An insider’s guide to Pembrokeshire
I grew up on a farm near St David’s, the smallest cathedral city in the UK. When I was little my mother and my grandmother used to take me on these adventures into the hidden world of the undergrowth and it just blew my mind.
I started the Bug Farm to give people that sense of wonder that I had as a child and still have now. I want to make people recognise that these little guys are actually mini superheroes with amazing stories to tell.
It’s great to see people meet the bugs at first hand, like Pauline the giant bird-eating tarantula and Robin the rainbow stag beetle. When they’ve heard their stories and actually get to hold these amazing creatures it completely changes their attitudes towards them.
Inside the The Grub Kitchen, Pembrokeshire
The Grub Kitchen is in a converted 18th century calf shed next door to the Bug Farm. There are nearly 1,500 species of edible insects we know about. They’re eaten in Thailand, China, Mexico, New Guinea and many other countries.
As the world’s population grows, so do the demands on food supply. Edible insects could be the answer to a global food shortage. We’re not talking about some kind of ghastly live eating challenge here. Just look at the menu – it’s tasty!
Whitesands Bay by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
When friends come down to visit I like to start with something they’d half expect. We head down to Whitesands beach, stick a wetsuit on whatever the weather and paddle out on a surfboard. When the sun’s out it’s absolutely stunning, but when it’s windy and rough and stormy it’s just as beautiful and dramatic.
The mist will descend and cover Carn Llidi, the craggy hill above the beach. It’s wonderfully eerie.
Rocky outcrops on Porth Selau beach by Visit Pembrokeshire
We often walk up Carn Llidi, which has ancient standing stones and the Coetan Arthur Burial Chamber, dating back to 4000BC. Towards the end of summer it’s purple and gold with heather and gorse. When you go over the other side to the more secluded beaches of Porth Melgan or Porth Selai. They’re real hidden gems. Then we always walk along the coast path to Penberry. It epitomises the coastal path walk, with sheer cliffs, beautiful and dramatic, stunning landscape
I have to admit I’m a nightmare to go for a walk with. I’ll say ‘let’s go on a walk along the beautiful Pembrokeshire coastline’ and I’ll get about two metres in two hours. Our friends are very tolerant, though.
Taking a trip to Ramsey Island, Pembrokeshire
Another highlight is to take them got to go on a boat trip to Ramsey Island. It’s a real gem of wildlife habitat, like the Galapagos of the Pembrokeshire coast. You meet the two wardens who live there all year round on this working farm just off the St David’s peninsula.
St David's Cathedral by Drew Buckley Photography
Then there’s St David’s Cathedral. It radiates with historic importance, yet it’s hidden in a dip, almost out of sight, which is really unusual for such a grand building. It’s wonderful to explore, it feels almost like a palace.
After exploring the coast, I take people up to the amazing Preseli mountains which could not be a bigger contrast to the coast.
It’s wild and barren, with amazing views down to the coast.
Ty Canol wood by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
The ancient woodland of Ty Canol close to Newport is also worth exploring. The oak trees there are small and gnarled by the wind, covered by moss and lichen. You half expect little flower fairies to be fluttering around this magical world.
Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Nearby, the 3500 year-old burial chamber Pentre Ifan Cromlech is also worth a visit.
I’ve lived here all my life and every few months I’ll find a new place that I didn’t know existed before. I feel very lucky to lucky to live in Pembrokeshire.