Caldey Island and Monastery, Tenby Area.
Situated around 3 miles off the Pembrokeshire Coast Path south of Tenby is the Monastic Island of Caldey, which can be reached via a frequent ferry service. A stunning location of sandy beaches and headlands where you have a good chance of spotting grey seals within a little haven of tranquillity and peace.
Settled by Celtic Monks in the 6th century, for the last 1000 years the holy men have retained the island as a place of prayer and quiet living, despite occasional incursions by Vikings and Pirates, the dissolution of the Monastery in 1536 by Henry the Eighth and the on-going assault of the sea itself on the exposed shoreline.
Today, around 15 Cistercian Monks remain to live a frugal life here, along with around 60 other hardy residents producing perfumes and herbal potions from the wildflowers in the whitewashed Monastery Gardens.
There is plenty to see as you walk around the island, the remains of The Old Priory and the tiny chapel of St David with its Celtic stone, as well as the little museum in the Village Post Office and the impressive lighthouse where views extend as far as the Preseli Hills.
Those looking to soak up the religious atmosphere can attend one of the monks daily chanted services in the Abbey Church. We suggest ending up at the islands tea shop to refuel for the Coast Path with the chocolate and shortbread produced here by the monks themselves.
With regular sailings every day from Tenby harbour, for Pembrokeshire Coast Path walkers the best way to see the island is to take a “rest day” in Tenby giving time to explore its medieval streets and ruins before heading to Caldey for lunch and an afternoon walk around the island.