Caldey Island

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Caldey Island lies about three kilometres off the coast of Tenby. It is currently home to a small community of Reformed Cistercian monks, although there is evidence of religious settlement dating back 1,500 years. The island's perfume industry has gained an international reputation. It is the only commercial perfumery to use gorse oil in perfume. Walter Poucher was one of the individuals who provided specialist expertise to support the monks. He was chief perfumer at Yardley for thirty years, but is best known to walkers for his books on mountain photography.

Alight at the jetty in Priory Bay and follow a road through woodland to reach the village green. This is the focus of the island. It is overlooked by the monastery, which was raised to the status of an abbey in 1959. Pass the tea gardens and the island giftshop and turn left (east) in front of the post office and museum, which features a display of archaeological finds from prehistoric sites on the island. A short loop takes in St David's Church and Abbey Church. Just before St David's Church, pass a statue of St Samson, the patron saint of the island. Whilst the foundations of St David's Church are 10th Century, features such as the fish window are much more recent. Abbey Church is a little further along, close to steps that lead down to the road.

After retracing the route back to the post office and museum, turn left (south) and follow the road to the lighthouse at Chapel Point. There are fine views across Caldey to the mainland. On clear days, it is possible to see Worms Head on Gower, which is about twenty-five kilometres to the east-southeast and even Lundy Island, which lies about fifty kilometres to the south. The best prospects for seal-watching are usually found along the coast between Chapel Point and Red Berry Bay.

A short loop from the road back to the village green takes in the mediaeval Priory Pond, the Old Priory and St Illtud's Church. An interpretive sign explains that this is probably the oldest church in England and Wales that is still used for Catholic worship. The Ogham Stone is of particular interest, alongside other noteworthy features such as the stained glass and the leaning spire. Follow a short nature trail back to the road. There are opportunities to buy gifts, souvenirs and refreshments in the shops around the village green, or to relax on the beach at Priory Bay, before returning to the jetty to catch the boat back to Tenby.

Wales - South Wales - Pembrokeshire - Coast


Birds, Church, Gift Shop, Great Views, Mostly Flat, Museum, Nature Trail, Sea, Tea Shop, Woodland