Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Walking in Pembrokeshire: Lawrenny

My Lawrenny: (clockwise from top left): Me at the helm of our boat; sailing;
our Pembrokeshire corgi Skipper; the caravan at Mountain Park Farm.

I spent a lot of time in Lawrenny when I was a kid. We had a 22-foot Ballerina sailing boat moored there and went down to sail Sea Dance almost every weekend until I was about eight or nine.

Mum and Sukey rowing out to the boat; Dad at the helm; our first Land Rover;
rowing out to the boat; Dad helming on a sunnier day; Skipper.

The marina is still very much there as is the cafe but it if anything it's even more lovely now than it was when I was a child. The play park where my sister and I played has gone, as has the slide from the quay to the beach, but the cafe is greasy spoon no more. These days it's an award-winning tea room serving delicious lunches - but more of that later.

We had an end of term treat yesterday, Jo and I. Her idea. She said she would treat me to lunch in return for the lovely cakes I had made for our walks over the past school year (our walking timetable is very much influenced by the school calendar). So I drove and we headed for Lawrenny as it has a perfect three mile circular walk which starts, conveniently, by the tea rooms.

Park at the Quay and then head on, dragging yourself past the tea rooms and the tempting allure of its specials blackboard, and turn left on through the boat yard, following the signs into Lawrenny woods.

The path meanders through the woods with some short but steep rocky scrambles and then brings you down into Garron Pill. You know you've got there by the smell of the seaweed and the sound of curlews calling.

Jo identifies the curlews.

The path takes you alongside the roots of the gnarled old oaks on the foreshore and round into Garron Pill.

We were hoping to see egrets but we only spotted curlews and a mullet which was in the shallows.

These deep inlets provide the perfect feeding habitat for shorebirds.

Then follow the path up the hill towards pretty Lawrenny village. On the way we picked up a canine guide at the entrance to one of the farms. There are two routes back to the quay, one through the village, the other past the church and across the fields.

The correct route, we are shown, is this one past the church.

We did have to negotiate a herd of cattle which was sleeping across the path in front of the gate, but they moved when the dog approached.

A fine view of the estuary. No osprey today.

We arrived back at the quay at 1pm - perfect timing. Lunch was crab sandwiches and salad for Jo with smoked mackerel pate and toast for me. We shared a pitcher of elderflower spritzer.

The tea rooms were definitely popular - not quite full but nearly - but the service was so smooth and efficient it made us laugh (in a very good way). The granary toast with my pate was hot which is always a good sign. Then it rained and the staff rescued those who had risked it to lunch outside and we decided to have cake. Again the service was so efficient that, as we sat down again from the difficult decisions at the cake counter, our desserts arrived like magic. We giggled at this, as did the waitress. All the staff were lovely and happily directed lost walkers to the start of the path (and lent them maps of the route for a £1 deposit).

There's a children's menu too (tuna and mayo sandwiches, for example) and a healthy wine list with other drinks in jugs: Pimms, Sangria.

Cakes are served on Cath Kidston plates which just adds to the prettiness of the occasion.

Jo's blueberry cheesecake.

It is our duty to return to test the rest of the cakes.

My chocolate torte.
Afterwards we sat on the quay looking out across the stretch of water I sailed so many times and shared a coffee. The perfect end of term treat - thanks Jo!


  1. What a wonderful treat for you, and for us (now that you have shared it).

  2. Sounds the most perfect treat to me, thanks for sharing, (the torte looks so tempting!)

  3. Apparently the plates are continually snaffled... it's a beautiful place and I've done the walk a few times too. You bring it back to life. What a lovely day you both had.

  4. We are off try just this walk today - Mark and Jane (who always reads you blog but never comments because she's shy - it was her though who mentioned the walk after reading your account) cheers


I am sorry to have to add word verification thing again but I keep getting spammed.