Todmorden, England, United Kingdom
November 22, 2002
I have done something already on the other end of the Heart of Wales Line under Shropshire where it starts (English perspective). However, the part which I find most appealing of all is after it has passed through Powis and comes to the wonderful Mid-Wales area around Llandovery, passing through enchanting country with lovely glens, woods, and hills. The next little stations at Cynghordy and Sugar Loaf are said to be great for starting scenic walks. This is only just over one and a half hours from Swansea, so perfectly feasible for a day out.
There is nothing particularly attractive in the journey from Swansea to Whitland, where I stayed in a bed and breakfast house. This is an agricultural town with a big milk collection centre of which I only remember two things: the rather unexpected treat of very good sewin (sea-trout) at the pub and the kindness of the landlady in giving me a sandwich. She was not to know that beetroot is one of my few anathemas and that to put it in a sandwich with cheese is a form of sacrilege! Anyway I was so hungry that I ate it with gratitude - almost.
The line to Tenby, where I was heading, was nowhere near as scenic in itself as the Heart of Wales Line (except the section of the latter from Swansea to the once industrial town of Llanelli). However it does provide access to Tenby and Pembroke. I did not visit Pembroke on this trip, but had been there before. It is one of the many castles which I had visited with my family and one of the few where I was probably as impressed as they were.
Anyway I arrived at Tenby before anything was happening. The earliest shops were just opening and the beach was deserted. I had been once before in summer holiday time, and this is the only time of day I should want to be there. The crowds later were unbearable and on this morning it was heading in the same direction by the time I left at mid-morning.
Early morning Tenby is a different and a delightful place. The natural scenery all along the coast of beaches strung all round by cliffs appears at its most haunting and the ancient monastery island of Caldey positively beckons from about three miles out.
At Saundersfoot I was less lucky - it was farther than I realized, so I had to get back for the train without reaching the beach. It is still a place I have seen once only and wanted to see again but in a "nicer-again-by-car-in-summer" sort of way.
From journal Swansea, Gateway to Gower