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Why you need to come and explore the Stackpole Estate

6th January 2019
Stackpole Estate Barafundle Bay

Discover the diversity of the Stackpole Estate, one of Pembrokeshire’s leading tourist attractions

A vast and spectacular location on the Pembrokeshire coast, the Stackpole Estate is a glorious and historically significant site that is the cornerstone of just about any getaway to the county.

From idyllic lily ponds to glorious beaches, coastline and woodlands, the Stackpole Estate is so large that you may well have wiled away many a happy hour absorbing its spectacular offerings without even realising it!

in recognition of the site’s beauty, we’ve brought you a detailed insight into the estate’s offerings; exploring the historical events and sites of interest that have turned it into one of the country’s major attractions.

Whilst activity on the location now known as the Stackpole Estate can be dated back to as far as the Bronze age, the journey towards the estate’s current state of existence can be traced to the Norman era – with the estate under the control of Elidyr de Stackpole, who is believed to be a lord.

Although there are few records of Elidyr de Stackpole’s life, he is notable for having been mentioned in the work of Giraldus Cambrensis or ‘Gerald of Wales’ and a monument to him stands in Stackpole’s Elidor church to this day.

Elidyr’s lineage is believed to have seen the estate pass through a number of de Stackpoles, with the Normans’ legacy living through to the modern day via the patterns of surrounding villages, churches and countryside boundaries.

Related image

Archive footage of the now-demolished Manor House (demolished in 1963)

From there, the Stackpole Estate has been handed down through marriage before being bought by the Lort family in 1611, who subsequently handed it down to the Campbells of Cawdor in 1689.

Possession of the estate by the Cawdors led to the biggest transformation of Stackpole’s architectural and landscape, with the next two and a quarter centuries seeing the development of the New Deer Park and lakes that remain there to present.

The two World Wars saw the estate fall into decline, with part of it seized as a training ground for British Troops – where the Castle Martin Shooting Range still stands.

The site has been in the possession of the National Trust since 1976, a fate that has seen it blossom into one of the most popular destinations to explore Pembrokeshire’s beauty for both tourists and locals alike!

Stackpole Estate is home to over 100 acres of lakes, which have come as the result of three limestone valleys being dammed in 1780 and 1860.

The iconic eight-arch bridge across Stackpole Lake is perhaps one of the most iconic locations across the estate.

The bridge was built in 1797, connecting Stackpole Court and Home Farm to Stackpole Quay and the New Deer Park and is a beautiful spot to go wildlife spotting from, or as a vantage point to take some stunning sunset snaps from.

Read more: Pembrokeshire’s sites of outstanding natural beauty

Surrounded by the beautiful mature woodland of the deer park (which has sadly not been home to any deer since World War One) the lakes provide an ideal place to spot bird life, including swans at certain points in the year, and feel at one with nature.

A short stroll down the estate’s path sees you arrive at the outstandingly beautiful Bosherston Lily Ponds.

“Perennial perfection” – the National Trust

Home to a host of wildlife, including otters, wildfowl and dragonflies, the lilies carpet the pond over the summer months and provides a stunningly unique attraction that is unmatched across the county.

Heading to the coast, the Stackpole Estate boasts miles of pathways that take in stunning views thanks to limestone cliffs that have seen years of erosion form the battering seas and offshore winds create unique arches and coves.

Raming Hole is perhaps the most uniquefeature on the Stackpole Estate’s stretch of the coastal path, an inlet that reveals a deserted beach at low tide.

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Whilst it isn’t recommended climbing down the 30ft decent to the beach from the high limestone cliffs, it’s certainly one to be enjoyed – particularly if you opt to enjoy the estate’s Wildlife Walk.

Elsewhere across the Stackpole Estate’s diverse coastline, Stackpole Quay is a picturesque reminder of industrial times gone by whilst Stackpole Head offers perhaps the best ocean vistas that the county has to offer.

Not only does the coast of the Stackpole Estate offer you the opportunity to take in the stunning geological beauty of the region, lucky visitors can see dolphins and even basking sharks across the summer months!

The estate has its fair share of splendour but the two beaches of Barafundle Bay and Broad Haven South arguably steal the show.

Just a short descent down steps built into the cliffs adjacent to the two beaches, both of these secluded locations offer wide open sandy beaches with plenty of space for children to explore and play amongst the sand dunes and rock pools, or for you to idle away a relaxing summer’s afternoon.

The eastern facing nature of the two beaches also means that they are largely protected from the tide, giving both beaches a still, almost Mediterranean feel – making them perfect for visitors to enjoy kayaking or paddle boarding from.

Away from the estate’s natural beauty, Stackpole is also home to a quaint and historic village.

Moved from its original medieval site in 1735 to accommodate the estate’s expansion, Stackpole Village is home to the picturesque Stackpole Inn – a sixteenth-century building that formerly operated as the village’s post office and now provides a perfect location for food and refreshment after a long day’s exploration.

A short drive out of the village will also take you to the Stackpole Outdoor Learning Centre which is a multi-purpose venue run by the National Trust that boasts a theatre and bar perfect for an evening drink after absorbing the county’s treasures.

Stackpole Estate Stackpole Inn

Stackpole Inn’s beautiful gardens

Whether it be the breathtaking coastal splendour, sublime beaches, delicate ecosystems of the lily ponds, pleasant greenery of the woodlands or grounds entrenched in history, the Stackpole Estate has something for everyone and is a highly recommended destination when you next come and visit our beautiful county!

If you’d like to learn more about the Stackpole Estate then feel free to check out the National Trust’s website!

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