Belhaven House Hotel

About Pembrokeshire and the Hotel

 

Belhaven is at the centre of Milford Haven (town) which itself lies on the north shore of the Milford Haven Waterway.
          This deep river estuary was the means of access for the Norwegian Vikings who annexed all the valuable land, easily reached from river and coast, and drove the Welsh ( north european term for foreigners) into the hill country.

Vikings


The Vikings may have been enticed by reports of deposits of gold, silver, lead, copper,iron and coal in the County and a history of metal smelting. Bronze was produced at Walesland (East Hook ) Rath near Haverfordwest 2000 years earlier.

          After the American War of Independence, half of the Nantucket,Mass. whaling fleet settled in Calais, to supply Paris with their finest of white candles.

Nantucket

Lord Hamilton, who had obtained a charter to build a town on the north bank of the Waterway here, induced the second half of the fleet to come here with their schooners and he would build the town specifically for them. The cousins from  Calais then came with their whaling ships to join them.This became Milford Haven, a major whaling station and ensured a supply of the ultra white candles for London. This period is considered the first oil age.

Lord Hamilton


Early in the 1800s Lord Nelson came, on request, to MIlford with Lord & Lady
Hamilton (Emma Hart) and made a promotional speech, at the Lord Nelson Hotel,
just down the street.  He was so impressed with the Waterway that he stationed the Fleet here, for ease of access to the Western Approaches. Later the Royal Dockyard was moved up-river to Pembroke Dock, where 5 Royal Yachts were built and 263 other Royal Navy vessels.

oil tanker

The second oil age was when four refineries were built here in the 1950s & '60s for shipments of crude oil incoming by ship from the Middle East, South America and later the North Sea. By the Millenium, two of these refineries had ceased operations.
          But, 2002 saw the start of the gas age. And now in 2010 we have  the first  two LNG re-gasification terminals  on stream, and feeding through the new 4 foot diameter stainless steel pipeline, into the main gas network near Gloucester, in England 200 miles away. The contract is for 9.4 Million tons/year of liquid gas from Qatar, for 25 years for South Hook LNG.

Dragon LNG is supplied from Malaysia.
          Work has started on the 2,000 megawatt (LNG) gas-fired power-station, which will stand on the land, formerly occupied by an oil-fired power-station, just upstream from the Chevron Refinery. It will take a few years to complete such a large project.

It is possible that this will be followed by the Atlantic Array Wind Farm project in the Bristol Channel just south -east of here. The envisaged output of this could be 1.5 giga-watts and provide jobs on both the Welsh and Devon coasts for years to come.

LNG

When we arrived here in '77, al;most no Welsh was spoken south of the Vikings county (Landsker) line, but Welsh ( the language of the Britons) was still first language north of that line, which is demarcated by Norman French castles.

Norman French Castles


This was much the case in the last 30 years of the 20th. century but is much diluted in recent years by the influx of people from England, in search of the better life-style, that is enjoyed in Pembrokeshire.   But Pembrokeshire has its own, strong identity, their own flag and are very proud to be from Pembrokeshire

pembrokeshire

Visitors, coming by road from the M4, must take care to turn left ( westward)
at the new Carmarthen Tesco Extra store, on the junction of the A48 and A40.  It is only sign-posted for St. Clears, the little town which marks the end of the dual carriageway.  At St.Clears the road divides, and one can take the A40 which runs north of the river Cleddau( pronounced Cle thy) to Haverfordwest, and then down on the A4076 to Milford.            

             

Or one can take the  A477, which runs south of the river  to Pembroke Dock and then over the Cleddau tollbridge to join the A4076 on the outskirts of Milford at the Horse & Jockey pub, right by the Steynton Church and the National Express coach stop

Cleddau Toll bridge

From there it is only a couple of miles into Milford or Aberdaucleddau in Welsh and that is ABER( the mouth of) DAU (two) CLEDDAU(sword)  -The Mouth of the two Swords. And if you look ,on the map, upstream the river divides at Picton Castle. So we have the Eastern Cleddau which goes under the A40 at Canaston Bridge (near Blackpool Mill Tea-rooms, Oakwood Theme park and Blue Lagoon Water park ) and the Western Cleddau which is navigable for small craft right up to Haverfordwest,the County Town,  also on the A40.

Hamilton Terrace is that part of the A4076, that runs along the north river-bank, and overlooks the Milford 2000 Marina and the Waterway. In the overgrown foreshore in front of Belhaven up to the British Legion Club house can be seen badgers, rabbits, foxes and grey squirrels. Twice we have seen a collar-ed dove fall prey to a peregrine falcon in our own carpark.

hamilton terrace

Visitors from London area should allow 5 to 6 hours for a comfortable journey. We are 265 miles from the Barbican Centre,London.

          Milford Haven is THE touring centre for the whole of Pembrokeshire. Any venue can be reached by car or motorbike within 35 minutes.

There are Puffin and Shuttle buses for those who do not have or do not wish to use their own transport. And Pembrokeshire, like the rest of South Wales is well served with cycle paths.

Milford Haven

Milford is also an excellent base from which Walkers tackle the 180 miles of the famous Coastal Path, within the National park, which boasts breath-taking scenery, and many of Nature's wonders to observe: big furry caterpillars, birds both native and migrant, butterflies, bats, dragonflies, wild flowers every month of the year, seal pups, dolphins, porpoise, turtles, orcas, minke & sei whales & sunfish.

For the more energetic, many beaches are accessible for scuba diving, wind-surfing and some of the best surf in the UK.

Skomer

 

For Yachtsmen this Waterway is ideal, in fair weather , one heads downstream, in blue water towards the harbour mouth 9 miles away, and the offshore islands of Skomer, Skokholm & Grassholm.

In foul weather, there are still 15 miles upstream, with broad reaches right into the old Cambrian forest and numerous riverside pubs.

See " Cumberlidge on Cruising" Motor Boat & Yachting. July 1998.
         "We were anchored over a dozen miles from the sea, in the far south west of Wales, enjoying the peaceful upper reaches of Milford Haven. This grand expanse of water somehow manages to remain one of the best kept boating secrets around our coast.

Milford Haven

Milford Haven

Those who don't know Milford Haven, sometimes have a slightly industrial picture in their minds, perhaps from association with the oil business. But although you pass long jetties and complex refineries in the middle reaches, the overall atmosphere in the Haven is one of unspoilt country and clean sheltered water. The Haven, afterall, lies within Pembrokeshire National Park, one of the most protected areas in Britain.

If you've never pottered about here before, it's well worth calling for a few days. Neither the Haven nor the spectacular Pembrokeshire coast will disappoint.You can find secluded anchorages, room to breath and a warm Celtic welcome."

Milford Haven

Golfers have a good 28 hole course, which is rated by many enthiusiasts for excellent greens and stunning views of the estuary.

          For the children, there is a variety of theme parks, Oakwood for thrills, Folly Farm for animals, Heatherton for fun, Manor Park for wildlife, Tenby for dinosaurs, not forgetting the Chocolate Farm (Pemberton's) at Llanboidy, and the Bluestone
Waterpark is open to non-residents.

          Horse-riding is popular on beaches and bridle paths, and there are even Golden Palominos at the Western riding school, Llawhaden.

          There are guided walks on the northern hills viz. The Pembrokeshire Wizard.

          Cliff-climbing is done on the south coast near St. Govan's Head, and many major mountain ascents begin with prepatory practice on this 10 mile section.

St. David's peninsular is the centre for Coasteering - as seen on Blue Peter.

Pembrokeshire is also King Arthur country, for nearby Grassholm Island has been identified as "The Enchanted Isle" and the burial site of Gawain, the Green Knight is only three miles away ( called Walwyn's Castle).
The whole County is enchanting.

Belhaven House Hotel

Belhaven House Hotel Milford Haven

The hotel was built in 1797, as the home of the surgeon to the Whaling fleet.
As a family run hotel of 9 bedrooms, since 1978, we have a very considerable base of repeat business, mainly commercial, but quite a few leisure, and even some of the commercial clients return during their holidays with wife and family to show them this pretty place, they have only  heard about, where the breakfasts are so scrumptious. Evening snacks may be served by arrangement.

Belhaven Bar

The theme of the bar/restaurant is nautical and all but one of the pictures or prints have been provided by the guests. Likewise the vast range of music, from all around the world, has been supplied by the guests, and they know a change of music often denotes a new arrival.

          The front of this terraced building is white, picked out in red, and weather  permitting we usually have a Pembrokeshire flag flying.  Swedish people have asked us why we have one of their flags with a Tudor rose in the centre.
Formerly we had a red canopy over our two front doors, both as shelter and as a marker in this long street of mainly flat-fronted buildings. But in these days of SATNAVs and postcodes, they suffice.
         
          Bar/dining room is on the ground floor, with a good view of the
passing ships and yachts. There are also three groundfloor bedrooms( Nos.1,7 & 8), handy for those who have difficulty with the stairs.

          At the rear of the building, off the west side street of Fulke Street( SA73 2HH)
is a carpark for six vehicles. There is rear access to the hotel, but on arrival, it is best to offload heavy/bulky luggage at the front door first and collect your key which will operate your bedroom, front and back doors and the car park gates.

          All the rooms are ensuite with TV, tea/coffee etc.
On the first floor is one rear family suite (Room 10)which comprises a bathroom leading to a double bedded room, leading to a single bedded room.

There is one front double room (No.9) and the Residents Lounge which both overlook the Waterway and Marina, useful vantage points for  night photography of the kaleidescope of multi-coloured lights reflected in the often mirror flat estuary.

That lounge on the first floor has widescreen TV/Video & DVD. There is a small range of DVDs and stacks of books, chess, draughts, dominoes, Dungeons & Dragons, cards, Monoploy and a couple of binoculars for viewing the yachts,ferries,and swans & wild ducks.

          On the second floor is one single ensuite(No.12), two double ensuites( Nos.5 & 11), both with river views and one double( No.6) to the rear (very quiet).

          Come and see us and have fun at the "unique" BELHAVEN.

Safety

          The hotel is monitored by a 32 detector L2 fire alarm system, so even though this is a non-smoking hotel, any smoke or fume should be picked before any real danger could occur and the area of the outbreak indicated for speedy attention.

          It will be noticed that each section of stairs and landings is fitted with carpets of different texture and pattern. This is to draw the attention of visually impaired folks to changes of level or direction, so that they are fore-warned.

          We were granted  a GOLD standard Welsh Food Hygiene Award in 2009,
indicating our attitude to safety in the purchase, preparation, handling and storage of food for our customers and ourselves.