The combined effect of a complex geology and stormy seas have shaped the Pembrokeshire coastline into spectacular cliffs, sandy beaches, rocky coves, islands and inlets.
The whole coastline was declared a National Park in 1952 and it is the only coastal national park in the UK.
Large parts of it are open access and there is a 186 mile long National Trailfootpath around the coast.
Pembrokeshire’s 250 mile long coastline of is renowned for its spectacular beauty, and wildlife and in recognition of this it has been designated as a National Park – the only coastal National Park in the UK. The geology is very varied with many different coastal rock formations ranging in age from the steep carboniferous limestone cliffs in the south east to much older Ordovician and Cambrian rocks in the north. There are extensive beaches and bays and in places large sand dunes systems. Offshore there are several island nature reserves of world importance for their large seabird colonies, and the large inlet of Milford Haven, which almost splits the county into two halves, is a fine example of a ria or drowned river valley.
Virtually the whole of the coastal strip is managed in a way that is sensitive to wildlife and as a result it has an extremely diverse flora and fauna. Notable birds include Chough and Peregrine both of which have healthy populations and the rapidly declining Kestrel also breeds. Whilst the islands hold perhaps the majority of the sea-bird population, the mainland cliffs are still important sites for fulmar, Guillemot, Razorbill and Herring Gull.
Other birds that are common around the coast are Whitethroat, Stonechat and Linnet, the latter of which has declined considerably in more intensively managed farmland. The cliff tops in spring are a profusion of flowers and there are some important coastal heathland areas especially at St Davids Head, at the Deer Park and along the south coast between Freshwater West and Stackpole Quay. Invertebrates are very well represented with the obvious ones being butterflies, dragonflies and beetles and several rarities occur. Life both in and on the edge of the sea is just as varied with a huge range of creatures from sponges to Porpoises, and even the occasional Minke Whale.
When you are out in the countryside; please follow the Countryside Code.