We found wild orchids!

We headed out this morning after breakfast for Saundersfoot. When we got there we realized that it was just a bit too touristy for us and it was raining so walking around wouldn’t be much fun. It is right on the coast and has lots of shops and places to eat.

On our way to Saundersfoot there were many flowers growing on the hillsides next to the roads. We finally found a spot to pullout and I took some photos. The pink flowers are called Pink Campions and were near the orchids and actually what we had stopped to take photos of. I was looking around and saw these beautiful spiked flowers in front of the campion and took photos of them. They turned out to be rare and endangered Wild Orchids.

Rare wild Welsh Orchids along the roadside.

Off we went on the tiny one lane roads with 2 way traffic and pullouts every so often toward St. Govan’s Chapel which is on a military base and happened to be open for visiting today. St. Govan’s Chapel is amazing and well worth a visit if you are ever in the area and it is open. It costs nothing and neither does the parking. It’s a small chapel built on a cliff above the ocean. Entirely made of stone as are the steps leading down to it so “mind your step”.

Me inside the St. Govan Chapel, taken by my husband.

We were getting hungry as it was almost 2:00p so we started thinking about lunch. Chris remembered a place in East Angle Bay he had read about called The Old Point House that was open until 3:00p for food and had a fireplace that had been burning nonstop for 300 years! The building that is The Old Point House has been there for 500 years.

On the way to The Old Point House we were diverted onto a road headed toward a tiny hamlet with a lovely church and mustard fields near Castlemartin.

Mustard field. There are commercial mustard fields all over Wales.

Next we came into an area called Freshwater West Beach with beautiful views overlooking the coast. There was one place where the road looked like it was completely mudded in but by the time we came out of the turn it looked better. Still plenty of wet sand across the one lane road but not too bad. The views were wonderful.

We finally came to East Angle Bay and found the road to The Old Point House. The road was more like a goat path, rutted and potholed, but we got there and found a place to park then went inside. Such a cute little place with “screaming WiFi”, great people and good food!

Turns out that the fireplace no longer burns constantly because of the expense, it just burns in winter, and spring apparently because it was burning today. They used a mixture of coal dust and slime off the shore which was called “culm” to keep it burning. There’s a plaque on the fireplace itself.

While we were having lunch a couple from Manchester came in and we started chatting. Tom and Lynn are dedicated walkers and were telling us about a walk across England that they went on with his 77 year old mother about 10 years ago and have since gone on a couple more times. They told us lots of fun stories about the walk and the people they met.

While we were chatting Lynn and I were also looking at each other’s photos.

I came to the flower photos and Lynn right away identified them as pink campion and wild orchids. I looked them up when we got back to our room, she had said that the orchids are quite rare so I found a link to the preserve where they are protected.

I can’t believe the luck of finding them growing beside the road.

By the time we had finished our lunch and chat it was 4:00p so we thought we had better start heading back.

We had no cell service or gps at all at that point but we do have an atlas of the roads in Wales which was helpful and we found our way back to Narberth the old school way.

Always bring a good atlas or map to UK if you are planning on exploring.

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