- The National Trails
- Cleveland Way
- Cotswold Way
- England Coast Path
- Glyndŵr's Way
- Hadrian's Wall Path
- North Downs Way
- Offa's Dyke Path
- Peddars Way / Norfolk Coast Path
- Pembrokeshire Coast Path
- Pennine Bridleway
- Pennine Way
- South Downs Way
- South West Coast Path
- Thames Path
- The Ridgeway
- Yorkshire Wolds Way
Trail Information and FAQs
We have tried to provide answers to the most common questions about the Trail here. If you can't find the information you are looking for please contact us directly and we'll do our best to help.
About the Trail
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail is a long distance walking route. Its 186 miles (300 km) twist and turn through some of the most breathtaking coastal scenery in Britain. Lying almost entirely within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park —Britain’s only coastal national park – the trail displays an array of coastal flowers and bird life, as well as evidence of human activity from Neolithic times to the present.
The Trail starts in St Dogmaels in the north and ends at Amroth in the south, taking in almost every kind of maritime landscape from rugged cliff tops and sheltered coves to wide-open beaches and winding estuaries.
You can find out more about the Trail by visiting the Pembrokeshire Coast Path website.
The official guidebook recommends a twelve day route (at around 15 miles (24 Km) each day). This is quite a challenging pace day after day and it is worth planning for at least some shorter days or spreading the walk over a series of visits.
Many sections of the Trail make a good circular or 'there and back' walk. You can make use of the walker buses to walk one way and get the bus back. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s website includes around 200 circular walks with free downloadable maps. Many of these routes are based on the Coast Path.
We don’t hold a record, and we don’t encourage people to run the Trail as it is rough and steep in places.
In its entirety the Coast Path represents a formidable physical challenge - its 35,000 feet of ascent and descent is said to be equivalent to climbing Everest — yet it can also be enjoyed in shorter sections, accessible to people of all ages and abilities, with the small coastal villages strung out along its length offering welcome breaks and added enjoyment.
With all of the alternative routes for high tides, storm and firing ranges, the total maintained length is over 193 miles (312 Km). Depending on conditions and circumstances walkers will cover between 168 (270 Km) and 186 miles (300 Km) of the route. Once you have added on the walk to and from Trail to accommodation the figure is likely to be well over 200 miles (322 Km).
The National Park’s Recreation Management section guide Coast Path maintenance. The National Trail Officer walks the Coast Path every year and notes the works needed for the next year. The three Area Senior Rangers co-ordinate the work with farmers and Warden teams. Four Warden Teams carry out the work on the Coast Path. Extra staff are taken on in the summer to help cut back the undergrowth.
The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) provide 100% funding for the National Trail Officer and improvement works. Routine maintenance is funded 75% by WAG & NRW, 25% by the National Park.
Maintaining the Coast Path is an all-year-round job. In the summer we cut the grass and weeds. (Weeds can grow up to 5 feet high and block the Path). We also do some essential repairs in the summer. We carry out routine repairs and renewals of stiles etc in the winter. Every year parts of the path become unsafe due to cliff falls.
Exploring the Trail
Buses and trains call at Carmarthen or Haverfordwest. From here use the bus to reach the ends of the Coast Path at either Cardigan, near St Dogmaels in the north or Amroth in the south.
It is also possible to get the train to Whitland or Carmarthen then to Kilgetty and either walk or get a taxi to Amroth. At Poppit/St Dogmaels pick up the Poppit Rocket to Fishguard and walk down the hill to Goodwick (Port) train station.
See the Transport page for more information.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path has something to offer all the year round and many people prefer to walk when it's cooler in spring or autumn, or even on exhilarating winter days. The best time depends very much on you, your interests and whether you enjoy the busy holiday season or would prefer to come during the quieter months. In summer it can be difficult to find accommodation especially for single nights, so you are advised to book well in advance.
Spring is best for seeing migrating and breeding birds and wild flowers. Autumn is good for migrating birds, and seeing seal pups.
Many people walk the route from St Dogmael's in the north to Amroth in the south. Most of the guidebooks are written this way, and stiles and gates are numbered in this direction. But there is no right or wrong way – plenty of people enjoy walking it in the other direction.
Other points to consider include:
- When walking from north to south, the first day's walk from St Dogmaels to Newport is around 16 miles and covers about 3,000 feet of ascent and descent.
- If walking from south to north the first day from Amroth provides many opportunities for refreshment and accommodation. The 16 mile stretch from Amroth to Skrinkle is quite a challenging day in itself. There are many steep hills but there is a pub at least every 4 miles and many cafes. The town of Tenby has many choices for an early overnight if body or equipment are suffering.
- There are no refreshments or services close to the Trail between Poppit and Newport Sands. This is the most challenging section of the Coast Path and not a walk for the unfit. Novice walkers would be well advised to book accommodation in advance at Moylegrove and split this walk into two 8 mile stretches.
Proper walking boots are recommended as the Trail is rough in places. Waterproofs are advised as weather can change rapidly. Sun block is advisable even on dull days. Plan on carrying around a litre of water each day.
You don’t really need a map to follow the Coast Path although you may want to take a guidebook and/or map with you. Global positioning systems get a good signal on the Coast Path.
Walkers are advised that the mobile phone signal is unreliable or nonexistent on much of the coast. 3G reception is also unreliable.
The entire Pembrokeshire Coast Path follows a series of defined Rights of Way along which you have a legal right of access.
An acorn is the symbol of the National Trails and it will be found at regular intervals along the Trail.
When using the Pembrokeshire Coast Path you will see the following symbols on the Trail or on connecting paths, which can be used by vehicles, horse riders, cyclists or walkers as indicated.
An acorn, the symbol of Britain's National Trails, is used to guide your journey by marking the route in a variety of ways. It is used in conjunction with coloured arrows or the words 'footpath', 'bridleway' or 'byway' to indicate who can use a particular right of way.
The yellow arrow indicates a path for use by walkers The word 'footpath' and/or a yellow arrow indicates a path for use by walkers only and where, without the landowner's permission, it is illegal to cycle, ride a horse or drive a vehicle.
The blue arrow indicates a path which can be used by walkers, horseriders and cyclists The word 'bridleway' and/or a blue arrow indicates a path which can be used by walkers, horseriders and cyclists but where, without the landowner's permission, it is illegal to drive any vehicle.
To report a problem on the trail go to the ‘report a problem’ page. From here you will need to identify where the problem is on the map, and add some details. If you want to be informed about progress to resolve the problem please add your email address.
Trail staff aim to resolve problems as quickly as they can, but some things do take a long time. Please be patient if you do not see immediate resolution.
Who can enjoy the Trail
Your dog is welcome on the National Trail. We have changed many stiles to gates and installed dog gates on some stiles however there are a number of stiles that your dog will have to climb or be lifted over.
The whole of the path is covered by the Dog, Fouling of Land Act - please clean up after your dog. Dogs should also be kept on a lead and special care taken in fields with livestock and exposed cliff paths.
Motor vehicles are not permitted on any of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
19 easy access walks around Pembrokeshire are described in a guidebook available from the National Park. It includes basic maps and full colour photographs. A key for each walk indicates the gradient and type of surface covered, and lists whether parking, toilet and telephone facilities are available along the route. At the rear of the booklet are sections on easy access beaches and viewpoints.
You do not need permission for a walking event on the Coast Path, but please contact us if you are planning a large event.
It is important that we are aware of your event. A large number of events use the Trails, the Trail Officer can advise you to ensure your event does not clash with any other event or major works that may affect or close parts of the Trail. If you are organising a large event (ie with more than 50 participants) you will be asked to contribute a minimal donation of £1 per entrant for paid events. 20% of your donation goes to support the website and promotion of National Trails, including promotion of events and 80% goes to the Trail.
What is special about the Trail
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is one of the 15 National Trails in England and Wales. National Trails are designated by the Secretary of State and are administered by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, and managed by the local authorities and National Park Authorities whose area they pass through.
Most National Trails have a dedicated Trail Manager responsible for maintaining the high quality standards on the Trail. National Trails are waymarked with the distinctive “acorn” symbol.
National Trails are special because they pass through some of the best landscapes, and they are managed to a very high standard. Because of this you can be confident that any journey you make along a National Trail will be one of the best you have taken.
Natural England sets quality standards for National Trails and their management. You can find out more on the Natural England website.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path was the first National Trail in Wales – opened in 1970.
As well as offering walkers spectacular coastal scenery and wildlife, the Trail passes through a landscape rich in the history of human occupation and maritime history. Walking the Trail reveals Neolithic cromlechs, Iron Age promontory forts, churches and chapels of the seafaring early Celtic saints and their followers, links with the Vikings through place names such as Goodwick and the islands of Skomer and Skokholm, massive Normal castles such as those at Pembroke, Tenby and Manorbier and later Napoleonic forts along the south coast and the Milford Haven waterway.
Throughout the length of the Trail small quays, lime kilns and warehouses, and sites like the brickworks at Porthgain, are reminders of a industrial tradition. The Milford Haven waterway, whose natural harbour once so impressed Nelson, is still an industrial hub.
But it is in the quieter, remote and wild places peopled largely by birds and visited occasionally by grey seals, that the spell of old Pembrokeshire - the ancient ‘Land of Mystery and Enchantment’ (Gwlad Hud a Lledrith) remains.
Find out more on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path website
Maps, guides, certificates and merchandise
The official Guide Books for the National Trails are produced by Aurum Press. The guides are regularly updated and all details are checked by the trail managers. The books include sections of Ordnance Survey 1:25,00 maps and are the very best accompaniment to your walk. You can buy them from the National Trails shop.
As well as a guide book we recommend a good quality map and you can buy these in paper or digital format - to browse the maps and books available please visit the Maps and Guides page.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority produces a ‘Coast Path Challenge’ leaflet, which includes a table to record your progress.
Once you’ve completed all 186 miles and filled in your form, visit one of the pubs at either end of the Coast Path – Amroth in the south or St Dogmaels in the north – hand in your form and claim your free certificate.
Alternatively, you can send your completed form to Tenby National Park Centre, Ruabon House, South Parade, Tenby, SA70 7DL.
An embroidered badge is also available for £5.00 including postage. To obtain a badge, send a cheque payable to PCNPA to the above address.
There are videos featuring the Pembrokeshire Coast Path on the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s YouTube channel.
How to add information to the Trail map
Anyone can add information to the website. We hope that people who have enjoyed the National Trails will want to share their good experiences and that businesses will promote their services by adding information to the map.
You can add information to the map. This includes:
- Points of interest or attractions
- Services - for example shops, pubs, vets, cycle hire shops etc
- Details of your accommodation business
- Events - for example farmers’ markets, village fetes, guided walks
- Information to help horse riders or cyclists such as busy road crossings or water points
To add content you will need to sign up – click the join button in the top right corner. You’ll need a username and an email address. We won’t give your email address to anyone, we’ll only use it if you need a password reminder or if we need to contact you directly. For more information read our data protection policy.
Once you’re signed in you can add information to the map by clicking here.