Walking the Walk #Pembrokeshire Coast National Park #Walking #Outdoors #Memories #The Memory

Well, best laid plans and all that! For one reason and another we were unable to walk around the Bosherston Lily Ponds, as I had planned and mentioned in January. http://bit.ly/39PXzZ8. So here’s what we did instead…
We joined a group of walkers, led by Sam, a Pembrokeshire Coast National Park representative. We walked through the oak woodlands at Little Milford; now, thanks to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, going back to its natural state after much commercial devastation in the last century; a refuge for wildlife.

Due to Lock-down it was the last walk with Sam and the group we took part in.

But, then we were asked by Sam to take part in a walking project across West Wales in partnership with the National Exercise Referral Scheme- setting a challenge of virtually walking the world. So we joined in with this for West Wales and… drum-roll, here…WE WALKED AROUND THE WORLD and some more. In fact a lot more.In total, 560 exercise referral clients, local walking groups members and staff members, from 13 counties in Wales walked an incredible 38,000 miles.

Remembering that last walk with Sam…

A Sign of Spring on its way; a lovely spread of snowdrops

The Cleddau waterway is seen through the ancient woodland.

We followed the network of footpath’s network through oak, hazel, birch and holly trees.

Yes, that’s how muddy it was. No wonder one of the walkers called Sam, “mud-seeking”. She only laughed as we splodged our way through.

The tide was well out; the salt marsh, tidal creeks and mudflats glistened in the brightness of the white sky.

We saw the remains of lime kilns and former coal workings, slowly giving way to nature.

A gushing stream, swollen from all the recent rain, making its way down to the Cleddau.Just as we arrived back at the mini-bus, it began to rain.First time in weeks Husband and I had stayed dry on a walk.

The article below is taken from Go for a Woodland Walk in Little Milford: http://bit.ly/2wErHIM:

The story behind Little Milford?

The woodland itself is believed to date back to at least the 11th century, with locals throughout the ages making the most of the deciduous trees. The Normans took timber and firewood, and oak was routinely coppiced here until the 1920s.Coal played an active part in the area too. In its heyday, the bordering village of Hook had a number of small pits extracting anthracite – the last closed in 1959.Little Milford became a commercial site during this period, with large swathes of the woodland felled and replanted with conifers.The land and several dwellings were then gifted to the National Trust in 1975 by Mr Harcourt Roberts, the descendant of the estate-owning family who experimented with profitable forestry.We’ve been managing the conifers and caring for the woodland ever since. In 2012 we harvested most of the conifers and replanted the cleared areas with a mix of broadleaved trees.Little Milford Farmhouse and Little Milford Lodge are now cared for as National Trust holiday cottages and provide a tranquil holiday retreat in a beautiful estuary and woodland setting.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority also run a Walkability Project::http://bit.ly/2Pgdb0q The Walkability Project helps people of all abilities who live in Pembrokeshire to enjoy the spectacular countryside and coast around them.

I have a new website where I ramble on about anything, including other authors’ reviews: https://judithbarrowblog.com/

And I have a website where I normally post my views on books and connect with other authors.Writings and Reviewings: https://judithbarrow.blogspot.com/ Please feel free to visit anytime.

My latest book, The Memory, was released on March 19, 2020

And, to my shame, I’d completely missed this, and now can’t resist adding this wonderful review from the Culture section of… NATION●CYMRU:@NationCymru:A news service by the people of Wales, for the people of Wales

Review: The Memory has a tightly wrought and finely controlled plot by Jon Gower: https://bit.ly/2Yiagc9

After a sprawling, four-volume Howarth family saga set in Lancashire and Ireland this latest novel by Pembrokeshire writer Judith Barrow has a much tighter focus, being essentially the life of one woman, Irene. She is a woman tested to the very limits and beyond as she weaves her way past breaking point after breaking point.

Her exceedingly well-loved sister Rose dies in very suspicious circumstances and the finger of blame for her demise points firmly at Irene’s mother Lil, an increasingly needy, fully-paid-up-member-of-the-awkward-squad. But life has a habit of conspiring against Irene and she finds herself having to care for mother.

Which means Irene’s builder husband Sam can’t live in the same house, especially when his estranged mother – who abandoned him many moons ago – moves in too, in the meanest twist of fate. As with any tragedy the ratchet turns and turns on Irene, intensifying the pain of her caring, carer existence. Every hour is a test. She spends her days tending to her mother even though she has ample reason to hate her. She watches her mother in bed, wondering if a photograph of a family trip to Morecambe she is looking at has triggered memories of the occasion:

Or is she seeing something else? A memory? That memory? I’m hoping that of all the recollections that linger, if any do linger in that blankness that has been her mind for so long, it’s that one. The one that makes hate battle with pity and reluctant love. If nothing else, I hope she remembers that.”

Irene, meanwhile, is sustained by very different memories and spectral glimpses of her dead sister Rose, an affectionate young girl with Downs’ Syndrome who seems to haunt the family home even thirty years after her mysterious death, thus making it impossible for Irene to leave. Irene does manage to break free for a brief while for after a long wait, a council house for her and Sam rewards them with a new home brim-full of hope and an intention to start a family.


But in a life crammed to the gills with disappointment, the young couple find they are infertile and despite the advances of HRT their local GP won’t prescribe such expensive fertility treatment. Irene’s life seems like a thick Littlewoods catalogue of such thwartings.

Irene’s life is told in a series of flashbacks to the 60s and early 70s, with a soundtrack of Billy J. Kramer and Rod Stewart in a time of romantic meals washed down with Mateus Rosé wine and people tottering around on platform soles. This wash of memories is interspersed by brief, highly intense glimpses of Irene’s present life of sufferance over the span of twenty-five hours when the heating fails and she is forced to clean her incontinent mother by joining her in a cold shower.

Hour by hour we feel the wearing, wearying, spirit-breaking nature of the daily grind. Fortuitously, Judith Barrow has put us very much on Irene’s side, batting for her, and it comes as enormous relief when life finally picks up for her and this turns into an ultimately redemptive novel.

The cover blurb suggests this is a book about a ‘Mother and daughter tied together by shame and secrecy; love and hate’ and it’s all that and more and I won’t spoil the tightly wrought and finely controlled plot by revealing the biggest secret of all but will say the reveal is very deftly handled.

The writing throughout The Memory is clear, uncluttered and unadorned and it’s interesting to see how Barrow manages to flesh out Irene’s life without slathering on the psychology but rather by sticking to the story.

You put the book down having got to know a woman who melds steel with sensitivity and find yourself wishing her well, as a better future unrolls deservedly before her and the long, long suffering is finally over.

The Memory by Judith Barrow is published by Honno and can be bought here.

7 thoughts on “Walking the Walk #Pembrokeshire Coast National Park #Walking #Outdoors #Memories #The Memory

  1. Loved that, Judith. Inset our to walk the Pembrokeshire path in my early 20s. Train from Manchester and then began it at Tenby. Tent on my back, got as far as Freshwater east and met a girl on the beach. We were getting on wonderfully and she invited me back to stay at her place… but changed her mind in the car!
    She dropped me off at a B&B she knew and negotiate me a very cheap rat. She kissed me goodbye and left.
    The following morning, I got a bus to Fishguard and began the last section of the walk… and met a Manchester lass two days further on. This did work out and, at the end of our holiday, she drove me back to Manchester. We stayed together for a while.
    Happy memories!


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