Newport (sometimes called Newport Pembs) is a delightful seaside resort situated on the North Pembrokeshire Coast between Cardigan and Fishguard in the county of Pembrokeshire, South-West Wales. Founded in 1197, Newport has since grown into a popular seaside resort and visitors will be spoilt for choice with the numerous shops, craft shops and art galleries within the town centre. Although no longer a port town, its Welsh name 'Trefdraeth', meaning 'Town of the Beach' accurately describes Newports' location. Newport sits on the estuary of the River Nevern, providing magnificent views of Cardigan Bay and further afield toward the Llyn Peninsula. With just over 1,122 inhabitants, it provides a quiet yet exciting retreat for all the family.
Newport is a bright, friendly, and busy town, with a variety of shops catering to different needs. From craft shops to antique shops, book shops, souvenir shops, surfing and water-sports shops and quaint coffee shops for watching the world go by, with plenty of restaurants for something a little more filling. For keen artists, there are several art galleries to be visited within Newport, where you can appreciate some of the best art to come out of Wales for many a year.
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
There is no shortage of walks in Newport, with trails criss-crossing the landscape, including a walks to the summit of Mynydd Carningli and along the valley of the River Nyfer. Nevertheless, the most popular walks are without doubt the walks along the beautiful coastline of Newport Bay and the Nyfer estuary. Hill walkers may choose the Preseli Hills, a range of hills in the northern part of Pembrokeshire, the highest peaks rise to 536 metres and historians will be impressed with the prehistoric remains of Neolithic settlements found among the hills.
For those with more long distance ambitions the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path (soon to incorporate the All Wales Coastal Path) weaves its way through Newport and along the rugged coastline.
Outdoor activities surrounding the estuary include kayaking, abseiling, boating and golfing, and the natural wildlife can be appreciated from many spots on the Newport beaches. With the increasing availability of sea kayaks and canoes, more and more are taking to the waters off Newport and the Welsh coast. No longer is the sea considered the sole domain of yachts and motor boats, and families and indeed anglers employ these smaller crafts to explore the coastline.
Beating the Bounds: Many attractions are to be found within Newport and the surrounding area of north Pembrokeshire. As mentioned in further detail below this historic town retains some of the ancient marcher customs and the mayoral beating of the bounds is a popular tourist attraction in late July and early August each year.
Newport Golf Club: Newport has its own Golf Links Club. Situated just a mere two minutes from the town centre and nestled under Carningli (mountain of the Angels) Newport Links Golf Club offers an outstanding 80 year old links course on the beautiful Nevern estuary
Newport Boating Club: Other sports and attractions to be found in Newport include the town's own boating club. Set in an old warehouse built between 1758 and 1825, the warehouse was purchased by the Newport Boating Club in 1976. With a friendly atmosphere, the Boating Club includes sports such as rowing, fishing, canoeing, and sailing or simply hiring a boat and rowing at your own pace around the estuary. Shower and washroom facilities are up to an excellent standard and the Boating Club has its own bar, where you can take a break away from the water and enjoy the views of the estuary.
Newport's Eco Centre: Established in 1980, the centre has plenty of ideas and suggestions on cutting your energy, including projects emphasising environmental education, fuel poverty and renewable energy.
Pentre Ifan: Pentre Ifan, just 2 miles from the town, is well worth a visit for its Neolithic dolmen, a single-chamber megalithic tomb that attracts many visitors throughout the year.
Pembrokeshire Coastal Path: Pembrokeshire is renowned for its Coastal Path and the attraction to walkers is obvious. You will see seals on almost any walk along the local cliff sections of the Coastal Footpath, at any time of year. Dolphins and porpoises roll in the bay and in the summer months when the sea is calm sizeable groups or 'pods' can be seen in the waters beneath the cliffs. Many stretches of the coastal cliffs abound with bird life, and attract bird-watchers during the summer months.
Church of St Mary Magdalene: A little further afield, the St Mary Magdalene Church in the Parish of Wiston, is a sight to be appreciated when visiting or staying at Newport. Founded by 'Wizo the Fleming' (yes that was his real name) during the 12th century, soon after he built the neighbouring castle.
In the early 12th century the Norman invaders under the leadership of Robert FitzMartin captured Nevern (Nanhyfer), a Welsh motte and bailey castle, located just a few miles from the present town of Newport. Nevern castle was strengthened by FitzMartin as the Marcher Lord established his hold on south west Wales. By the late 12th century the Welsh under the Lord Rhys had recaptured the castle from the FitzMartins and banished the Normans from Nevern. The Anglo-Normans however, by now under the leadership of William FitzMartin, did not move far, and in 1197 they established a new castle, a town and a church some few miles south west at Trefdraeth (town of the beach) ... the present town of Newport.
Newport Castle remained within the FitzMartin family until the death of the last family member, William, in 1326. The castle suffered many attacks during the turbulent history of south west Wales causing the stone walls to be rebuilt several times until eventually we arrive at the present structure which is part castle and part home. The castle is owned by the current Lady Marcher of Cemais, and is only rarely open to the public. The impressive residence, constructed between the old gatehouse towers, is viewable from the surrounding area only.
The town of Newport became a "marcher" borough and continues to be so to this day. Indeed, the Mayor of Newport, population 1,122 and the Mayor of London, population several million, are the only two civic heads in the United Kingdom still appointed to office. The Marcher Lord selects the mayor on November 9th from a list of four names submitted by burgesses of the town. One of the responsibilities of the Mayor is the "Beating of the Bounds", a custom dating from the 5th century when the boundaries of a parish were established. Today, walking the boundaries takes place in Newport annually. The procession of town folk and children halt at boundary marks where small boys are whipped and afterward treated with cakes, so they will always remember where the boundaries are located. This, I might add, is now only symbolically done at one place on the boundary walk.
Accommodation and Services
There is plenty of accommodation to be found in Newport and the surrounding countryside. For a quiet break away, you have the choice of hotels or holiday cottages within Newport or the surrounding countryside of North Pembrokeshire. There is a also a comfortable hostel within Newport for a holiday away that won't impact too much on your bank account! Wherever you stay, you can be guaranteed to have an enjoyable and relaxing stay in Newport.