Tourism-The Benefits and Challenges it Brings. November 4th 2021

Ian Meopham has been a National Park Ranger since 1983 covering the area from Newgale to around Fishguard

Forty masked members, well wrapped up to cope with the open windows policy, gathered at Crundale Hall for the first indoor PNTA meeting for over eighteen months, since the onset of the COVID pandemic.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Warden, Ian Meopham, took us on a verbal and photographic celebration of the county, expressing his own opinions. We share our magical corner with wildlife, such as the peregrines, whose numbers are recovering well, after past persecutions. He recalled a day on the coast with a specialist in snakes. Normally Ian regards himself lucky if he sees one adder per year. With this expert as a guide, 30 adders were sniffed out, in one session.

He referred to the special part played by the National Trust, as owner of much coastal land, some purchased as part of Operation Neptune.

He highlighted places such as Amroth, Newgale and Freshwater West, where rising sea levels will have significant impact.

Agriculture has dominated the scene for generations, but now farming is on its knees, with small farms disappearing and farmers turning to tourists as their cash crop.

It is said that Pembrokeshire is twenty years behind Cornwall, in relation to tourism, but as a Cornish friend told Ian, “the Perranporth I knew has disappeared”.

With places like Stackpole seeing a recent rise in visitor numbers by 30%, inevitably the popular spots, such as Barafundle and Porthgain, become overwhelmed.

Skomer Island can control numbers visiting, by limiting the number visitors landing per day. That is harder to do on the mainland.

Discussion ensued. The topics of tourist taxes, dogs and transport options all had an airing.

Ian urged us not to let the nature of the area we value, slip through our fingers.

Report by Andrew Weaver

“Pwll Deri looking beyond to Stumble Head. Furniture in a wild place”

Photos by Andrew Weaver.