With a rich history that spans through stories of druids, medieval castles and wartime conflicts, combined with national emblems that include a dragon, spoon and an odd shaped ball, there is a lot to demystify about Wales. One thing is certain however, the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path that spans across Wales’ south-western coast is one of the most enchanting places on the planet.
Touted by National Geographic as the world’s second best coastal destination in 2012, the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path travels 186 miles through one of Britain’s only truly coastal National Parks. Taking approximately two weeks to walk in total, the path is quite a challenge, but can be broken up into smaller sections that range from 1 mile to 66 miles, making it perfect for both day tripping site seers and hiking enthusiasts. But what is it about this walk that has earned it such recognition as a destination?
The variety of breathtaking landscape that welcomes walkers along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path is something to behold. Rugged coastlines, volcanic headlands, golden sandy beaches, plummeting cliffs and a background of mountains and rolling hills unfold with each step. Some highlights to look out for include the Witches Cauldron – A tucked away cave of limestone near St David’s Village. The Green Bridge of Wales, the multi-coloured cliffs of Marloes Sands and the infamous beaches of Whitesands Bay. Freshwater West and East, Broad Haven South and Barafundle Bay.
While taking in the landscape views, walkers are also treated to a plethora of wildlife. Visiting in spring and summer time will give chance to encounters with whales, dolphins and seals at sea, while the skies attract many birdwatchers. Puffins, Gannets, Ravens, Warblers and Shearwaters are aplenty, a lucky birdwatcher may also sight a rare Chough in flight. Along with an abundance of wildlife, walkers are also surrounded by many wild flowers and new plant growth when walking in spring, making it a favoured time to visit.
But the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path isn’t only about nature. The walk travels visitors through quaint historical Welsh towns and old fishing villages such as Little Haven and Solva. With their narrow lanes, cute cottages, shops and galleries it’s easy to spend a good day in these villages, while of course feasting on the fresh catch of the day after a long leg of walking.
Wales expansive history is also not lost along the pathway. The coastline is thought to be home to humans since before the recording of history, meaning it is abundant in historical sites of wonder. Take note of the Neolithic tombs at St David’s Head, the castles at Manorbier and Pembroke and seek out the Iron Age forts, Bronze Age standing stones and the many churches of Celtic Saints.
It is recommended you start the Pembrokeshire Coastal Walk in St Dogmaels and walk down the coast to finish in Amroth. To get there take the train to Aberystwyth Bus Station and travel by bus to St Dogmaels. Visit Omio to find the best route for travel.