Solva lies on the north side of St Bride's Bay in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, just over 3 miles south of St Davids. Lying on a deep ravine it is naturally divided into two parts: Upper Solva, mainly modern development, and Lower Solva, a long shopping street ending in the harbour.
With sheltered anchorage the harbour has evolved from an extensive trading port into a very busy tourist boating centre. Historically, Solva was the main trading centre of St Bride's Bay and was important for lime burning. Several lime kilns are still preserved in the harbour area.
Today, a wide range of maritime activities is available including sea trips, kayaking, dinghy sailing and diving. Solva Sailboats is a Royal Yachting Association recognised teaching centre for dinghy, keelboat and powerboat tuition. Every year on Easter Monday there is a charity Duck Race.
The long main street is full of excellent shops, restaurants and pubs. There is a large artistic community and several galleries. Of particular interest is Solva Woollen Mill, the oldest working woollen mill in Pembrokeshire with over 100 years of weaving expertise. Features include the original restored 10ft waterwheel, tuition in weaving, a tea room and shop.
Walks in the Area
Around the town the spectacular coastline and cliffs are popular with walkers enjoying the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and the Cambrian rocks attract amateur and professional geologists. The cliffs and headlands are carpeted with wild flowers in spring such as thrift, sea campion, sea plantain and spring squill. Bluebells and foxgloves appear later in May. Peregrine Falcon and Chough breed in the area. See our Birdwatching in West Wales pages for more information.
Worthwhile walks in the area are Nine Wells Valley: a steep valley down to the sea with the coastal fort of Porth-y-Rhaw at the bottom. St Elvis Farm to Pen-y-Cwm is a magnificent stretch of coast which takes in the jutting headlands of Dinas Fawr and Dinas Fach, linking Solva to Newgale.
The Caerbwdy Valley is a beautiful sheltered valley running down to the sea a mile east of St Davids. Stone is still cut from the seaward end of the valley for repairs to St Davids Cathedral. The Gribin Headland between the valleys of the Solva and Gribin rivers affords fantastic views and has an imposing iron-age earthwork on its summit.