An early summer morning, sparrows clamorous among the ivy, in the sunlit garden of Ye Olde Worlde Cafe in Bosherston is one small version of heaven, even though its long-term proprietor, Mrs Weston, immaculately made-up and coiffured, endlessly inquisitive, has passed on, doubtless to serve her good tea in the latter place. I still come here each year, in pilgrimage, to a region where I’ve spent so much time over more than 50 years. At first it was for the climbing on gothically sculpted limestone sea cliffs – a thrilling adventure playground of stacks, arches, caves and buttresses. But, as Wordsworth wrote, “That time is past, / And all its aching joys are now no more, / And all its dizzy raptures.”
Limestone has other gifts. Its spring and early summer flowers in their variety and profusion are a magnet for devotees of nature in Wales. In few places is that truth more manifest than in the woods and grassy slopes around lily ponds that stretch from below Bosherston to the fine, headland-enclosed bay of Broad Haven.
The headland-enclosed bay of Broad Haven. Photograph: Jim Perrin
I walked down a sunken way from the village, the garlic scent of ramsons mingling with that of May blossom already fading from its first brilliant white and hinting at the putrid trimethylamine odour that explains its Welsh name of “blodau marw mam” (mother’s death flow …