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7 ways to experience wellbeing in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

ACCORDING to the Mental Health Foundation, 70% of UK adults agreed that being close to nature improves their mood. 

In support of this, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority is sharing the best ways to experience that dopamine hit and connect with the great outdoors of West Wales this summer.

After all — whether you’re looking to take the plunge and delve into the deep blue or find your inner peace on a coastal hike — there are few better places to top up your mental and physical well-being than the 600 miles of rugged coastline and countryside in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

  1. Brave the Barefoot Trail at Castell Henllys 

As the first of its kind in Wales, Castell Henllys’s Barefoot Trail will test your toes across eight different surfaces — from crunching flint gravel and squelching clay to tree stumps and wood chips. 

By embarking on this testing trail, you’ll be taking a step (literally!) back in time — and following in the footsteps of the Celtic tribes that previously inhabited the surrounding land, all while stimulating over 200,000 nerve endings that live in your feet. 

Research suggests that by kicking off your shoes and connecting with the earth, it can boost immunity, strengthen muscles, and improve sleep!

  1. Experience the Open-Air Theatre at Carew Castle

Carew Castle’s open-air theatre offers a captivating blend of culture and nature, as well as the chance to escape daily life and plunge yourself into new worlds. From timeless classics to beloved family favourites, the main stage comes alive against the backdrop of this historic and haunted castle. As you immerse yourself in live performances, you’ll also benefit from the healing properties of this spectacular landscape. Socialize with loved ones, breathe in the fresh air, and let the magic of theatre enhance your mental and physical well-being.

To learn more about what’s on at Carew, visit: bit.ly/4aHAN4S

3. Take to the coast by two wheels

The Pembs Coast is renowned for its rugged beauty, and what better way to explore than by e-bike? Riese & Müller e-bikes — available for daily hire from Oriel y Parc — present a more sustainable way to travel, whilst providing a little helping hand(le-bar) for scaling some of the steeper hills. 

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From boosting your mental wellbeing and hitting your daily physical activity goals, to reducing congestion and carbon emissions across the St Davids Peninsula — pedal power is the way forward for personal and environmental wellbeing. 

Find out more about how you can hire an e-bike: bit.ly/3WfjC7e 

4. Marvel at some of the best dark skies in the country 

Nationally recognised as a hot spot for Dark Sky Discovery Sites, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is a star-gazer’s dream. On the clearest of nights, you may even be able to spot the spectacle of the Milky Way or the Orion constellation with the naked eye! 

Plus, the relaxing sounds of the waves crashing against the shore provide the perfect backdrop for embracing tranquillity and peace as you cast an eye to the sky.

5. Take a dip into the wild 

Nestled along the 186 miles of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path are endless opportunities to welcome wild swimming — one of the many activities that Pembs’ own locals embrace during the warmer months. 

With picturesque places for water sports such as Whitesands Beach, to hidden spots for a paddle, taking to the water can lead to a boost in dopamine levels and an increase in endorphins. 

Thinking about wild swimming soon? Don’t forget to check the RNLI’s open water swimming safety guidance: bit.ly/4dXHxyi 

6. Visit the Mountain of Angels 

Carn Ingli is said to be the magical and mythical home of St Brynach — the close friend of St David. Having built himself a simple cell high amongst the craggy rocks, he became known for his special powers with animals — having tamed even the wildest of creatures. 

It’s said that upon his death, St Brynach was gathered up by the angels from the summit of Carn Ingli and transported to heaven. When visiting, you’ll be rewarded by 360-degree panoramic views across the land — accompanied, maybe, by a sense of something mythical and ancient. 

7. Embrace nature at Coed Tŷ Canol National Nature Reserve 

Home to over 170-acres of woodland, this reserve in North Pembrokeshire is one of six Welsh wood pasture sites of international importance — due to its rich and diverse lichens (over 400 species!) 

Setting the scene for inspiration, the twisted oaks, rocky outcrops of Carnedd Meibion, old stone walls and an Iron Age Fort present the perfect opportunity to connect with times gone by.  Let the sights, sounds and scents of the Canol forest wash over you as nature aids in lowering feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. 

For more information and to plan your next adventure, visit the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park website or follow @PembrokeshireCoast on Facebook, X and Instagram.