St David's Cottages

With a population of 1,800 this is Britain's smallest city; the title of "city" was formally conferred by Her Majesty the Queen on 1 June 1995. St David's Cathedral has been the dominant presence since the C12th century and was a pilgrimage destination throughout the middle ages.

The monastic community was founded by Saint David who died in 589. In 1081, William the Conqueror visited St David's and in 1115, with the area under Norman control, construction of a new Cathedral began which was consecrated in 1131.

The present Cathedral was begun in 1181 and was further modified in the first half of the C14th, with the rood screen and the Bishop's Palace, which is now a picturesque ruin. In 1793 restoration of the West Front was carried out but within a century it had become unstable and the whole building was restored between 1862 and 1870.

Ramsey Island is about 2 miles long and lies off the coast of the St David's peninsula; it is a RSPB Reserve and has cliffs up to 120m high, the perfect place for breeding seabirds in spring and early summer.

The island is awash with colour from May to September, with bluebells, then pink thrift and purple heather and choughs and peregrines can be seen nesting on the cliffs. Seabird colonies are in full swing in the summer; guillemots and razorbills are on the ledges until mid-July and kittiwakes and fulmars stay into August.

And if you visit in the autumn, you can watch a colony of breeding grey seals with the white fur-clad pups on the beaches. Boats cross (weather permitting) from the Lifeboat Station at St Justinians at 10 am and 12 pm, returning at 4 pm.

Other boat trips are also available from here providing guided marine tours of the inshore and offshore islands together with short and long haul fishing trips for novices and professionals and traditional cruises of 1½ to 2 hours duration.

About 10 miles north-east of St David's is Melin Tregwynt, a white washed wool mill in a wooded valley near the coast; there has been a mill on this site since the C17th when local farmers would bring their fleeces to be spun into yarn and woven into blankets.

Today traditional Welsh designs are transformed with beautiful colour and innovative design and the mill shop stocks simple stylish clothing, accessories and bags, blankets, throws and cushions.



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