Pembrokeshire is a county located on the most westerly extreme of Wales, with a land area of just over 600 square miles. In 2010, National Geographic recognised Pembrokeshire as one of the top-rated coastal destinations in the world, and in 2019, Lonely Planet named the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park one of its Top Ten ultimate travel experiences in the UK.
A beautiful and diverse county, here are 3 books that celebrate the history, society, nature and the wonderful scenic Pembrokeshire Coast Path:
A fascinating voyage of discovery through Pembrokeshire locations frequented by pirates, smugglers, wreckers and others who have exploited the coastline over the centuries. Ieuan Morris’ stunning images showcase one of the UK’s most beautiful counties, but as well as discussing historic events the county is famous for, Morris also considers the impact of migration, tourism and industrial pollution and asks: Can Pembrokeshire as we know it survive?
“I’ve always had a strong attachment to Pembrokeshire, the county where I was born. I wanted to take the reader on a voyage through its striking coastline and exciting hinterland, both rich in history and character. My aim throughout the book was to photograph and capture locations where notorious events have taken place, accompanying the images with text that puts a new slant on the area’s history and assesses current issues it faces,” said author and photographer Ieuan Morris.
Article cover image taken from Photographing Pembrokeshire by Ieuan Morris.
Photographing Pembrokeshire – A Paradise for Pirates by Ieuan Morris is available now, £12.99.
The definitive history and natural history of an island of international wildlife and scientific importance and one of the UK’s most beloved nature spots, Skomer Island. Skomer Island – Its history and natural history by Mike Alexander (Y Lolfa) is the most complete account of the island and its flora and fauna ever produced and is the result of the author’s years of meticulous research. The volume is beautifully illustrated throughout with hundreds the author’s own photographs of landscape, species and habitats, as well as never-seen-before photographs of the island’s former inhabitants.
“I’m passionate about the island and believe an account of Skomer’s history and in particular natural history is long overdue. Skomer is my cynefin, my spiritual home. I want to emphasise the long relationship between people and place: Skomer is a cultural landscape, shaped over thousands of years by people striving to make a living. I want to show how the island has evolved in response to changing human values, attitudes and interventions. I believe that we are part of the natural world and that we must maintain our connection with nature,” says Mike Alexander.
“To say that this book is comprehensive is an understatement. Mike has gathered together every scrap of information about the island, from geology and topography to human and natural history.”Iolo Williams
Skomer Island – Its history and natural history by Mike Alexander is available now, £29.99.
That Would Be Telyn tells the story of Delyth Jenkins’ remarkable 186-mile walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. She took with her a small harp with the intention of giving a series of impromptu path-side concerts. Structured around the seventeen days of the walk, this book is an account of her adventures and the people she met and played for along the way.
As she walked, she thought and remembered, and so interwoven with the memoir are autobiographical flashbacks including memories of her childhood, her life with her late former husband, the poet Nigel Jenkins, and her career in the world of theatre and Welsh traditional music.
It tells us about the kindness of strangers, the bonds formed by music-making and how walking can itself be a creative act.
Part travelogue, part memoir, part musical adventure, I found a special alchemy in this book which delights in the magic spirit of Pembrokeshire, the company of friends (and strangers), the author’s own late-life daring, and the joy she found playing her beloved Celtic harp in the most unlikely of settings. There’s a generosity too in the way Delyth looks back at her life with gratitude and laughter, despite having experienced some difficult times. The kind of book that makes you want to open your own self up to the world and its (still) beautiful possibilities.
That Would be Telyn by Delyth Jenkins is available now, £8.99.