Solva - Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Western Section.
Arguably the most beautiful and certainly the most unusual harbour in the Pembrokeshire National Park.
Solva's natural Fjord like waters run deep and blue twisting over ½ mile inland in a long lagoon from the outer rocky coastline of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
In the days of the marauding pirates and privateers who cruised the coastline looking to ransack isolated coastal settlements, Solva survived by being both well hidden and well protected by this tricky entrance ravine. Seafairers, friendly or otherwise, had to negotiate their way past the jagged twins of Black Rock and St Elvis Rock which guard the village’s entrance from the outer ocean.
By the mid-19th Century, Solva was in its glory days with countless quayside warehouses, pilot boats to guide in the ships and twelve smoking lime kilns, there was even a direct passenger service to New York - at a cost of £3 each way!
The elongated dog leg harbour was originally formed by what geologists refer to as a Ria, or drowned river valley and today it holds a placid feel, filled with gently bobbing boats and yachts set against a backdrop of wooded ridges and steep valley sides.
Far inland of the rugged tortured coastline, Solva oozes protection and tranquillity.
At the inland head of the waterfront is Lower Solva where most walkers stay, a scattering of little coloured cottages, teashops, pubs, galleries and locally owned independent shops that spill along the long narrow street just behind the harbour wall.
Inland of this, wedged at the bottom of the steep valley is the grade 2 listed stone arched bridge that crosses the River Solva. Solva has plenty of local art and craft to see with the village Pottery and two well respected art galleries the best known of which is the Cuban artist Raul Speek whose gallery is on Main Street.
There are several options for freshly landed lobster and crab at the pubs and restaurants which include the former Solva Old Pharmacy now operating as a seafood specialist.
Beyond the valley lip to the west of the lower harbour is Upper Solva, a larger area that has the Post Office and Village Shop. This has borne the more modern expansion, though since 1997 the Pembrokeshire National Park has stepped in to protect and designate Solva as a conservation area.
If the lure of the ocean has got you, then consider a rest day and contact Solva Sailing School where there are options for sail boat trips to track down the wildlife out in the bay, dinghy hire in the harbour itself or sailing lessons, all based in this unique coastal location. If you do nothing else whilst here, head to one of the fabulous ridge viewpoints on either side of the harbour and take your evening stroll past the stout castle like clutch of limekilns before climbing up the knifedge Gribbin with its Iron Age settlement to watch the sun silently set over the Western ocean.