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    Home » About Us » The National Park » 60th anniversary » 60 facts for 60 years

    60 facts for 60 years

    Vital statistics

    Druidston beach - PCNPA

    • The National Park covers almost all the Pembrokeshire Coast, every offshore island, the Daugleddau estuary and large areas of the Preseli Hills and the Gwaun Valley.
    • It is one of the smallest UK National Parks, but has one of the most diverse landscapes – sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and islands, quiet wooded estuary and hill country with big sea views.
    • The Park covers 232.5 square miles (602 sq km).
    • At its widest point it is about 16km, at its narrowest about 100m.
    • There are 15 National Parks in the UK. The Pembrokeshire Coast is the only one that is mainly coastal.
    • Around 22,500 people live in the National Park.
    • The coastline is 420km long.
    • Nowhere in the National Park is more than 10 miles from the sea.
    • The Park covers about 39% of the county of Pembrokeshire.
    • There are 13 Blue flag beaches and 13 Green Coast beaches, awarded against strict criteria including water quality and cleanliness.
    • The National Park has two sister National Parks in Wales – the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia.
    • The Pembrokeshire Coast was voted second in National Geographic Traveller magazine’s 2011 poll of the world’s best coastal destinations.

    Films and fitness in the Park

    Marloes beach - PCNPA

    • Marloes Sands, on the west coast of the National Park, was the location for battle scenes in Snow White and the Huntsman, set for release in June 2012.
    • The Shell Cottage which featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 was built and filmed on the Park’s Freshwater West beach (it is no longer there!)
    • The National Park landscape proves a challenge for Ironman Wales competitors each September, when the international triathlon competition is held in Tenby and across the National Park. Visit

    National Park Authority

    • One of the purposes of the National Park Authority is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Park.
    • The other is to promote opportunities for the enjoyment and understanding of the special qualities of the area by the public.
    • The National Park Authority also has a duty to foster the economic and social well-being of their local communities.
    • Less than 2% of the Park area is owned by the National Park Authority – the rest is in private ownership.

    Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail

    Dogwalkers on Pembrokeshire Coast Path - PCNPA

    • The Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail opened in 1970 after 17 years of consultation and construction.
    • The Coast Path is 186 miles long, winding its way from Amroth in the south to St Dogmaels in the north.
    • The total rise and fall of the entire Coast Path is 35,000ft – greater than Everest.
    • The Coast Path won the BBC Coast Magazine readers’ award for Britain’s best coastal path in 2010.
    • The Path was also ranked alongside the Inca Trail and Mount Kilimanjaro as among the top ten best hiking trails in the world by online travel adviser Cheapflights in 2011.
    • The National Park Authority maintains the Coast Path, making sure it is always open and accessible to the public, with funding from the Countryside Council for Wales.
    • The Authority also maintains the 850km network of inland Public Rights of Way within the Park.
    • The Coast Path, inland Rights of Way and 160km of bridleway in the Park total 1,300km, compared with about 775km roads in the Park.
    • To improve access for the less able, the Authority has been reducing the number of stiles that have to be crossed on the Coast Path. Since 1993, around 500 stiles have been removed or replaced with gates, and only 55 remain.
    • The Coast Path attracts around one million user days annually and is one of the county’s most important economic assets.
    • There are more than 40 Easy Access walks on the Path, which are either surfaced or unobstructed and suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
    • From May 5th 2012, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path becomes part of the 870-mile Wales Coast Path – making it part of the only footpath in the world to trace the entire coastline of a nation.

    Conserving the Park

    Conserving the Park - Ponies in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park - PCNPA

    • The Park Authority offers funding and advice to encourage the reintroduction of traditional farming practices on the coast under the Conserving the Park scheme.
    • The Authority owns St Davids Airfield, the site of the former Second World War RAF airfield, and manages it for conservation and enjoyment. In summer the air is filled with the sound of skylarks, which thrive in the meadow.
    • The Authority runs Historic Town schemes in Tenby and St Davids, giving property owners grant funding to conserve the architectural history of these settlements.
    • The Authority owns the Cilrhedyn Woodland Centre which uses small diameter timber found locally and encourages sustainable management of native woodlands.

    Wildlife in the Park

    Seal pups in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

    • The Park is ecologically one of the richest and most diverse parts of Wales and is recognised as of international importance for a wide range of high quality habitats and rare species.
    • One third of Britain’s nesting pairs of choughs are in Pembrokeshire.
    • Grassholm Island has one of the world’s largest gannet colonies.
    • There are 13 Special Areas of Conservation – SACs (three marine SACs overlap about 75% of the Park coastline and account for about 60% of the inshore area).
    • There are five Special Protection Areas, recognised as being of international importance for the breeding, feeding, wintering or migration of rare and vulnerable species of birds.
    • There is one Marine Nature Reserve (Skomer) – one of only three in the UK.
    • There are seven National Nature Reserves.
    • There are 60 Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
    • Common porpoise, dolphins, sunfish and even basking sharks can sometimes be spotted off Strumble Head and around the north Pembrokeshire Coast.

    Park attractions

    Carew Castle in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park - Peter Norman

    •  The National Park Authority owns two important historic attractions at Carew Castle and Tidal Mill, and Castell Henllys.
    • Castell Henllys is a reconstructed Iron Age hill fort which was a thriving settlement 2,500 years ago. It has the only roundhouses in Britain reconstructed on the site where they were excavated.
    • Carew Mill is one of only four restored tidal mills in Britain.
    • Oriel y Parc is the Authority’s Gallery and Visitor Centre in St Davids, run in partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru-National Musuem Wales. As well as the gallery and Visitor Centre, it’s home to a Discovery Room, Artist in Residence studio, shop and café serving mouth-watering local food.
    • The Milford Haven Waterway is the second largest natural harbour in the World (after Port Philip, in Australia).
    • The Authority has developed a number of discovery trails to guide visitors around particular sites in the Park. They include Freshwater East, Tenby, Newport, Porthgain and Nevern.
    • The Authority’s Discovery Rangers provide information and activities for schools and colleges and organise activities and events for the public.

    Historic buildings and archaeology

    • Gateholm Island, off the mainland at Marloes, was featured in an archaeological dig on Channel 4’s Time Team programme in January 2012.
    • There are nine important archaeological landscapes in the Park.
    • The Park has 279 Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
    • It has more than 1,200 listed buildings.
    • There are 14 Conservation Areas in the Park.
    • The Park includes Britain’s smallest city, St Davids, with its impressive cathedral.

    Planning in the Park

    • The National Park Authority is the local planning authority for the National Park area.
    • The Authority receives about 500 planning applications a year.
    • On average between 80% – 90% of planning applications are approved.