First published Friday, July 11, 2014
Yesterday (Thursday 10th July) I undertook something of a mini tour of the county as I made way from Pembroke up to Cilgerran to meet with some of the team at the Wildlife Trust of South West Wales at the Welsh Wildlife Centre there. It was my first visit, and most certainly won’t be my last, and with plenty of activities lined up for the summer holidays, I will be making that trip again with my children.
My drive to the centre took me through some beautiful countryside, with stunning views stretching off as far as the eye could see. On the way up, in true Pembrokeshire summer ‘tradition’ I drove through sunshine, showers and back to sunshine. The welcome I received at the centre in Cilgerran was warm, friendly and genuine, and following a great meeting sharing ideas and updates, I was also shown ‘The Cwtch’, a self catering cottage on the site that is available to rent for a holiday break. If you’re looking for an escape and a location where you are quite literally in the middle of the natural landscape, it’s well worth a look!
On my journey back down the county, in amongst the lush greenery of fields and trees, I drove past a working quarry, and thanks to the clearer weather was also able to see across a significant stretch of the county to view the chimneys and other structures associated with the refineries and LNG plants. It struck me as a I drove that Pembrokeshire truly is a county of contrasts with industries such as agriculture, energy and tourism all working alongside each other with comparatively little negative impact. There are, I’m sure, some who would disagree with me, but still, when you look at things from the view point I had half way up the Preseli Hills, it is fairly easy to see how all these different activities go on day to day, providing jobs and income for many people and our wider economy.
As the day progressed, I was able to enjoy the contrasts our county affords even more as I moved from being outside in the natural environment, to being inside at the Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Co as we hosted the Sponsors Evening for the Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards and announced the shortlist and venue for the event happening in October. Already an award winning business at the tender age of 3 months of open to the public trading, the welcome received at the Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Co was again warm and friendly and with an opportunity to taste some of their superb handmade chocolates (produced on the premises) it was a wonderful evening. The range of businesses who have made the shortlists for the 14 awards categories again provide plenty of contrast – from sole trader operations through to hotels and festivals, the judges are going to have their work cut out for them as they determine who the winners will be.
It just goes to show once again, how one county can be so diverse, productive, full of energy and enthusiasm, beautiful, peaceful, a hive of activity and much more. Pembrokeshire really is a special place, in so many ways. Yesterday was a day on which I felt proud, and very lucky, to live and work here. I hope every now and then we all pause for a moment or two to reflect on the perks of being in Pembrokeshire, and of course, I hope that many of you will be joining us in October when we celebrate the fantastic contribution tourism businesses make here too!
First posted on the Pembrokeshire Tourism Blog