Naomi Conway, National Parks Partnerships Development Director, shares her experience discovering Barafundle Bay.
Winter 2016. I’d made an epic six hour train journey from London to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park on successively smaller trains. Each leg of the ride offered me greener and more beautiful views. Occasional vistas of glistening sea invited me further west.
I was joining a residential meeting of the National Parks’ learning teams at the Stackpole Centre. In amongst the meetings and presentations we had short windows of free time. I decided to go for a walk alone, following my nose, my only aim to get some fresh air and be back within an hour and a half.
For late November it was a crystal-clear sunny day, with an intense blue sky. About half an hour into my walk I glimpsed my first view of what I now know is Barafundle Bay. It took my breath away and the picture I snapped on my phone is my screen saver to this day.
I ran down to the huge golden sweep of the bay, completely alone. It was like finding my own desert island and I didn’t want to leave. I’ve since learnt that this place often appears on the list of the world’s most beautiful beaches and I agree, it is. It’s best explored in the autumn and winter months when you can often have this piece of paradise to yourself. Sometimes nature offers you awe and glory that you were not expecting. It’s these surprises that invigorate and delight you, encouraging you to explore more of this incredible island.