Bedding down in a revamped shepherd’s hut in Solva

Undiscovered places quite often happen to be ensconced in thick woods. Plonk a thick wood next to a sublime and lonely stretch of Pembrokeshire coastline between the pretty fishing harbour of Solva and the historic city of St Davids and you have one seldom-seen but perfectly-placed location for this secluded converted shepherd’s hut known as Fairy Bridge.

Why we love it…

It was the first night away for us with our new baby and so we were looking for somewhere in family-friendly Pembrokeshire that had just the kind of lonely coastal setting we craved but was not too far from civilisation in case of bad weather.

Despite there being a seeming surfeit of choice with Pembrokeshire accommodation, when you eliminate all the places that are either not on the coast or in a busy coastal resort, all the places that are modern and bland-looking, all the huge campsites and all the places that won’t accept a two-night stay, you are not actually left with that many options. Fairy Bridge is one of those options that makes the shortlist in quiet, quirky style.

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©Kerry Walker

The vibe

This holiday let shepherd’s hut lives up to the ‘fairy’ part of its name especially well (dinky and magical). Whilst there is one house nearby (the owner’s) it is otherwise all alone up a track from the hamlet of Nine Wells within a charming pocket of ancient woodland. The words ‘peaceful’ and ‘rustic’ spring to mind.

The welcome

It’s self check-in, but the directions there are comprehensive, the approach up the track feels like an adventure, the key is where you’re told it will be and the friendly owner is on hand if you have any questions.

The rooms

There is only one room here (except for the toilet/shower room)! It’s the one you’ll be relaxing it, eating in and sleeping in. And a very pretty room it is, very much the old-world shepherd’s hut and with oodles of rustic charm. The view from the window is of the ancient woods around the property, where you can hear owls at night. There is a log burner and a supply of logs to keep you warm (and being a fairly small space it is very cosy). Around the long sofa-cum-bed the owner’s artwork is displayed on the wall and the place is decorated with lots of eccentric ornaments and has a few books on local history and art.

The food

Tea, coffee, olive oil and other cooking condiments are provided, so you can make yourself a cuppa upon arrival, but of course, as this is a self-catering let, you wouldn’t exactly expect a menu here! There is a fridge, so you can stash your own food and drink here, and basic cooking facilities. Otherwise you’ll be heading into Solva (east) or St Davids (west). Solva is closest, a 50-minute walk along the gorgeous Pembrokeshire Coast Path, and has three pubs and two or three cafes, as well as great fresh seafood takeaway (see below!).

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This lonely valley descends from the hut to the tempestuous Pembrokeshire coast. ©Kerry Walker

What’s here?

You’ve come here, presumably, to get away from it all (tick) or because you want an atmospheric place to stop that’s almost right on the coast path trundling by through the valley below (tick). So walking is a big one here, and the local hikes are so beautiful you wouldn’t want to miss them. So bring some of your own food and booze, top up your log supply if you wish from the owner’s pile for a small fee, and have a snug evening in. Outside, there is a bench and an idyllic space to sit, make a fire and observe the wildlife in the wood. Owls. There are quite a few owls!

What’s nearby?

You’re on one of the prettiest stretches of the Pembrokeshire coast here, and bang in the middle of two of its most appealing destinations. St Davids, an important place of pilgrimage for a millennium, has one of Britain’s most stunning cathedrals and many other historic and cultural attractions. Solva is an equally fetching fishing village hugging a long, snaking inlet, with several places to eat and drink, a village store and beautiful coastal walking. You can catch a boat from here to wherever you wish on the coast path, and then walk back (one way) to Solva. Solva Woolen Mill is Pembrokeshire’s oldest working woolen mill, and has made rugs for Prince Charles’ Welsh estate.

NEXT ON THE JOURNEY: From the shepherd’s hut, it’s only a mile into Solva to pick up one of the best fresh seafood takeaways in Wales at Mrs Will the Fish.

Solva is one of our special star destinations! Scroll to the bottom for our mini guide to access all our Solva content in one place!

At a glance:

Snooze factor: 6. (It’s a very tranquil spot but there is only room for a sofa bed inside, and one that could in all honesty be more comfortable, which is where the marks come down.)

Food factor: 3. (Food isn’t really the point with a holiday let, but there is tea, coffee and basics for cooking. But, frustratingly, despite good coffee being provided, no means of making it when we were staying!)

Eco-Friendly factor: 7 (The carbon footprint of this place is pretty low, and there is good recycling bins/facilities provided.)

Location factor: 9. (The location is the big draw, in beautiful old bluebell woods besides a path dipping through a valley to the coast.)

Price: From £190 for two people for two nights (2020 prices).

Book it:

Map: (so remote it’s not on Google Maps, but it’s the other track branching off from that to Nine Wells Caravan & Tent Park)

SOLVA MINI GUIDE:

Eat & Drink: Mrs Will the Fish, Solva’s exquisite seafood takeaway

Eat & Drink: MamGu, Solva – welshcakes with a ‘wow’