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.
St Dogmaels to Newport (Town) 15.5 miles (25.7 Km)
This is the most challenging section of the Coast Path, 15.5 miles long with frequent very steep hills. There are no services between Poppit and Newport Sands. Walkers should ensure that they are properly prepared with adequate food, drink and clothing. You may wish to take two days over this section with a break at Moylgrove.
Newport to Fishguard 12 miles (19.3 Km)
The cliffs on this section are lower, mostly at around 40m. Although Pen Dinas rises to 142m, the level valley path (also National Trail) avoids this. Hills up to the little beaches are steep but well spread out.
In Fishguard look out for small directional acorn symbols stuck high up to metal poles and signs, these indicate the recommended route through or near towns. Look out also for brown signs with the acorn symbol.
Fishguard to Pwll Deri 9 miles (14.5 Km)
Mostly 30 to 70m high cliffs of volcanic origin. Gently rounded cliffs where the rock is strong and hard, sheer where there are weak strata. Infrequent steep hills. Typical of this section are the frequent rocky outcrops and loose volcanic stone. Heather and gorse abound, a dramatic blaze of colour in August.
Along this section you’ll find coastal grazing schemes: horses between Strumble and Porthsychan; cattle between Goodwick and Carregwasted; and sheep in the middle! Please keep dogs under close control.
Pwll Deri to Porthgain 12 miles (19.3 Km)
There are plenty of dramatic sheer cliffs on this section where coastal erosion is an obvious process. Every year Pembrokeshire is a little smaller than the year before and the route of the Coast Path has to be continually reviewed to ensure safety.
Porthgain to Whitesands 10 miles (16.1 Km)
An exhilarating and in places rugged section of path above high cliffs and beneath the dramatic craggy volcanic outcrops of Pen Beri, Carn Lleithyr and Carn Llidi. Make time to linger on the wild and rocky peninsular of St David’s Head which abounds with archaeology. Keep an eye out too for seals in the rocky coves below the path and gannets diving for fish out to sea; you may be lucky enough to see the grey dorsal fins of porpoises hunting for fish beneath the gannets. The section between Abereiddi and Whitesands feels wild and remote with hardly a building to be seen making the cafe at Whitesands or the refreshment van at Abereiddi, if walking south to north, welcome sights for the weary walker!
Whitesands to Solva 13 miles (20.9 Km)
This section is close to the accommodation, shops etc of St David’s and Solva. The many access points and a good bus service makes this a popular area for short and circular walks. There are no stiles on this section.
Solva to Broad Haven 12 miles (19.3 Km)
Northwest of Newgale there are a series of very steep hills with up to 100 steps. South of Newgale a series of less steep hills as the plateau is broken by The Havens. There are no stiles on this section.
Broad Haven to Martin’s Haven 11 miles (17.7 Km)
Strikingly red low cliffs. Coastal slopes and cliff tops rich in wild flowers. In places the red of the Old Red Sandstone is brightly streaked with yellow algae. There are now no stiles on this section.
Martin’s Haven to Dale 10 miles (16.1 Km)
Fairly easy walking on the mainly level wave-cut Marloes – Dale plateau with the occasional short climb out of steepish valleys cut by glacial melt water at the end of the last Ice Age. A walk of contrasts starting on the wild and treeless Atlantic coast with spectacular views of the rugged offshore islands of Skomer, Skokholm and Grassholm, and ending in the gentle, pastoral and in places wooded shelter of the Milford Haven waterway. This section is close to accommodation and the village shops, pubs and cafes of Maloes and Dale. The many access points and excellent coastal bus service makes this a popular area for short and circular walks. There are now no stiles on this section.
Dale to Neyland 16 miles (25.7 Km)
Check the tide tables for the two tidal crossings to avoid long detours on road. There are now no stiles on this section, except for one just south of Herbrandston on the high tide alternative route.
Neyland to Angle 16 miles (25.7 Km)
Mostly not in the National Park due to the proximity to the industry associated with the haven. Still a very interesting walk rich in history, environmental and agricultural interest. Pembroke and its castle are well worth a look around. Because of shelter from coastal winds this stretch includes many sections of woodland.
Angle to Freshwater West 10 miles (16.1 Km)
This section is very rugged and once away from Angle village deliberately managed to retain a ‘remote and challenging ‘ experience. The entire stretch is coastal – no roads, no houses, few stiles and no amenities at all. Most of it has no mobile ‘phone coverage either!
Freshwater(W) to Broad Haven(S) 10 miles (16.1 Km)
Probably the flattest section of the trail, but unfortunately much of it restricted because of military use. Despite being a firing range, because of it size (ten square miles) and because of the access restrictions and because it hasn’t been cultivated or cropped for 50-odd years Range West ranks as one of Britain’s most important wildlife sanctuaries and is protected by some of Europe’s strongest designations. Much of the above can be experienced crossing Range East from Stack Rocks to Broad Haven (south). Range East is open weekends, bank holidays and most evenings after about 4.30 p.m. but best to check with times with the recorded information on 01646 662367.
Broad Haven(S) to Skrinkle Haven 11 miles (17.7 Km)
This section really typifies why this coast is worthy of National Park status. It contains Barafundle beach which was recently voted one of the top ten beaches in the world! It also fringes the famous Lily Ponds at Bosherston which are a National Nature reserve. The path is quite undulating, but you’re never far from a beach, village pub or toilet!
Skrinkle to Amroth 14 miles (22.5 Km)
Due to the beautiful beaches in the area and the tourist attractions and facilities around Tenby this is probably the busiest section of the whole route with superb views of Caldey Island, and the coasts of The Gower and Exmoor.