a walk crammed with nature and colour, especially at this time of the year.
We were surrounded by an abundance of spring flowers right from the off, starting from St Justinians lifeboat station. This blanket of sea thrift was just around the corner from St Justinians and kicked our walk off with a colourful bang.
Heading south towards Lower Treginnis, with the coastal farmland of Treheinif alongside, we walked past the old remains of the Iron Age Fort, Castell Heinif and ‘seal bay’ at Carn Ar Wig – a great place to spot seal pups from August onwards.
Our small party of fellow walkers then followed a steep descent past the ruins of a 19th century copper mine, to a grassy area – the perfect spot for a picnic. This beautifully secluded terrace overlooks Ramsey Sound and Ramsey Island itself. Its an excellent vantage point to see porpoises, particularly towards the south end of the sound – we were lucky enough to see six! Talking of seals, can you spot the seal in our picture? Oh to have a zoom lens…
We weren’t short of seabirds either. This lesser black-backed gull posed perfectly to let us get some snaps. Other birds on our list from this walk included: great black-backed gull, herring gull, razorbills, guillemots and gannets; but with a steady stream of vagrant birds appearing around St Davids in spring and autumn (the day after our walk a few bee eaters were in the area) who knows what you could spot whilst exploring this peninsula?
There were still some amazing scenes of spring flowers whilst walking round to Porthlysgi. At one point we found sea campion, sea thrift and English stonecrop, all flowering and giving a very colourful picture to our Pembrokeshire Coast. In amongst this beautiful scene we’d have to suggest keeping your eyes peeled for the lackey moth caterpillar ‘webs’ draped over their blackthorn host. A very interesting sight.
After rounding a corner of coastal heath we headed down to the rocky cove of Porthlysgi for lunch on the beach. Legend has it that an Irish raider landed here and killed a local Celtic chieftain. Nowadays it’s safe for all those that want to pop down and soak in the views, sunshine and explore its wealth of rock pools.
The walk was far from over as we headed towards Porth Clais harbour, across the peaty soiled heath of Porthlysgi head. Little gems such as this heath spotted orchid were dotted all around the coastal path. Those of you with a keen eye will be sure to spot natural treasures like this along your route.
This shot of scarlet pimpernels and sea squil was a perfect sight to end our coastal path walk before we headed down the harbour and grabbed an ice cream and hand made baked goodies from the Porth Clais kiosk (well worth a visit!). All in all, it was great to see such an impressive amount of wildlife, right on our doorstep. And let’s face it six porpoises and a seal was well worth the walk.
Our walk finished at Porth Clais, but you can turn it into a circular route by striking north and cutting across Treheinif to reach St Justinians. Here’s the route map. The full details can be downloaded from the St David’s Peninsula pages on the National Trust web site. If you start at Porth Clais car park (no charge to members), the refreshments from the kiosk can be your reward at the end of the walk! The kiosk opens for the Easter holidays and then from 1 May 2014 until the end of September from 10.00 to 16.00.
Treginnis walk – allow 3hrs (6 miles)