Explore Britain's only coastal national park — Pembrokeshire

Hiking Collection by
komoot

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is a diverse and beautiful area characterized by its rugged coastline, sandy beaches, empty moorland, lush pastures, wooded estuaries and heavenly hills.

Established as a national park in 1952, Pembrokeshire is the only one in the UK to have been given the status due to its coastline. Paying homage to this fact, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path travels the entire length of the national park’s coastal cliffs.

This Collection serves as an introduction to some of the most prized spots in the national park. In these routes you explore the Preseli Hills, a wild landscape of moorland, heath and grassland; the spiritual heart of Wales, the city of St David’s, named after the country’s patron saint; and the beautiful St Non’s Bay, named after St David’s mother.

These routes also explore the rugged Marloes and Dale peninsulas, which afford some of the finest walking in Pembrokeshire, and take you on a pilgrimage that was, in the Middle Ages, rivaled only by Rome and Jerusalem. You will also tread many of the best sections of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in this Collection.

There is so much wildlife to see in this national park, too. Keep a look-out for birds including peregrine falcons, puffins, razorbills, gannets, guillemots and Manx shearwaters. If you are lucky, you might even spot dolphins and seals along this glorious coastline.

St David’s is a great option to stay when visiting Pembrokeshire National Park. Centrally located, Britain’s smallest city—with a population of just over 1,600—has lots of cafes, shops, restaurants and bars, as well as myriad historical sights, including St David’s Cathedral, Bishops Palace, and Oriel y Parc to name a few. There are many different accommodation options, too.

The nearest railway station is either Haverfordwest or Fishguard. Ongoing bus services to St Davids run regularly via the 411 and 413 bus services. The coastline is well served by the Puffin Shuttle, which heads down around St Brides Bay and the Strumble Shuttle, which connects various points on the coast between St Davids and Fishguard.

For information about the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, visit: pembrokeshirecoast.wales/default.asp?PID=4.
For the 411 bus timetable, visit: bustimes.org/services/411-haverfordwest-st-davids-via-newgale.
For the 413 bus timetable, visit: bustimes.org/services/413-st-davids-fishguard
For train tickets and timetables, visit: thetrainline.com.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    05:51
    13.5 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,025 ft
    800 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This stunning hike to Wales’ holy city of St David’s would once have formed part of a pilgrimage that was, in the Middle Ages, rivaled only by Rome and Jerusalem.

    Whatever your beliefs, this route follows a glorious section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path from Newgale to St Davids, via the picturesque village of Solva, taking in glorious scenery, wildlife, history, heritage and folklore.

    From the beach-side car park, you are straight onto the national trail, which gently undulates for the entirety of the 13.5 mile (22 kilometer) route all the way to Newgale. So, put away the map, and enjoy a long but leisurely saunter along the coast.

    The first attraction you arrive at is Newgale Beach. With miles of gorgeous sand backed by a huge pebble bank and cliffs, you can explore myriad caves and sheltered bays here.

    A few miles later, you reach the bustling coastal village and quay of Solva. With a charming high street, packed with cafes, shops, galleries, and more, it is a great place to stop for some refreshments

    Continue along the trail past Caer Bwdy Bay, Caerfai Bay, until you reach St Non’s Bay, named after St David’s mother. Here, you find the ruins of St Non’s Chapel, where the patron saint of Wales, St David, was said to have been born around ad 550.

    When you reach the River Alun estuary, it is worth heading a little further along the trail to see the impressive natural rock arch, carved by many centuries of weathering. From there, retrace your steps and, when you reach the road, take the footpath on your right and follow it back to St David’s.

    Once in St David’s—the smallest city in Britain—it is worth seeing some of the sights, including St David's Cathedral, a site of pilgrimage and worship for more than 800 years, and the picturesque remains of Bishop's Palace.

    The best way to return to Newgale is via the 411 bus service. For timetables and more information, visit: bustimes.org/services/411-haverfordwest-st-davids-via-newgale.

  • Intermediate
    02:40
    5.79 mi
    2.2 mph
    700 ft
    700 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Preseli Hills rise out of northern Pembrokeshire in stark contrast to the southern lowlands. A wild landscape of moorland, heath and grassland, hiking here makes a pleasant change from the coastal walking the area is renowned for.

    This route through the hills has lots of interest, considering it is only six miles long and covers a gently undulating landscape. This elongated figure-of-eight circuit is the best way to see some of the best sites in the range, without extensive sections on road (hence the unusual look of the route from the map).

    From the car park, follow the permissive footpath for half-a-mile until you reach Foel Drygarn. Dating from the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age, this impressive hillfort is topped by three cairns that can be seen for miles around.

    You continue along the permissive path until you reach the public bridleway, where you turn right, and follow the gently undulating trail. When you see the permissive path on the left, take it and follow until you reach Carn Menyn, from which point you are afforded magnificent views over the Gower Peninsula and across Cardigan Bay to the Llŷn Peninsula.

    Continue until you reach the bridleway and follow until you arrive at the enchanting Bedd Arthur stone circle, supposedly the final resting place of King Arthur. From this point, you retrace your steps to the bridle path and follow it all the way back.

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  • Easy
    01:49
    4.16 mi
    2.3 mph
    325 ft
    325 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This leisurely route explores the spiritual heart of Wales, the city of St David’s, and takes you along a delightful stretch of the Pembrokeshire coastline, part of which is named after his mother, St Non.

    St David’s, the smallest city in Britain, is named after the patron saint of Wales, St David, who was born there around ad 550. His mother, St Non, gives her name to a bay along this route, as well as a chapel and retreat.

    Comprising well-maintained, gently undulating paths, this circuit makes for a fantastic saunter; taking in the glorious sea views and fresh air that Pembrokeshire is renowned for—without venturing into the back and beyond.

    From St David’s, follow the quiet country lane until you reach the coast. Once beside the sea, you find yourself on a lovely and easily-accessible section of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path.

    As you meander along the gently undulating coastline, you are afforded magnificent views that stretch as far as Devon on a clear day.

    When you reach the River Alun estuary, follow the path to the right and, when you reach the road, take the footpath on your right and follow it back to St David’s.

    Whilst this walk is fantastic in its own right, it provides a good opportunity to explore some of the sights in the honeypot city, including St David's Cathedral and Bishop's Palace.

  • Intermediate
    04:19
    9.59 mi
    2.2 mph
    975 ft
    1,000 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    If you come to Wales looking for mountain challenges, then Pembrokeshire is not usually where you go. However, this route gives you a slice of mountain life—right on the beautiful St David’s Peninsula.

    Whilst the highest hill on this route, Carn Llidi, is only 594 feet (181 meters) tall, its exquisite formation gives any of its Snowdonian relatives a run for their money. It also affords some short-but-sweet scrambles and boasts one of the best sunset spots in Pembrokeshire.

    Follow the lane east out of the car park, take the first left and follow until you reach the public footpath. From here, it is a short scramble to the summit, where you efforts are rewarded with spectacular views along the Pembrokeshire coastline to Ramsey Island and across the Irish Sea to the Wicklow mountains.

    From there, you hike over the hills of Carnedd Lleithr, Carn Perfedd, Carn Ffald, and Carn Treliwyd and finish by ascending the summit of Carn Penberry.

    Make your way to the coastline and join the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which you follow all the way back to the starting point. Along the way, you will see Coetan Arthur dolmen; the remains of a Neolithic burial chamber that dates back to around 3,000 BCE.

    You also discover the dramatic headland of St David's Head. The small and rugged peninsula is rich in flora and fauna and boasts geology that dates back almost 500 million years. From the peninsula, you are afforded magnificent views over the Irish Sea and beyond.

  • Intermediate
    04:11
    9.30 mi
    2.2 mph
    950 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This hike takes you along a fine section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, from the ancient port town of Newport to the sleepy village of Moylgrove.

    From the car park, head north out of Newport, over the Iron Bridge, and turn left immediately onto the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which you follow for the rest of the way.

    The first attraction you reach is Newport Sands. Hailed by many as the finest beach in the area, the vast expanse of sand at the mouth of the River Nevern has plentiful space and is great for swimming and sunbathing. If you are lucky, you might even spot some seals.

    From here, you follow the clearly-marked national trail for just over seven miles (11 kilometers) along the coast. As this section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is rockier and more challenging than the majority of the trail, you will find it to be much less visited than other parts—meaning you can enjoy the enchanting landscape in relative solitude.

    Along the way, you will pass many rocky crags, bays, natural rock arches and caves until you arrive at Witch’s Cauldron, a cavernous pool renowned for its peculiar green water.

    From Witch’s Cauldron, head north along the trail for a short while until you reach Ceibwr Bay, where you take a right down the country lane for around half-a-mile until you reach the village of Moylgrove.

    The end point on this route marks the rough location of the bus stop (it should not be hard to find). Here, you can catch the 405 bus service back to Newport. Be aware, though, services are relatively infrequent. To check timetables and more, visit: bustimes.org/services/405-cardigan-newport-poppit-rocket.

  • Difficult
    06:06
    14.2 mi
    2.3 mph
    850 ft
    975 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This route over the Marloes and Dale peninsulas affords some of the finest walking in Pembrokeshire.

    At 14 miles (23 kilometers), this route may seem quite challenging. However, the landscape here is relatively flat, the paths are easy-going, and with minimal effort you can experience magnificent views of the islands of Skomer, Skokholm and Grassholm and see lots of enchanting wildlife.

    From Marloes, head west until you reach Musselwick Sands. At this point, you join the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which you follow along the exposed Celtic coast all the way to Dale.

    Along this fantastic route you are treated to some spectacular spots. A few miles in, you find yourself in prime seal spotting territory. A short while later, you arrive at Marloes Sands, one of the best beaches in the national park. Boasting interesting rock formations and surrounded by cliffs, its golden sands are a magical place to be.

    This hike also takes you to Westdale Bay, a serene beach surrounded by cliffs of red sandstone and mudstone, and to Watwick Bay, a peaceful beach that always guarantees some solitude.

    The area this route covers is home to many species of birds including puffins, razorbills, gannets, guillemots and Manx shearwaters during the breeding season. Keep a look-out for dolphins and seals along the way, too.

    Once you arrive in Dale, you will need to catch the 315 bus service back to Marloes. For timetables and more information, visit: bustimes.org/services/315-haverfordwest-marloes-via-milford-haven-2.

  • Intermediate
    04:02
    9.52 mi
    2.4 mph
    425 ft
    425 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This hike explores the iconic Pembrokeshire coastline and takes you deep into the patchwork of pastures inland.

    From the car park, you immediately step onto the Pembrokeshire Coast Path which you follow for just over six miles (10 kilometers). Along this stretch of the path, you can see some incredible natural rock arches, that have battered by many centuries of weathering.

    The strong ocean currents are evident here. The area is littered with ancient shipwrecks, the crews of which dangerously misjudged the treacherous rocks.

    This section of the national trail boasts myriad wildlife, too. The cliffs are home to peregrine falcons and visiting sea birds; the seas are home to dolphins and porpoises; and Atlantic grey seals can often be spotted in the bays.

    From Porthclais harbor, it is a short cross-country jaunt to the start. Do not worry about leaving the glorious coastline behind, though. The magical patchwork fields and sleepy villages you pass through will give you another flavor of this glorious national park.

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    66.0 mi
  • Duration
    28:58 h
  • Elevation
    5,250 ft