Visit Tenby Newsletter – Summer 2020
Whilst we welcome back the many visitors who have returned & some new faces, too, we are mindful of Tenby over the previous four months and just how quiet it has been. Eerily ghost town-ish. And then, bam, on 11th July the now-pedestrianised town centre streets were crowded with more people than we have seen, well, since New Year’s Eve. So locals are suffering a little from shock. I expect we’ll get used to Tenby being crowded again. And our practised social distancing loops around everyone have been replaced by trying not to be in too busy spots during a newly calibrated 24 hours. If you see someone ‘have a moment’ for no obvious reason, please be careful with him/her/zem.
Meanwhile, thank you for helping to keep our economy alive, protecting the town’s and its residents’ future, breathing life into our tourist offer; after all, that is Tenby’s economic lifeblood.
We have no dates for future events as, one by one, they have all been cancelled. But fear not, they’ll all be bouncing back next year – well we hope so, since no one can actually tell – hopefully better, even if only with the benefit of a time-out. Instead, we do have some insights on what can and can’t be done right now and we hope your time here proves as enjoyable as ever, despite the ‘new way’ of holidaying here.
The Great Outdoors – Walking in Pembrokeshire
As lockdown regulations are eased, Tenby and Pembrokeshire are welcoming visitors again. The town has been eerily quiet for the past three months, almost a ghost town.
Now it is busy again welcoming tourists from all parts of the U.K. At the time of writing it is not clear which attractions will be open to visitors. One that will be is the great outdoors – Tenby’s beaches and the many miles of footpaths. The beaches have already re-opened. The RNLI lifeguards are in place on both the Castle Beach and the South Beach.
Following nearly four months of inactivity now is a great time to get out and about and explore the many footpaths in Tenby and the surrounding area. The most energetic may wish to walk the entire 186 miles of the world famous Pembrokeshire coastal path. For others a short stroll or half day walk will suffice. For detailed information on walks in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park visit the website www.Pembrokeshirecoast.wales/walking where you will find detailed route maps for over 200 walks. Alternatively call into the Tenby Bookshop in Tudor Square and pick up a guide book. An excellent guide book to some of the inland trails is ‘Longer Walks in Pembrokeshire’ by John Fenna. ‘Tenby Historical Trail’, published by Tenby Civic Society, is an excellent self-guided walk around Tenby. Walks led by experience Blue Badge guides are also available. See firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The following two walks can act as a taster to what’s available:-
- Circular Walk from Tenby to Penally.
Start from Tenby Station and follow the road alongside the railway line, keeping the line on your right, and head for Tenby Golf Club. Follow the path alongside the Golf Course and at the junction of paths continue straight on still keeping the railway line on your right. Cross the railway line and proceed to the main road. Turn left and walk along the pavement to Penally Railway Station (car park, toilets). Turn left immediately before the station and cross the railway line. Follow the path through the MOD firing range to the South Beach. Turn left and follow the beach back to Tenby. 2 to 3 hours. This walk could be combined with a visit to Penally Village. The Church contains a Celtic cross and the churchyard is the burial place of Tenby born actor Kenneth Griffith.
- Coastal Walk Tenby to Saundersfoot and Wiseman’s Bridge.
Start from Tudor Square and walk up the High Street keeping the Church on your left. Continue past the Royal Lion Hotel with the sea on your right. Turn right at the Croft and follow the road uphill. The road becomes a footpath which is signposted as the coastal path. Follow the path, up the steps, and turn right into Allen’s View, a woodland garden maintained by Tenby Civic Society. Exit from Allen’s View back onto the coast path and follow the well marked path to Saundersfoot village. A full range of facilities is available here as well as regular buses back to Tenby. If you would like a longer walk continue along the strand (parallel with the seafront) and walk through a series of disused railway tunnels to reach the hamlet of Wiseman’s Bridge. A limited bus service operates from here to Tenby but it may be quicker to walk back to Saundersfoot where a more frequent service is available. 3 to 4 hours.
Whatever the weather walking is very enjoyable. Please take care on cliff tops and follow any diversions that have been put into place. Enjoy your walking.
Caldey Boats Are Back
Caldey Island is not open for visitors this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic but that has not stopped the iconic Caldey Boats from offering a variety of trips as @BoatTripsFromTenbyHarbour!
This is part of the new normal that we are all adapting to here in Tenby and will give new visitors and old friends, a different perspective and experience to enjoy. You will be able to enjoy a variety of exciting picturesque trips around our Pembrokeshire coastline from the Caldey Boats, Seal Safari and Tenby Boat Trips. And lets not forget the wonderful old Lifeboat Mary Gabriel!
At low tide when the water leaves the harbour we use our low water landing stage for safe passenger boarding. As an added extra hampers are available on request to bring aboard the boats from wonderful Loafley bakery.
For all you bird lovers out there. We are thrilled that so many birds are starting to settle on St Margaret’s island. With puffin numbers increasing, we are hoping that means more chance of you guys catching a glimpse of these delightful little characters too! You may want to bring your binoculars and a camera. Enjoy more of our beautiful coastline and get a sneak peak at where we get to live and work. Keep an eye on our Facebook pages and come down to the harbour to check out the booths and our info boards.
St. Catherine’s – What’s to be made of this season
A large number of people have been asking on our website if the fort is open, or if closed, when they can finally visit the island and fort. The short answer to that is we still have no idea when we will be allowed to reopen. We are dependent on instructions from the Welsh Government, like all tourist visitor attractions around Wales. At the moment we are hoping to reopen as soon as we given the go-ahead so we can rescue something from the season, even if that is likely to be very short this year.
That is the bad news. On the bonus side we have taken advantage of the forced closure to carry out a much more extended set of improvements and refurbishments during the spring/summer months this year. Usually cold stormy weather over the winter limits what can be done, and we have to be ready for our usual extended hours from Easter on.
So, what will our (possible) visitors see? The main gun deck has now been whitewashed so that it looks as it did when it was a working fort. The effect is quite startling, making the corridor and bays look much less gloomy. We apologise in advance to those looking for an ambience of dark Gothic horror. One other thing has also removed the impression of decay and abandonment… our electrician has worked hard to wire up the light fittings in the gun bays.
We have also put in lighting in the other areas and removed barriers so that visitors can look through into the rear of the fort where the ammunition was stored and the hoists which then transferred the shells and gunpowder to the guns. At the moment visitors will look from outside. Our carpenter was due to lay flooring so that people could walk around the extensive rooms at the back of the fort. Unfortunately he has been unable to do the work as he wasn’t able to stay in Tenby during the lockdown. In any case, we have been planning a one-way circuit for visitors and after much scratching of heads could not work out how to allow visitors through the one door to the rear of the fort and maintain social distancing. One for next year I am afraid.
The same problem applies to our popular talks on the island and fort history. Up to thirty people sitting together in a confined space for a half-hour talk is a no-no. So we have decided to record our talks which will free up staff to answer questions and keep the flow of visitors moving and safely distanced.
Tourist Guide Trainer in Tenby
After two years of training and practice, Tenby’s Registered Wales Blue Badge Tourist Guide Marion Davies has become a certified trainer for the Federation of European Tourist Guides (FEG). The qualification is the international standard of excellence in guide training across the whole of Europe.
Marion has been guiding in Wales and particularly Tenby for 23 years, running the popular Ghost Walk and Story of Tenby as well as guiding coaches, cruise excursions and private tours.
In light of the ongoing pandemic ,tours around Tenby are subject to strict social distancing of small groups and private tours and only by advance booking.
Please contact Marion on 07970 420734 or by email email@example.com
This newsletter is produced by Tenby Chamber of Trade & Tourism on behalf of the Tenby WiFi Network, a partnership of Pembrokeshire County Council, Tenby Town Council and The Chamber.
Photographs © Gareth Davies Photography / various