On a recent trip to Pembrokeshire with friends, I was hoping we’d be able to visit the area I used to frequent as a child. Druidstone is an hour’s drive from Tenby beach which was not far from where we were staying. About the same distance too from Martin’s Haven where we’d taken a boat to look for around Skomer Island. Thankfully we did make it and I really hoped it would be the same as I remembered it.
Not surprisingly the Druidstone Hotel in St Brides Bay has changed since I was last there a decade ago although it seemed strangely familiar. Its prime location makes it a popular spot and the beach views from the lawn outside the cellar bar are spectacular. We’d arrived late afternoon following a day’s exploring so we’d stopped for a snack there before taking the coastal path down to the beach. We hoped to return for dinner at the Druidstone Hotel before heading back to Tenby. It wasn’t possible to book but we figured if we arrived before 6.30pm, we’d secure a table.
The walk down the cliff path towards the beach seemed much shorter than I remember. Admiring the magnificent views as we went, the smell of the gorse and flowers all too recognisable. We passed Malator on the way which is a house that was originally built for the former member of parliament Bob Marshall-Andrews. While it has appeared on programmes like Homes By The Sea and listed as one of the most innovative houses of the 20th century, we were undecided about it. This earth house (or Teletubby House as it’s known locally) can’t be seen from nearby roads but its glass exterior and brightly coloured interior is is clearly visible from the coastal path. Watching the sun rise and set from there must be something else though.
As we approached the beach, much of it looked the same although there’s a lovely wooden bridge over the stream now. In the olden days we’d just jump it if we’d arrived via the cliff path. There used to be another way to get to Druidstone beach, albeit only accessible by horseback. I found it a little hairy at times but I never was any good at riding. In fact I seem to remember the first time I tried to get on a horse, I fell off the other side. I certainly wasn’t a natural that’s for sure. Having ventured over the pebbles at Druidstone, there was sand as far as the eye could see. And those unmistakable rock pools I’d promised POD she would love.
Living in Surrey the nearest beaches to us are located further south. Much as we love them, they don’t have the kind of rock pools you can find in Pembrokeshire. Six year old POD got to see limpets, whelks and sea anemones along with other little creatures she’d never seen before. Buckets and fishing rods at the ready, we’d climbed the barnacle covered rocks on the hunt for fish. Although the fish were super fast, the boys managed to catch about ten in the end (POD got distracted by the trolley the kids had borrowed from the hotel). We all had a good look at them before setting them free again. Despite the weather being on the turn, it didn’t stop the kids running round half dressed. Those are just the best days aren’t they? You know when you look like you’ve been pulled through a bush your hair is so bedraggled!
While we could have easily spent an entire day on Druidstone beach, arriving late in the day with the tide on it’s way in meant we just made the most of the time. Druidstone is beautiful and being less accessible makes it all the more appealing. There are fewer people and it’s totally unspoiled. When the clouds started rolling in, there was just our group of seven and another couple on the beach. The Druidstone Hotel visible in the distance on the cliff top. You can’t beat that really can you – just perfect. Of course our journey back up to the hotel wasn’t quite as quick as the walk down. Two out of the three children had to be carried although they had had a very busy day. We arrived at the Druidstone Hotel just as the heavens opened making the inside especially busy. While this meant dinner there wasn’t possible, we’d had the most wonderful time at the beach. A beach that’s just as special as it was when I was younger. A beach we must get back to again and for longer. Amazingly we managed to get three out of three children asleep en route back to Tenby. A sign of a great day for sure!