Exploring the Trail
How long does it take to complete the Trail?
The Trail is 186 miles (299 km) long.
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.
How hard is it?
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).
In winter the coastal sections can get very muddy, making it even more challenging and not always the best experience!
Are there any major diversions on the route?
There are currently no major diversions on the route.
Top Tips for Enjoying the Trail
How do I get to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?
Cardiff Airport is the closest to the Trail. Ryanair, KLM, Qatar Airways and Eastern Airways are amongst the airlines operating regular scheduled, charter flights, domestic and international flights to and from Cardiff.
To reach Amroth (the south end of the Trail) take a train to Kilgetty and then catch the 351 bus to Amroth (5km).
Trains on the northern line meet the Coast Path at Fishguard Harbour (Goodwick); on the western line at Milford Haven; on the southern line at Pembroke Dock, Penally and at Tenby. For detailed rail information please see www.nationalrail.co.uk
To reach St Dogmaels (the north end of the Trail) get a train to Haverfordwest then the T5 bus to Cardigan. Then take the 405 walker bus (Poppit Rocket) or walk to St Dogmaels 2.5km. The 405 also goes to Poppit Sands – to avoid another 2km of road walking (mostly no pavement).
There are National Express bus services from London and Birmingham. Pembrokeshire has a fleet of five coastal bus services that run regularly throughout the summer with a limited service between September and May. The buses cover most of the 186 miles of Coast Path National Trail and more information can be found on the Pembrokeshire County Council website. Fflecsi Pembrokeshire is a new on demand transport service operating in West Pembrokeshire and includes the coast between Neyland and Fishguard. Services run different routes each day to ensure that all people in the area can use the service. Trips must be booked in advance. Visit the Fflecsi website for more information and to book the service.
You can find public transport information and help with journey planning on the Traveline Cymru website or by calling 0871 200 22 33.
Where can I stay on the Trail?
There is a choice of accommodation close to the Trail and it can be viewed on the Interactive Map below or download and print a list of Trail accommodation for each section of the Trail.
You may find other options on the Visit Pembrokeshire website.
The area is popular and accommodation can book up quickly in peak season so we recommend that you book it well in advance.
Can I camp along the Trail?
There are plenty of campsites along the Trail and they can be viewed on the Interactive Map. If you plan to camp please note it is not legal to wild camp in England or Wales – you will need to stay on official campsites.
Can I get my bags carried or my accommodation booked?
There are several companies that will arrange to move your bags for you, help you plan your trip, or arrange a full package.
View a list of these companies here.
What is the best time of year to walk on the Trail?
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.
In winter it can become very blustery and muddy, for a better experience it is best enjoyed in the Spring with migrating and breeding birds and wild flowers or Autumn with migrating birds and seal pups.
Which direction should I walk it in?
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.
What should I take with me?
We recommend that you take a map and/or guidebook with you, or a copy of the walk leaflet if you are doing a shorter walk. You may also find a compass useful.
If you are walking solo you may want to tell somewhere where you are going as there can be mobile black spots along the Trail. Ensure your phone is fully charged before setting off.
Weather in the UK can be changeable so it’s wise to be prepared. You’ll need good footwear, waterproofs and warm layers. Take plenty of water and just in case, pack a few plasters for your feet. In the summer you may need sun cream.
Will I have mobile phone and internet access?
Walkers are advised that the mobile phone signal is unreliable or nonexistent on much of the coast, don’t rely on being able to use your phone to help you navigate. Wi-Fi is available at some accommodation and pubs/cafés along the route.
Is there signage on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?
The UK is unique in having a network of paths that the public can use, this is the Public Rights of Way network. You can see these paths on Ordnance Survey maps.
National Trails are signed with an acorn symbol and/or the Trail name which you will see on stiles, gates and signposts. This is the symbol used by all the English and Welsh National Trails. In Pembrokeshire you may also notice the Wales Coast Path dragon shell symbol.
As you are walking along the Trail you will also see waymarkers pointing to other paths. You can use the public rights of way network to leave the Trail to explore places of interest, reach your accommodation and find places to eat and drink.
You will often find a coloured arrow on signs which indicates the status of that section of path. The most common are yellow arrows which are footpaths and blue which are bridleways.
Visit our Walking Holidays Page for holiday inspiration for the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
Leaflets, Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise
Can I get a guidebook and map for the Trail?
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the The Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.
Which Ordnance Survey maps cover the Trail?
You can find a list of Ordnance Survey maps for the Trail here.
Can I get a certificate if I complete the Trail?
Certificates are available from the The Trails Shop.
Are there any useful Trail Leaflets?
There is a range of useful leaflets to download, such as Mileage Charts & Information Guides. Find these in the Further Information section.
Circular and Linear Walks
There are some great walks to help you explore the spectacular Pembrokeshire Coast whether you are looking for beaches, headlands, cliffs or quaint seaside towns. Find the perfect walk for you in the Further Information section.