Around The Rath
Walking, Beaches and Water Sports
The opportunities for walking are almost unlimited, with the Pembrokeshire Coast Path just outside the cliff-top gate. In early summer the carpets of wild flowers – bluebells, red campion, thrift and sea campion – and the yellow gorse scent the air.
Rath is also a wonderful base for a beach holiday, with great sand, surf and rock pools. Local beaches include:
- The fabulous mile-long Marloes Sands (5 minutes by car plus a 15 minute walk from the National Trust car park, or around 30 minutes direct walk from the cottage).
- Renney Slip, just the other side of the cliff path gate, is almost our own private beach, and offers safe bathing at low tide within 5 minutes of careful down-climbing from the Coast Path.
- Martin’s Haven, where the island boats depart and the divers congregate before exploring the Marine Nature Reserve waters, is equally close on the other side of the cottage.
- Sailing, windsurfing and surfing can be arranged at Dale Sailing in Dale.
- There is good fishing for mackerel, bass and a variety of other species off the rocks at Wooltack Point in the Deer Park and the cliffs around the northern coast as far as St Bride’s Haven (watch out for the incoming tide at Musselwick which can take even the most experienced angler by surprise!).
- The sandy beaches all around the peninsular can give good fishing for bass. We have greatly enjoyed the growing sport of saltwater fly fishing for bass here, and would be delighted to offer advice to guests on where to fish, and suitable fly patterns to use.
A Mecca for wildlife
For birds this is a particularly special place. The Rath birds list currently stands at179 species, all seen within a walk (or boat trip) of the cottage, and we (and our guests), are adding to this all the time!
The best time for the seabird colonies is April to August (puffins to mid-July), while the best time to see migrant birds is late April and May or late August to October.
- Choughs perch on the headland signpost, Hen Harriers and Short-eared Owls ‘hawk’ over the land in winter, while in summer the cottage grounds provide a habitat for a variety of garden and heath land birds including Wheatears, Linnets, Stonechats, pipits, Skylarks, warblers and Goldfinches. Passing Peregrines race across the Deer Park, while a variety of wildfowl commute overhead between Marloes Mere, a mile inland, and the ponds on Skomer and Skokholm.
- Perhaps the most astonishing birdlife feature of the cottage’s unique location is that it is in the path of homing Manx Shearwaters returning to their burrows on Skomer and Skokholm, which are home to as much as 50% of the world’s population of these birds. On misty or moonless nights in early summer the air is full of their wonderful throaty call as they literally skim the roof on their way home.
- From May onwards, boat trips out to and around the island of Grassholm – the second largest gannetry in the northern hemisphere – are memorable with Gannets and shearwaters flying and diving all round the boat.
- The Round Skomer Cruises offer opportunities to see thousands of seabirds – Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, shearwaters, Kittiwakes and Fulmars – on rock ledges or floating and diving at sea.
- Grey seals are seen all year round. In late summer and autumn seal pups can be seen in the bays around the headland, while groups of porpoises are frequently spotted in Jack Sound between the Deer Park and Skomer. Further offshore around the islands, schools of dolphins are often seen and, sometimes, the larger whales.
Closer to the cottage, the garden has been visited by frogs, toads and newts, glow-worms and slow worms, and adders and grass snakes, as well as a wonderful variety of butterflies and moths. Badgers have a sett in the garden, and can frequently be seen at night on the roads nearby.
Where to eat and shop
- The Clock Tower Cafe in Marloes offers really good light meals throughout the day in the summer, and now has a restaurant that serves excellent meals in the evenings.
- The Lobster Pot in Marloes village and the Griffin Inn at Dale each offer pub meals with a wide choice often including a range of seafood.
- 20 minutes drive away, Little Haven has a good variety of pubs and restaurants, including the Castle, St Bride’s and Swan Inn.
- Marloes Post Office is also a mini-market with a licence to sell alcoholic drinks and a basic range of just about everything else!
- Shellfish can be bought from a local supplier.
- And to go with it, the fabulous and highly-prized Pembrokeshire new potatoes are readily available locally throughout the summer, grown on neighbouring farms.