Opened in 1970, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path was the first National Trail in Wales and is one of 15 National Trails in Britain.
It stretches for approximately 186 miles from St Dogmeals to Amroth, passes 58 beaches along the way and many a charming town & village, including Tenby, St Davids, Solva and Newport. If you were to do it all in one go, the whole of the Pembrokeshire coastline would take 10 to 15 days to walk! So most people tend to choose to do a small section of it to begin with.
The National Trust provide easy to follow guides for some of the best walking trails in Pembrokeshire, the one we have chosen below covers St David's Head coastal walk. An area of untouched, stunning, ever-changing beauty; depending on which point of the path you have reached you will witness the beauty from all angles. We have provided their concise directions below, but read the full article on their website here
Route length: 3.8 miles
Time: 1hr 15mins
Start at Whitesands beach or carpark...
- From Whitesands, go through a gap in the wall on passing the site of St Patrick's Chapel. Climb a sandy slope up on to the cliff path. After about ½ mile (0.8km) you reach a kissing gate and National Trust sign. Continue to the crest of the hill.
- From here, see Coetan Arthur silhouetted against the sky. St David's Head is forged of very old volcanic rock, some of it dates back almost 500 million years. This geology is best represented by Carn Llidi, the towering jagged outcrop, or tor, and in the rocky islands of Ramsey, Bishops and Clerks several miles out to sea. Our main route sticks to the coast, descending into the valley ahead via broad steps to a spring above the tiny cove of Porth Melgan. An alternative route heads gently uphill round the back of Carn Llidi with fine views to the east, or adventurous souls can scramble to the summit of this peak.
- Cross the stream by a bridge and turn right or north-east to walk up this valley. This area can be slippery and muddy in winter.
- To your right is a marshy area with the typical 'dinosaur egg' shapes of purple moor grass or 'rhos pasture', green in summer and earthy coloured in winter. Higher up, on the flanks of Carn Llidi, you can see ancient field patterns. Look out for birds like stonechat, meadow pipit and skylark in clumps of reedbed and willow. The rare Dartford warbler has also been seen in recent years.
- At the highest point here, the peak of Pen Beri and the expanse of Cardigan Bay appears in the distance. Two headlands away is the winking lighthouse of Strumble Head with the peak of Garn Fawr above it. Descend to rejoin the coast path and turn left towards St David's Head.
- On the plateau a remarkable rockscape opens up. Jagged erratic rocks are mirrored by the rugged profile of Ramsey Island out to sea. North of Ramsey are the 'Bishops and Clerks', little islets, one of which is home to a big lighthouse. Offshore, you might be lucky enough to spot porpoise or dolphin playing in the waves.
- The route eventually passes Coetan Arthur and descends to an Iron Age coastal fort at the end of the peninsula. Continue on the coast path, returning to Porth Melgan. Retrace your route from here back to Whitesands beach.