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Shepherds Huts And Wool Shops. A First Day In Pembrokeshire.

Shepherds Huts And Wool Shops. A First Day In Pembrokeshire.

December 2019 · 6 min read

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I have traveled a great deal in my life, and stayed in a number of different accommodations. From sleeping in bushcraft shelters on the Appalachian Trail, Farm Houses in the south of France, 15th century castles, villas in Rome, and large 17th century manor homes. I have slept from 5 star to no star. Yet the shepherds hut I have used as a base to travel Pembrokeshire in Wales has been one the more unique experiences.

Recently I have been looking at woodlands across the country with a mind to buy. This isn’t as straight forward as it is in other countries like the states or Canada. In fact it has fast evolved into a massive headache. For instance in my travels across England and Scotland I’ve found several I’d like to put an offer in on but then there’s the fine print. Is it a freehold? Is it located in an area of special scientific interest. If so I can own it, but can’t alter it in any way without permissions. Does the free hold grant mineral rights? Sporting rights? This list goes on and on and the mission to find a quiet couple acres to cultivate trees and hunt on is growing more difficult.. The search was looking hopeless until I began to look at locations in the breathtaking countryside of Wales.

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Accommodation is never cheap. The road that has brought me to this quiet little hut that’s stuck out on the furthest west point of the country has been painfully expensive. In fact already travel as an expense has begun to cost more than the solicitors fees I’ll have to pay when I do buy. So I decided to get clever. It’s winter after all. Who would want to camp in this god awful cold? Surely glamping and caravan style sites will still be open? After a quick search of the interweb this little place came up. For a week the cost was £120 and available immediately. I booked and the next morning we were on our way.

The sat nav continually showed we were on no road on our way in. To pick up the keys I had to walk down a foot path to an isolated lock box in the dead of night. It was great. This region is a dark sky’s location so if it’s overcast and there’s no moon the darkness is thick. But after finding the key we then began to look for our accommodation. Sorta like a treasure hunt.

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One would think at a glance that these styles of shelter are cramped and uncomfortable. We didn’t find that to be the case at all. Once the wood fire was lit and we were tucked in with a bottle of wine we couldn’t of been happier. Our host came out to greet us shortly after our arrival to ensure we had plenty of fire wood, a bottle of Prosecco, and a bag of welsh cakes. It was a completely different feel to a hotel or standard camp site. Though we were isolated the gent who let the hut ensured us he and his wife were right down the path if we needed anything . It was just a general feeling of welcome and friendliness that one doesn’t stagger on much nowadays.

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The next morning we had time to spare so we went to go investigate one of the things Wales is famous for. Wool. The wooden mill at Solva is one of the oldest wool goods mills in the country. To some it might seem boring but I like wooly jumpers. When it gets cold they can’t be beat. Not to mention they are hand made at the mill along with a variety of other goods that supports local farmers and craftsman. As it’s all hand made on site it was wonderful opportunity to buy presents and throw some support the local folks way.

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The little mill is set back on a small stream at the base of a large foothill. It’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. We ended up being rather fortunate as they had local craftsman in working on different things for the shop. I asked if I could photo or film and sadly was turned down. The refusal was easy to shrug off though, and we spent about half an hour talking crafts with the folks at the shop. Over all it was a rewarding experience. In the end we picked up a hand made rug.

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If ever you get a chance to visit this place do so. The quality of their products is amazing. I hate ikea style products as a general rule, and rather give my cash to small businesses and craftsman so I’ll definitely be ordering from these folks in future.

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After a day of driving almost flooded roads and not really being able to reach where we wanted we retired back to our cozy little hut. One would think we would have been cramped but we weren’t. One would think it would have been cold or uncomfortable but it wasn’t. At the end of the night we switched off the lights, folded down the bed, and enjoyed the impenetrable darkness and stillness of it all.

I could definitely see how this region is so conveniently missed by most. Lying in the darkness on a hilltop overlooking Pembrokeshire one gets the feeling that the misty hills around me could almost fade away folding into the heavy fog that shrouds them, and the rest of Britain may not be the wiser for some time. It was the first time in a long time I had slept as soundly as I did. For the winter traveler looking at cheap accommodation, you truly can’t go wrong with a shepherds hut. Especially if it’s in Pembrokeshire.

If you’ve made it this far thanks for reading. I took all these photos on an iPad so I apologise for the quality of them. I’m hoping to pick up a better camera rig soon. I’ll be doing more posts on this region over the next couple days. In the meantime looking forward to all your awesome posts and projects. Keep on Steeming.

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