The Pembrokeshire Coast Path (Welsh: Llwybr Arfordir Sir Benfro), also often called the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, is a designated National Trail in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales. It was established in 1970, and is 186 miles (299 km) long, mostly at cliff-top level, with a total of 35,000 feet (11,000 m) of ascent and descent. At its highest point – Pen yr afr, on Cemaes Head – it reaches a height of 574 feet (175 m), and at its lowest point – Sandy Haven crossing, near Milford Haven – it is just 6 feet (2 m) above low water. Whilst most of the coastline faces west, it offers – at varying points – coastal views in every direction of the compass.
The southern end of the path is at Amroth, Pembrokeshire. The northern end is often regarded as being at Poppit Sands, near St. Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire, where the official plaque was originally sited but the path now continues to St. Dogmaels, where a new marker was unveiled in July 2009. Here the path links with the Ceredigion Coast Path, which continues northwards.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path forms part of the Wales Coast Path, an 870-mile (1,400 km) long-distance walking route around the whole coast of Wales from Chepstow to Queensferry, which was officially opened in 2012.
|Pembrokeshire Coast Path|
View from the Pembrokeshire Coast Path on Marloes peninsula
|Length||186 mi (299 km)|
|Designation||UK National Trail|
|Trailheads||Poppit Sands, near St. Dogmaels, Ceredigion|
Following the establishment of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in 1952, Welsh naturalist and author Ronald Lockley surveyed a route around the coast. Although there were villages and settlements on the coast, communication between these was largely by boats, and access in the region was generally poor. Lockley's report for the Countryside Commission in 1953 was welcomed and broadly adopted. Some sections of the walk were existing rights-of-way, but the majority were in private hands, necessitating negotiation. Most landowners were in favour, and many benefitted from the erection of new fencing. Even today, however, the path in places detours from the obvious line where landowners were unwilling to accept a new right-of-way across their land.
Completion of the path took 17 years, and this work included the erection of more than 100 footbridges and 479 stiles, and the cutting of thousands of steps into steep or slippery sections.
When opened by Wynford Vaughan-Thomas on 16 May 1970, the length of the path was given as 180 miles (290 km), but over the years there have been a number of Footpath Diversion Orders which have extended it to its current length of 186 miles (299 km).
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path lies almost entirely within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park — Britain's only coastal national park. Throughout its length it covers a range of maritime landscapes, from rugged and steep limestone cliffs and volcanic headlands to sheltered red sandstone coves, flooded glacial valleys, winding estuaries, and wide-open beaches. The path passes 58 beaches and 14 harbours.
As far as possible the route runs close to the cliff edge and coast, but this is not possible at all times; on occasion the coast is barely in sight where the path briefly detours round industrial or military areas. It does not include any of the coast inland of the Cleddau Bridge, missing about 50 miles of coastline around the estuary.
The walking is not strenuous, but there are constant undulations and narrow sections, including many stiles. In its entirety the Coast Path represents a considerable physical challenge — its 35,000 feet (11,000 m) of ascent and descent is said to be equivalent to climbing Everest. There are two low-tide crossings, at Dale and Sandy Haven, which require lengthy detours if not timed suitably.
Along the path are seaside towns and coastal villages, such as Tenby, St Davids, Solva and Newport. For backpackers attempting longer parts of the trail there are shops and campsites along the way, but food and water may need to be carried on some sections. There are small hotels and guest houses en route, and cottages for hire, often built in traditional styles.
For the vast majority of walkers, the coastal path is walked in shorter sections, and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park lists some 130 shorter circular walks on its website. Access to the coastal path (by bus or car) is possible in many locations. The whole coast is served by a number of dedicated walkers' bus services, which operate over the entire length of the path, including the Puffin Shuttle, the Coastal Cruiser, the Celtic Coaster, St David's Peninsula Shuttle Service, the Strumble Shuttle, and the Poppit Rocket.
Since the construction of the Cleddau Bridge across Milford Haven Waterway it is possible to walk the whole route of the trail without a break. The path, however, is not continuous in that it is not designated through built-up areas in the southern section, such as Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock, Tenby and Saundersfoot. There is also an undesignated section between St Dogmaels and Cardigan at the northern end of the path where Cardigan Bridge over the River Teifi is the nearest point to the coast between the Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion Coast Paths.
Listed from north to south:
There are a number of smaller trails very near the Coast Path, which often take users inland on shorter routes; these include:
All the rocks underlying the surface are more than 300 million years old, but the coastline as seen today has been much subjected to the effects of coastal and river action and, in places, to events which occurred during the Ice Age.
The oldest igneous and volcanic Precambrian granites outcrop on Ramsey and at the southern tip of the peninsula. Later Cambrian sedimentation produced sandstones, visible on the northern coast of St. Brides Bay (and which were used in the building St David's Cathedral). Subsequent Ordovician fine muds dominate the northern Pembrokeshire coast, but volcanic activity has complicated the whole. The later Silurian Period saw the creation of limestone and shale, visible along the southern Marloes peninsula. The coast of St Brides Bay is backed by Coal Measures rocks dating from the late Carboniferous Period as is the coast between Tenby and Amroth and the upper reaches of the Cleddau. Much of the rest of Milford Haven is fronted by Old Red Sandstone from the preceding Devonian Period along with all of the Dale peninsula and Skokholm Island. Carboniferous Limestone dating from the early Carboniferous forms much of the southern coast traversed by the coast path notably between Freshwater West and Stackpole and between Lydstep and Tenby.
Subsequent earth movements, erosion by ice and water, and changes in sea level have further affected what we see today.
During the spring and early summer the path displays an array of wild coastal flowers, and there is a wealth of bird life. Colonies of seabirds nest along the cliffs, and a variety of European seabirds are supported by the uninhabited offshore islands that act as bird sanctuaries, such as Skomer, Skokholm and Ramsey Island. Seals, porpoises and dolphins can often be spotted swimming offshore.
Remnants of Neolithic cromlechs and hut circles can be seen on the path, as can evidence of Bronze Age settlement, by which time the peninsula was being used as a connection to Ireland. Iron Age settlers, probably originating in France, are responsible for the number of coastal promontory fortifications visible today. The evidence of later human activity, such as Norman castles and settlements, and hermit churches, is also evident. Today almost all the surrounding land is farmed, and fishing still plays a role, albeit less prominent, in the coastal settlements.
The Coastal Path passes all of Pembrokeshire's award-winning beaches, Over the years these have been awarded 41 Blue Flag Awards (13 in 2011), 47 Green Coast Awards (15 in 2011) and 106 Seaside Awards (31 in 2011). In 2011 there were 39 beaches recommended by the Marine Conservation Society.
Carreg Samson (also known as Carreg Sampson, Samson's Stone, or the Longhouse) is a 5000-year-old Neolithic dolmen located half a mile west of Abercastle near the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales.Ceibwr Bay
Ceibwr Bay (Welsh: Bae Ceibwr) is a bay opening into the Irish Sea in Pembrokeshire, west Wales. It is about 7 km west of Cardigan, and 3 km south of the headland of Cemaes Head. It is owned by the National Trust, within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.Cistercian Way (Wales)
The Cistercian Way is a waymarked, long-distance trail which circumnavigates Wales, linking the Cistercian historic sites of Wales. It is a circular walk and can be started from any point along its route. The total length is approximately 650 miles (1,050 km).
The Cistercian Way started in May 1998 as part of the annual pilgrimage of the Society of St David and St Nicholas to Penrhys in the Rhondda as part of the celebrations of the 900th anniversary of the foundation of the Cistercian order.Tintern Abbey, founded by Walter de Clare in 1131, was the first Abbey to be built in Wales. One section of the route follows the medieval pilgrimage route from Llantarnam Abbey, built on the site of an old Cistercian monastery and now occupied by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy, to the shrine of Our Lady of Penrhys. Not far from the shrine is Ffynnon Fair (or St. Mary's Well), a holy well overlooking the village of Llwynypia and the oldest recorded Christian site in the Rhondda. The waters from the well were believed to have the ability to cure ailments. Neath Abbey was once the largest abbey in Wales.
The route includes both the coast and the hinterland of Wales, incorporating Conwy, Basingwerk Abbey, Valle Crucis and Strata Marcella abbeys, Abbeycwmhir, Grace Dieu, Tintern Abbey, Neath Abbey, Whitland, Strata Florida and Cymer Abbey.
It connects to many of Wales's other long-distance paths. The Coed Morgannwg Way and Saint Illtyd's Walk have terminus points near Margam Abbey. At Tenby one can take a boat over to the current Cistercian monastery on Caldey Island and access the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. The Monks' Trod in Mid Wales links Strata Florida Abbey in Ceredigion to Cwmhir Abbey to the east.Dinas Island
Dinas Island (Welsh: Ynys Dinas) is a peninsula, partially detached from the mainland, in the community of Dinas Cross between Fishguard and Newport, Pembrokeshire, in southwest Wales. It reaches a height of 466 feet (142 m) above sea level at Pen-y-fan, marked by a triangulation point. Although Dinas Head is the northernmost part of the promontory where the cliffs meet the sea, the name is sometimes loosely used to refer to this highest point. Dinas Island is contained within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the headland is under the care of the National Trust.Green Bridge of Wales
The Green Bridge of Wales(Pont Werdd Cymru) is a natural arch formed from Carboniferous Limestone within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is located in the Castlemartin military training area just beyond the car park at Stack Rocks(Creigiau Elegig) and beside the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.Huntsman's Leap
Huntsman's Leap is a deep, narrow and sheer-sided coastal chasm or geo developed in the Carboniferous Limestone of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Pembrokeshire, Wales. Like the nearby Green Bridge of Wales and St Govan's Chapel, it is a popular visitor attraction which lies beside the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. The site lies within the eastern sector of the Ministry of Defence's Castlemartin military training area but access for the public is normally available The name derives from local folklore, a hunter on horseback is said to have jumped from one side of the chasm to the other whilst being pursued. On looking back and seeing the gap that he had jumped, he died of shock.Marloes
Marloes is a village and parish in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, on the Marloes Peninsula 7 miles (11 km) west of the port of Milford Haven and forms the westernmost tip of the southern shore of St Brides Bay. It is within part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The parish has 6 miles (10 km) of mainland coastline accessible throughout by the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and, together with St Brides, constitutes the community of Marloes and St Brides (population 323 in 2001).Newgale, Pembrokeshire
Newgale (Welsh: Niwgwl) is a village with a three-mile stretch of beach in the parish of Roch, Pembrokeshire, West Wales. The beach is situated in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and has rugged coastal scenery with the path winding up and down the cliffs.
Newgale is one of over 40 Welsh 'Blue Flag' beaches, which means it has the top certification for quality, cleanliness and facilities.The beach is backed by a large pebble bank which was created by a major storm on 25 October 1859, and which acts as a sea defence or storm beach; however, it is often breached, and rocks are washed onto the main road. In the January 2014 storms the sea washed the pebble wall across the road and a large wave washed the early evening Richards Bros bus into the adjoining field. Newgale is popular with holiday makers, windsurfers, surfers and canoeists throughout the summer months.
There are two caravan parks, a camping site, some shops and a pub, The Duke of Edinburgh Inn. The surf at Newgale is good for beginners, with the waves usually backing off a bit even on large swell. Surfing is best on the rising tide.
The beach is a favourite place for the local people, who promenade on Boxing Day every year.
Many campers on lower ground experience flooding during rain in the summer months.
Newgale, along with Abereiddi, appeared in the music video Delerium - Silence (featuring Sarah McLachlan) 2004.Newgale marks the boundary between English and Welsh-speaking Pembrokeshire, with the next beach north of Newgale being called Pen-y-Cwm. A physical example of the boundary is Brandy Brook which runs through Newgale, splitting the English-speaking South Pembrokeshire and the Welsh-speaking North Pembrokeshire, remarked upon by Richard Fenton in his Historical Tour of 1810.Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park (Welsh: Parc Cenedlaethol Arfordir Penfro) is a national park along the Pembrokeshire coast in west Wales.
It was established as a National Park in 1952, and is the only one in the United Kingdom to have been designated primarily because of its spectacular coastline. It is one of three National Parks in Wales, the others being the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) and Snowdonia (Eryri).Penally
Penally (Welsh: Penalun) is a coastal village, parish and community 1 mile (1.6 km) southwest of Tenby in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The village is known for its Celtic Cross, Penally Abbey (a Gothic style country house), the neighbouring St. Deiniol's Well, WWI Practice trenches, and Penally Training Camp (World War I and World War II).Saundersfoot
Saundersfoot (Welsh: Llanussyllt) is a large village, community and electoral ward in Pembrokeshire, west Wales. It is near Tenby and they are two of the most visited Welsh holiday destinations. Saundersfoot lies in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.St Brides
St Brides (Welsh: Sain Ffraid) is a parish and small coastal village in Pembrokeshire, Wales, at the south of St Brides Bay, about 1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) north of the larger village of Marloes, with which it forms the Marloes and St. Brides community.
The village is in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and is on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.St David's Head
St Davids Head (Welsh: Penmaen Dewi) is a headland in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, southwest Wales, which marks the divide between the Irish Sea and the Celtic Sea. It is noted for its wildflowers and wildlife, and for the remains of ancient human settlement. The headland and its immediate hinterland are owned by the National Trust, and are accessible to the public by foot via the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.St Ishmaels
St Ishmaels or St Ishmael's (Welsh: Llanismel) is a village, parish and community close to the harbour of Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The community comprises most of the parish of St Ishmaels and had a population of 490 at the 2001 census. The ward includes the communities of Herbrandston, Dale and Marloes and St. Brides. The community was subsequently merged with other communities and only the ward remained with the name St Ishmael's. This covers the entire peninsula with at total population at the 2011 census of 1,405.
The parish church of the local Saint Ismael is outside the village, hidden in a small valley near the Haven. In the Age of the Saints, it may have been the seat of the bishop of the cantref of Rhos. As Llanismael, it was considered one of the principal dioceses of Dyfed under medieval Welsh law, second only to Menevia (modern St Davids). With the Norman conquest, St Ishmaels became part of the Lordship of Haverfordwest. The church is a grade II listed building The south, west and east of the parish is bordered by the Milford Haven estuary with numerous important bird and marine life within the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. The north boundary is mainly farmland used for both grazing and arable. Prince Charles's first footsteps on Welsh soil were at Lindsway Bay, to the south of the village with the royal yacht anchored off the beach.Strumble Head
Strumble Head (Welsh: Pen Strwmbl) is a rocky headland in the community of Pencaer in Pembrokeshire, Wales, within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. It marks the southern limit of Cardigan Bay. Three islands lie off the head: Ynys Meicel – 112 feet (34 m) – Ynys Onnen and Carreg Onnen.
Strumble Head, which is on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, comprises part of the Strumble Head - Llechdafad Cliffs Site of Special Scientific Interest and is one of the best sites in Britain to view cetaceans, particularly the porpoise which can be spotted in the tidal races around the headland with modest binoculars. Public cetacean watches are frequently organized by the Goodwick-based local marine wildlife conservationist Sea Trust. Seals can often be spotted. A wartime lookout post was converted as a shelter for wildlife fans and was opened by Bill Oddie in 1988. As well as marine mammels, the headland is a particularly good place to observe the passage of migrating birds, especially during the period from the end of July through to November.The adjacent coast has been the site of numerous shipwrecks. In 2003, a French shipwreck, possibly from the battle of Fishguard, was found nearby. The Bardse of the Pile of Fowdrey was wrecked off Strumble Head on 3 October 1763 laden with a cargo of iron and copper from Wicklow bound for Chepstow. In 1915, the barque Calburga, one of Canada's last square rigged sailing ships, was lost. The crew were able to get to safety on their lifeboat, leaving a dispersed area of wreckage, which remains off the coast some 1500m south-west of the lighthouse.The headland gives its name to Strumble Head Lighthouse on the island of Ynys Meicel, and Strumble VOR, a way-point in many transatlantic flights.Tenby
Tenby (Welsh: Dinbych-y-pysgod, meaning fortlet of the fish) is a walled seaside town in Pembrokeshire, Wales, on the western side of Carmarthen Bay.
Tenby is a local government community. Notable features include 2 1⁄2 miles (4.0 km) of sandy beaches and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, the 13th century medieval town walls, including the Five Arches barbican gatehouse, Tenby Museum and Art Gallery, the 15th century St. Mary's Church, and the National Trust's Tudor Merchant's House.
The town is served by Tenby railway station.
Boats sail from Tenby's harbour to the offshore monastic Caldey Island. St Catherine's Island is tidal and has a 19th century Palmerston Fort.Wales Coast Path
The Wales Coast Path (Welsh: Llwybr Arfordir Cymru) is a long-distance footpath which follows, or runs close to, the majority of the coastline of Wales. It opened on 5 May 2012, and offers a 870-mile (1,400 km) walking route from Chepstow in the south to Queensferry, Flintshire, in the north. Wales is the first country in the world to provide a dedicated footpath close to most of its coastline. The Path runs through eleven National Nature Reserves and other nature reserves, including those managed by The Wildlife Trusts or Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Lonely Planet rated the coast of Wales first in its Best in Travel: top 10 regions for 2012.Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales
The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW, Welsh: Ymddiriedolaeth Natur De a Gorllewin Cymru) is a Wildlife Trust in south and west Wales, one of 46 such Trusts in the United Kingdom.
WTSWW work in the Vice-counties of Glamorgan, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire. The suite of reserves includes the Melincwrt waterfalls (near Neath), Coed y Bwl (daffodil woods near Cardiff), Teifi Marshes (near Cardigan, including the Welsh Wildlife Centre, which has a cafe and shop, and is on the Cardigan-Cilgerran Offshoot trail of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path), Castle Woods in Llandeilo (with castle), and the islands of Skomer and Skokholm.
The trust is dedicated to working with volunteers and communities to protect habitats and species. Their work includes reviewing planning applications, managing over 80 reserves and providing advice to a wide variety of groups.
The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is a membership organisation with charitable status.
The Vision of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is:
“an environment rich in wildlife for everyone”.The Mission of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is:
“rebuild biodiversity and engage people with their environment”.The objectives of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales are:
To stand up for wildlife and the environment;
To create and enhance wildlife havens;
To inspire people about the natural world;
To foster sustainable living.Wisemans Bridge
Wisemans Bridge is a small hamlet and holiday resort on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path between Amroth and Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is part of the community and parish of Amroth.
Coastal paths of Great Britain
(England and Wales)
|Scotland's Great Trails|