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A complete guide to walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path


 
Following the twists and turns along some of Britain’s most spectacular coastline, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path offers 186 miles of wonderful walking enhanced by sweeping sea views. Mostly lying within the boundaries of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in South West Wales, its rugged cliffs, expansive beaches, secluded coves, and meandering estuaries have earned the route a reputation as one of the most popular long-distance walks in the UK

Whether you're interested in tackling the entire route or would like to enjoy shorter sections as part of our Pembrokeshire Coast Walking tour, here's everything you need to know about walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

 

What is special about the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?

Walkers along this coastal path savor breathtaking natural beauty, from towering cliffs with rocky arches to hidden coves, tidal estuaries and peaceful beaches like Sandy Haven. The coast is home to plentiful sea birds as well as rarer species like choughs and skylarks. And if you’re lucky, you may even get to spot marine wildlife such as gray seals and porpoises. 

Along the beautiful coastline you also pass through charming towns like St Davids. Known as the smallest city in the United Kingdom by population, it’s home to the stunning 12th-century St Davids Cathedral.

This route also has fascinating historical sites ranging from the Neolithic burial chamber of Carreg Samson to the hilltop Garn Fawr Iron Age fort, as well as lighthouses including St Ann's Head Lighthouse and Strumble Head Lighthouse.

How long does it take to walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path covers 186 miles from St Dogmaels to Amroth. Walking its entire length usually takes between 10-15 days depending on your pace. Walk more slowly to spend more time enjoying the scenery and stopping at points of interest. The trail also includes alternate routes which may be followed in case of high tide or bad weather, which if included bring the path's total length to 193 miles.

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is also part of the larger Wales Coast Path, an 870-mile route that was the first official coast path in the world covering a country's entire coastline. Walking this full route would take at least six or seven weeks.


 

Which direction should you walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?

Officially, the "starting” point of the coast path is marked by the plinth in St Dogmaels at the northern end, with the finish in Amroth in the south. However, you're free to walk the coast path whichever way you choose.

For several reasons, many walkers prefer to walk the coastal path from south to north. Firstly, the southern section is easier and allows you to acclimatize to the route before reaching the more difficult portions. Secondly, you'll avoid walking into the prevailing winds that blow in from the southwest.

 


 

When is the best time of year to walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is open throughout the year for walking holidays, allowing you to explore whenever you want. But certain parts may sometimes be inaccessible or require circumnavigating due to high tides or occasional military restrictions.

Although the summer months are usually the ideal time for outdoor activities, many walkers enjoy walking the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path during the spring or early fall. You won't have to share the trail with as many other walkers, weather conditions are good and you'll have wonderful opportunities to witness natural seasonal beauty like blooming wildflowers or migrating birds. In the fall, if you're fortunate you may see gray seal pups along the coastline.

Is it possible to do day walks along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?

If you don't have the time to walk the entire length of the coast path, it's easy to enjoy day walks. For a short but enjoyable stroll, try from Porthgain Harbour to Abereiddy Beach, taking in dramatic high cliffs, the small beach at Traeth Llyfn and the vivid waters of the Blue Lagoon.

For rugged scenery and panoramic sea views, try the three and a half mile walk from Strumble Head Lighthouse to the Garn Fawr Iron Age fort, or for a longer stretch of rugged cliff-top walking spotting seals and sea birds, tackle from St Justinians to Porthclais.

How to get there

The nearest airport to Pembrokeshire National Park is Cardiff Airport, which is around two hours away from Amroth by car. If you prefer to travel by rail, you can take the train from major UK cities to local stations including Milford Haven, via Swansea or Crewe.

Day walkers may prefer to bring their own car, which they can leave in car parks close to trailheads. Alternatively, you can take advantage of coastal bus services including the Puffin Shuttle and the Strumble Shuttle.

 


 

Where to stay when walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

With a number of towns located along the route or close to it, you can spend each night staying in a different accommodation during your time walking the coast path. Options range from cozy inns to upscale boutique hotels. You can even stay in refined lodgings housed in the dramatic setting of 12th-century Roch Castle.

Environmentally conscious travelers can consider staying at the Preseli Venture Eco-Lodge, a sustainability focused, low-carbon retreat with great reviews near the coast path at Abermawr. Stay at the lodge as part of our Pembrokeshire Coast Walking tour.

 

Tips for walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Here are some important things to keep in mind while planning your trip:
  • Packing the right gear is essential, especially a comfortable, sturdy pair of hiking boots. Layered clothing, waterproof outerwear, a water bottle, a hat, and sunscreen are other essentials
  • Wild camping is not allowed in Wales, so you'll need to camp in designated campsites or stay in hotels or accommodations along the route
  • Always check the weather before heading out for the day
Follow the Leave No Trace principles of outdoor exploring and respect the environment around you by not littering, staying on the trail, and respecting other walkers

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