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Using Nature's Compass

A user's guide to Britain's only coastal national park

Protected landscapes bring inspiration to the millions of people who visit Britain’s National Parks each year to stay and play in wild and spectacular places. The Pembrokeshire Coast, my lifetime home and stomping ground, remains the most special place that I’ve ever encountered despite travels to the four corners of the earth for work, surf and exploration – the landscape and people of the park have influenced my life and business in countless positive ways.

Changing times are driving changed thinking, and The Pembrokeshire Coast has an even more important role today, to inspire, reenergise and focus the minds and spirit of those who visit. The National Parks were created at a time when policy makers thought that it would be enough to protect a dozen or so of Britain’s most special areas – we’re coming to recognise now that the same principles need to apply to the way we look after our planet, as well as our National Parks.

We need to learn to tread differently as we walk through our ‘planet park’ and treat each ecosystem, specie and living thing as special, here for a purpose and with a right to life. We need to recognise that no amount of small actions, important though they are, can make the difference that’s needed, and that it’s time to re-imagine a way of living that would have nature want us to stay around.

Whilst enjoying the majesty and magic of the Pembrokeshire coast, hills and islands, take time to make conversation and talk of the things that will keep this jewel of nature special for generations to come. Reflect on American architect Bill McDonough question “how can we come to love all of the children of all species for all time?” and work out how we can holiday, work, life and play differently to do this. Take time to see nature through the eyes of Graham Sutherland at Oriel y Parc, and find out more about the St Davids Eco City Project’s work on rainwater harvesting, solar powering the school, making 100% plastic recycling possible, and more.

Take time in Pembrokeshire to draw breath and inspiration from time spent in nature. Use your experiences as a compass to steer a direction strong and true, and take memories of coast, flowers, beach, salt cliff and sand as sustenance for your journey, and bring your stories when you return. Hwyl fawr.

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