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Sustainable tourism is a commendable concept much talked about but, all too often, one that is overlooked in the rush to make a quick profit and cut costs, writes Martin Banks.

Happily, there are some exceptions and one such example is Clydey Cottages, a Welsh resort which, in an albeit modest but useful way, is “flying the flag” for sustainability.

For example, it produces some of its own produce, such as eggs from chickens on its small farm, and also generates its own water supply for the scores of visitors who flock here every year.

This impressive self-catering complex is both environmental and child friendly, so little wonder that it was a finalist (in the best holiday complex category) in the 2018 Pembrokeshire tourism awards.

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In fact, if you are still looking for a location for a family seaside holiday this summer, Pembrokeshire should be on your radar, along with this appealing, family-orientated venue.

Located in a very rural setting (along seemingly never-ending single-track roads), with wonderful views, its upmarket creeper-covered cottages simply ooze character.

Guests benefit from about 20 acres, a sprawling lawn with an excellent kiddie play area, plus a top-class indoor pool and sauna and a well-stocked games room. There are the aforementioned chickens (plus sheep and ponies) to feed each morning.

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The friendly staff could not be more helpful and the whole package has also been given a “celebrity seal of approval” with its starry guest list including Tess Daly from BBC’s hit show Strictly Come Dancing, top sport commentator Jason Mohammad, a host of  top Welsh rugby stars and great reviews in leading UK publications.

It’s also won a clutch of prestige awards and is currently top of the Kiddie Holidays’ list of Baby and toddler Friendly Places to Stay in the UK.

Just 10 miles from the nearest beach, Clydey is nestled amongst the North Pembrokeshire countryside, on the borders of Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire, an area that makes for some great family activities.

Wales is this year celebrating its outstanding coastline, with “Year of the Sea”, and inviting visitors to discover new experiences all around its shores, with special events and attractions throughout 2018.

Such activities include coasteering (think mountaineering but on the coast) and surfing, both run by Preseli Venture at Parcynole Fach, Mathry. After a spot of lunch at its pleasant Eco Lodge you can launch into a day of real adventure. They provide all equipment and tuition and the coasteering (also suitable for kids) is a particular great way to enjoy the challenge of the local coastline.

Further inland, Adventure Beyond also offer some great water-based activities, including a spot of leisurely canoeing on the River Teifi and Stand Up Paddles (SUP) at sea, both great fun. They loan full wet suits, gloves, helmets, boots and lifejackets and an instructor accompanies participants. Currently, there’s been so little rainfall locally (as in Belgium) that another of its activities, white water rafting, is proving a bit troublesome to do but, the British weather being what it is, this could change at any time! If the level of the “rapids” in the river is particular low tubing is a possible alternative.

The 870-mile Wales Coast Path runs the whole length of the coastline straddling this beautiful part of the UK. It passes seascapes of breath-taking variety, from fens to towering cliffs, featuring hundreds of harbours, coves, inlets and islands, and 230 beaches. Every cove and clifftop comes with legends of pirates and smugglers, wreckers and saints. There are classic harbour towns, modern marinas, ancient castles and elegant Victorian and Edwardian resorts.

One delightful way of seeing a bit of all this is via a boat trip with one of the boat companies operating out of New Quay, not far from Clydey Cottages. Cardigan Bay is famous for its dolphins and (if you get lucky) you may spot one or more of the area’s famous marine inhabitants.

Even if these most sociable of sea creatures don’t make an appearance, you can just sit back during a 1 or 2 hour boat trip and marvel at the sheer splendour of that wonderful coastline. Before leaving check out the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre which has some educational exhibits on dolphins.

After taking in all that terrific fresh air, there’s a good chance you will have worked up quite an appetite and there is no better place to sate your hunger than at the Ferry Inn, a wonderfully-located traditional pub at St Dogmaels. It stocks some excellent real ales – something that will delight beer-loving Belgian visitors – as well as a great menu offering some great locally produced dishes.

Apart from the wholesome and tasty culinary offering, the pub is famous for its great views overlooking the estuary.  The prices, especially given the quality and freshness of the food, are very reasonable and it’s also just up the road from Clydey Cottages and close to Poppit Sands, arguably the best of the 50 beaches (12 of whom boast a Blue Flag for their cleanliness) in this area.

Another very good spot to eat nearby is PizzaTipi in Cardigan, serving lovely pizzas (under a huge tipi) and run by four brothers, including one (Teifi) who is named after the nearby river!

After expanding energy on the river and sea you may welcome an hour of history and, if so, Castell Henllys, near Eglwyswrw, is just the job. This is an important archaeological site between Newport and Cardigan. Its Iron Age hillfort used to be inhabited by Celtic tribes people before those pesky invading Romans forced them out. It’s also been the subject of an ongoing excavation for more than 20 years and is well worth a visit.

So too is the nearby Cilgerran Castle, an impressive 13th century fortress overlooking the spectacular Teifi Gorge (and where the kids can have great fun dressing up in medieval gear).

Nature lovers, meanwhile, will be in their element at the lovely Welsh wildlife centre, which comprises an award-winning visitor centre situated in the beautiful Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve. The site is managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and all profits from the centre go towards the conservation work carried out in the region by the Trust.

If you get a chance try to also pay a visit to the Sea Trust – Sea Môr Aquarium at Fishguard which offers guided tours.

Getting to the region from Belgium is easier than you might think as DFDS Seaways operates plenty of daily ferry services between Calais and Dover. This is also the perfect way to travel with your car, caravan, motorcycle or motorhome to explore this fantastic part of the world. Travelling with your own vehicle also means you can pack as much luggage as you like.

There is so much to see and do for the whole family in this part of Wales that it’s impossible to give full justice to its many charms.

But perhaps the best summary comes from Strictly’s Tess Daly who, after a recent family visit here, declared, “We loved every minute of our fabulous stay – but our kids loved it even more!”

A good reference for those looking to discover this bit of “paradise” is Premier Cottages, an organisation representing independent self-catering holiday cottage owners, which features almost 1,000 four and five-star cottages across the UK. Properties range from small, romantic boltholes to large family-friendly country estates and includes pet-friendly accommodation, baby friendly properties and widest range of accessible properties in Britain. Many holiday homes have onsite facilities like swimming pools, gyms, spas, indoor games rooms and children's play areas. A week's stay in Clydey’s Heather Cottage for up to four guests starts from £800 and a three night break starts from £480.

For details about things to see and do while in Pembrokeshire, click hereTo request a copy of the free Pembrokeshire visitor guide call +44 (0)1271 336100. Follow on Twitter @VisitPembs, #Pembrokeshire or on Facebook @VisitPembrokeshire.

More information

www.clydeycottages.co.uk

www.premiercottages.co.uk

 www.preseliventure.co.uk 

 www.adventurebeyond.co.uk

 www.ferryinn.wales 

www.pizzatipi.co.uk

www.seatrust.org.uk/sea-mor-aquarium

www.castellhenllys.com

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cilgerran-castle

www.welshwildlife.org/visitor-centres/the-welsh-wildlife-centre/

https://seatrust.org.uk/sea-mor-aquarium/

www.dfdsseaways.co.uk

 

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