Solva/Solfach is an exceptional spot in Pembrokeshire. Its distinctive, sinuous harbour mouth is a ‘ria’ – a drowned river valley from the Ice Age – whose steep sides and dramatic light contrast with much of south Wales’ gentle coastal scenery. The very name Solva could be Norse, dating from the Viking invasions: Sol Vo meaning ‘sunny fjord’.
The village once traded with Bristol and with Wexford across the Irish Sea. What is now a peaceful cove of bobbing boats was once a heaving industrial settlement (Solva retains its distinctive circular limekilns), a smugglers’ paradise (with its tortuous harbour mouth) and – most surprisingly of all – a transatlantic gateway (steamship passages to the USA were briefly sold here in the 1840s for £3 per adult)!
Nowadays, visitors dropping in from the surrounding Pembrokeshire Coast Path relax in one of the village’s four hostelries. Alternatively, they may browse the multicoloured portals of the sprawling Window on Wales emporium (modelled, it’s claimed, on the brightly coloured villas of Portmeirion in north Wales), or take in a cream tea at a local cafe or a spot of crabbing before setting out, fortified, on the clifftop path once again - have a look at our gallery of Solva images.
THREE SIDES OF SEA
Solva also makes an ideal base from which to spend a few days exploring the beautiful St Davids Peninsula – whether by touring, cycling, coasteering or on Pembrokeshire’s world-famous coastal path, which takes you through the contrasting seascapes of the peninsula’s three shores.
Exposed cliffs, beautiful beaches and coves, prehistoric vestiges and the post-industrial landscape of the promontory are all within a few miles of Haroldston House, and many accessible via Pembrokeshire's network of ‘Walkers’ Buses’.