Discover challenging and dramatic walking trails shaped by the footsteps of traders, smugglers, saints and pirates. Cornish walking trails will reveal ancient tin mines, clifftop castles, timeless fishing villages and wild moors as you travel through a landscape of huge cliffs and hidden coves that goes back to the depths of time itself. In between the coastal drama, iconic harbours such as St Ives and Padstow give walkers access to some of the UK‘s best restaurants and coastal hotels. A county encircled by the wild Atlantic ocean, there is over 330 miles of spectacular world class coast path here taking you around the farthest corners of England - put simply it feels like walking on the edge of the world.
Stretching from coast to coast across the southwest of England, Devon is a richly diverse county with rugged shores and cliffs in the north, and classic Victorian seaside resorts in the south. In between you'll find tranquil green pastures, wooded gorges and the two dramatic wild moors in the National Parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Choose Devon for its walking variety, and you'll find that the popular image of cream teas and thatched cottages is true - but that Devon is so much more once you explore it on two feet. Coast to coast routes like the Two Moors Way will offer a journey through it all from the wild northern shores that inspired the Romantic poets to the maritime ports of the south coast.
Free your soul and clear your mind! Walking on the wild moors of these National Parks is a wonderful antidote to modern living. England's last true wilderness, Dartmoor offers 365 square miles of virtually uninhabited freedom with high moors and twisted dramatic granite tors a land of myths, ghosts and legends. Exmoor, its smaller and more gentle neighour, is 250 Square miles of near perfect and unique beauty, with high uplands swathed in heather and steep, wooded gorges and rushing streams. See Dartmoor ponies and Exmoor stags in these wildlife rich areas, home to 30 species of mammals and over 240 types of bird. The moors offer a unique opportunity for more challenging walking where the only human sound you will hear is the rhythm of your own breath.
Avoid the crowds and discover “Secret Somerset” missed by so many rushing headlong for the far South West. The 'land of the summer people' was named in a time when this area could only be visited in the summer months as the sea receded. Today its a rich, fertile and 'for real' landscape crowned by the fine walking ridges of the Mendip and Quantock Hills both protected areas of outstanding natural beauty. Rising up over King Arthur‘s Vale of Avalon along with the magical Tor at Glastonbury, walkers will find hidden gorges, wooded combes and the best inland panoramas of the South West. Also boasting its own Jurassic Coast Path, providing a gateway into the wilds of Exmoor National Park, Somerset offers walking routes without the crowds for those who want to find..... what the rest miss.
Dorset has a comfortable old world “English” feel to it and its walking routes traverse a rather more green and agricultural land of thatched cottages, cream teas.... and fossils ! Walkers here will find the more gentle rolling farmland, pretty villages and chalk ridges beloved by Thomas Hardy that sweep down to end abruptly at the World Heritage Jurassic Coast. Here, alongside the sea, those after more challenging routes can take a walking holiday through time itself amongst the dramatic chalk stacks, cliffs and arches of the Dorsetshire fossil coast. An area that can be very busy in high season but often suits walkers looking for more gentle and less exposed walking than the far west of the region.
Wales offers some of the best walking and outdoor activities to be had anywhere in the world. The 870-mile Welsh Coast Path was only fully opened in 2012 and is the world's first walk along the entire coast of a nation. The terrain is on an equally grand scale with towering cliffs, vast stretches of unspoilt golden sands, imposing castles, offshore islands and to the north there is the backdrop of Snowdonia National Park with its stunning mountains. Wales in general offers walkers great value for money compared to more popular areas like Cornwall with walking options to suit everyone, from those who want the cosmopolitan restaurants and facilities of towns like Tenby and St Davids, through to isolated and remote forests and coastal hills that sit on the very cusp of the Snowdonian Peaks. Bursting with confidence and pride in its “Welshness”, its Celtic history, language and culture there has never been a better time for walkers to enter Wales.
The South West Coast Path is the UK's longest National Trail and one of the top ten walking routes in the world. It snakes, dips and rises continuously on its way through a staggering 1014km (630 miles) of pristine coastline, 450 miles of which is through nationally protected areas. It's a challenge too; walking the entire South West Coast Path is the equivalent to scaling Mount Everest four times! From towering cliffs to hidden coves, ghostly tin mines to lush subtropical wooded creeks. One minute a dramatic rock theatre hewn out of the cliffs, the next a prehistoric fossilized forest or a 20thC Art Deco Island Hotel. What sets The South West Coast Path apart from other trails is that around almost every corner is yet another surprise as you retrace the footsteps and histories of the tin miners, fisherman, smugglers, wreckers and the customs men who chased them.
Distance 15.5 miles - the section can be split using transfers or the Walkers bus after 8 miles at Moylgrove
Summary - Strenuous grade walking apart from the last 2 miles into St Dogmaels (what this grade means)
An impenetrable line of remote and unrelenting huge cliffs that reach a crescendo at the huge folded crags of Cemaes Head - you will climb 4068 feet or over 1,240m today!
Lonely and isolated this is a section of jagged rocks, inaccessible beaches and twisted geological formations, uninhabited but a wonderful roller coaster finale and probably the best walking of the whole Pembrokeshire Coastal Path route.
The Wales Coast Path bids farewell to Newport today as it crosses the old Iron bridge over the Nyfer Estuary offering good opportunities to view its Wildfowl and Heathland Conservation Area.
Skirting the huge restored lime kiln at Ffynnon Bryncyn you enter the dunes and Marram grasses of 'The Bennet' Sand Bank in an area known locally as Traeth Mawr (The Big Beach). One of the finest stretches of sands since Marloes and always in a state of churning flux as the tidal waters arrive or leave and collide against or run with, the freshwaters from the river Nyfer.
It's now a steady climb up to 500ft through the heathland nature reserve onto a solid stone trail along the edge of the coastal peak at Foel Fach. Here beautiful banks of purple heather cling to the slopes and mark the start of the day's huge ridge walk along a spine of towering coastal cliffs to Ceibwr
The path takes a narrow, exposed but exhilarating route traversing mid slope through the bracken and gorse, a walk along the edge of the world where the sheer size of the cliffs, looming mountain slopes and deep blue ocean are breathtaking and belittling. Steep climbs force you up and over huge landslips before a section of incredibly steep descents and ascents is rewarded by fine views of the impressive sea arch at Castleltreruffydd. Here whirling below and above you in the air thermals are a constant array of Fulmars, Razorbills, Guillemots and Cormorants.
At the approach to Ceibwr Bay is probably the finest chasm on the whole Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Huge wedges of disjointed rock mountains lead the way to a sudden drop where you almost fall into the spectacular rock formations at Pwll y Wrach or The Witches Cauldron. Here a huge collapsed sea cave creates a booming blowhole which is crossed precariously on a towering natural bridge that takes the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path on a tightrope climb out of this jagged amphitheatre.
The Cauldron is connected to the sea by a short tunnel and the stream that flows down the valley disappears underground into the crater here to empty into the Cauldron's boiling pot. It's an impressive sight at any time but hit it at high tide and the whole place is one furious, tortured explosion of the ocean's fury and you literally have to climb over it all to pass by!
You get some brief peace at Ceibwr Bay where you can marvel at the first of the Ceibwr cliffs displaying the contorted geological folds at close quarters opposite a row of jagged teeth like rock stacks at Careg Wylan.
A secluded tunnel of a cove, this is the first time in 6 miles that you have returned to sea level and the reward is to find a bubbling stream charging onto the shingle beach from another deeply wooded glacial valley.
Inland of here is the tiny hamlet of Moylgrove the only habitation between Newport and the end of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path at St Dogmaels - there are no real facilities but options do exist to catch a lift out at this point.
Cross an impressive granite clapper bridge that was put here recently after previous bridges washed away in the storms every winter without fail. The walk now reaches its climax but you have to work to reach it. This climb is from sea level to the highest point on the whole 186 miles of The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path Footpath within the next few miles. There is one monstrous descent on one of the steepest switchbacks to cross a mountainous ravine at Pwllygrannant and this heralds the start of the final ascent to Traeth Godir-Coch - the highest point of the whole Pembrokeshire Coastal Path at 575ft.
Below you now are the immense cliffs of Pen yr Afr with the most amazing set of folded strata thrust up hundreds of feet from the ocean floor in herringbone zigzags and rollercoaster arcs. You can throw away that geography text book, this is one of the finest examples of geological folding in the UK, right before you.
The path turns to cling to the top of these sheer cliffs and far below is one of the most isolated beaches often full of 30 or more Grey Seals basking on the rocks with their pups, fully protected from any human interference by the vertical rock faces.
Welcome to Cemases Head with huge vertical cliffs at over 450ft, the highest in Pembrokeshire, they just disappear beneath your feet to oblivion.
An outstanding viewpoint, for the last time look back over the stump of Dinas Head to the winking light from Strumble Head Lighthouse three days walk behind you. In front stare into Ceredigion and another section of the Wales Coast Path framed in the distance by the imposing sight of the revered Welsh Mountain Cadair Idris some 50 miles north marking the entrance to Snowdonia.
If there is a psychological end to the walk, its this headland and beyond it you start your final descent through a designated Wildlife reserve with the last chance to spot Choughs, Ravens, Falcons and Kestrels hovering over the path. As you head into Cardigan Bay keep looking to the ocean for Bottle Nosed Dolphins and Porpoises close to shore – around July and August there are occasional sightings of Orca, Minke and even Killer Whale.
The last few miles of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path descend on a farm track to Poppit Sands in the fertile and gentle Teifi Valley.
Here the snaking river Teifi traverses golden sand bars and lush green marshes on its course from Cardigan to meet the sea at the boiling mouth of the estuary.
At Poppit Sands you can take a boardwalk to divert via the beach which holds rarities in the dunes such as the Bee Orchid.
There are good views to Cardigan Island, once famous for its large population of Puffins which were completely lost when rats arrived having escaped from the shipwreck of The Herefordshire which hit the island in 1934 - the rats not only left the sinking ship but wiped the Puffin colony out completely.
In the past this was Coracle territory and the little round boats were used by the monks at St Dogmaels Abbey to net Salmon and Sea Bass in these sheltered waters.
After the ravages of the Witches Cauldron these last few miles have a tranquil air about them as you prepare to return to the normal world and bid farewell to the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. Gradually you replace the fury of nearly 200 miles of colliding cliffs and ocean with gentle waters, shifting sands and mud estuary.
Your journey ends amidst the tranquil surroundings of the little Quay at St Dogmaels where the paths commemorative plaque sits beside a carved wooden mermaid who stares wistfully over the marshes at the last of the 186 miles from Amroth.
A short wander beyond is the impressive remains of the Abbey itself, not only the end of the trail but it is indeed the end of Pembrokeshire itself with the town of Cardigan in nearby Ceredigon County only a mile further along the road – From the Castle at Cardigan another fine stretch of coastal path the Ceredigion Coast Path heads off excitedly for the north of Wales – but then that’s another story entirely!
Information on Facilities and Overnight Stops at St Dogmaels and Cardigan at the end of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path.
Map of all
for this walk
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