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.
The Starting location for the 186 mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail, this is a quiet and very laid back village stretched out along a broad stretch of sand and pebble bank beach.
Clinging to this sheltered coastline, it’s a pretty enough place to start your walk with a fine ocean outlook and leafy wooded slopes at either end of sands which hold the International Blue Flag award for clean water and safe swimming.
Fisherman and the occasional windsurfers head out between the long wooden Groynes that stretch out into the waves, testimony to the on-going battle the village undertakes against the coastal erosion here.
On low tides you can see evidence of a prehistoric, submerged forest lost to the waters when the sea levels rose around 7000 years ago. Fossilised antlers, bones and flints have been discovered here in amongst the petrified peat and tree stumps.
The last century saw the main development of Amroth as a satellite mining village though you can still see the signs at one end of the village of the Motte and Bailey Castle that dates back as far as the 11th Century.
If arriving early the day before starting your walk, a mile inland you will find the fine National Trust gardens at Colby Woodland in a secluded and peaceful valley with acres of bluebells, camellias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas set around a walled garden and wildflower meadow. There is a pleasant short walk in to it from Amroth and its well worth a visit - the customary National Trust Tea room will refresh those who have walked out here.
For the Pembrokeshire Coast Path Walker the village provides an adequate overnight stop with a couple of choices of eating places and several B&B’s along with the handy 16th Century village pub The New Inn which sits right on the seafront at the start of the Coast Path and provides evening meals with roaring fires in the colder months or the beer garden in summer.
Those wanting a location with more options for food and accommodation can choose to spend the night before walking at nearby Tenby which is linked to Amroth by regular buses and if you are arriving by train two nights at Tenby works well as there is no train station at Amroth. You can then just catch the walker’s bus out to Amroth after breakfast to walk back on your first day on The Pembrokeshire Coast Path route to Tenby.
With its maze of welcoming medieval streets and pretty harbour, wedged into a headland by golden sands, Tenby is the best known location on the Southern section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and is its iconic picture postcard resort. Its name in Welsh means 'Little Fort of the Fishes' which is an apt description for a majestic walled fishing town complete with a ruined fort and castle perched up high.
The Wales Coast Path trail navigates through Tenby via two of the best beaches in this part of Wales linked by the compact little harbour which still holds around 20 working fishing boats and holds a population of around 5000.
The town itself has huge historical appeal and grew in both size and status under the Normans in the 12th Century who built the headland castle as part of their defences against the Welsh though the town fell into the locals Celt's hands several times during the following 200 years.
It’s a glorious place to wander through as a break from The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, classic architecture throughout with plenty of contrasts where pastel coloured fishing cottages mix with huge Regency and Victorian Mansions. Narrow labyrinths of medieval streets melt into huge open beach fronts and golden sands all flanked by the fine promenades and Esplanades built by Victorians desperate to take in the sea air and views.
With so much to explore, Tenby makes an excellent choice for a rest day or overnight stop.
Visit the indoor market arcade, the tiny Fisherman’s Chapel and wander through Tudor Square where Henry Tudor hid in underground tunnels before fleeing to France in the War of the Roses.
Much remains of the Town Walls including the impressive five Arches Gate with its hidden lookouts, now the location of the useful Tourist Information Centre.
The 12th Century church of St Marys with its 150ft spire has a series of superb wooden roof carvings and the National Trust's Tudor Merchant House sits amongst the oldest dwellings of the town and gives a fascinating look at a wealthy family’s life from the late 15th Century.
Visitors will find period furnishings, lavish frescoes and the old medieval kitchens whilst outside is the tiny Merchants Herb and Spice Garden.
High on Castle Hill you will find a refreshing grassy open area with superb views over the chasm to St Catherine’s Island with its imposing Victorian Fort sitting just off shore.
Those walking through on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path at low tide will be able to walk along the sands beneath these two summits.
On Castle Hill, along with the ruins are the Victorian gardens, bandstand and the town's Museum and Art Gallery with worthwhile displays covering the geology, archaeology and history of the area you will be walking through as well as exhibitions in two Art Galleries.
One of the grander bits of architecture on the hill is Larston House which proudly proclaims in Greek above its doorway that “The Sea washes away the ills of Man” .
In lovely Tenby who are we to disagree.
For those who can spare a rest day a highlight of any stay is to take a half hour ferry ride out to wander the beautiful island, remote beaches and monastery at Caldey Island. CLICK HERE for more details.
Fast walkers on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path will be able to get a quick glimpse of the town whilst pausing for lunch. For those on a slower itinerary Tenby will provide a perfect overnight stop with a seeming endless array of restaurants and cafes to indulge in before heading West to wilder parts with far fewer facilities.
Pronounced 'Manner Beer', this location is simply dominated by its majestic castle and wild beach making it a classically Welsh overnight stop on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
Voted one of the most Romantic Locations in Wales by National Geographic, whether that bears out for you or not you will find a small but pleasant feudal manor village of leafy little lanes, medieval strip fields, a breath-taking castle, church and a restored “Beer House” and Dovecote.
The 12th Century traveller, Gerald of Wales who heralded from the castle called it “the most delectable spot in Wales” and in more recent times it became a favourite haunt of the likes of George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf
Centre stage is the dramatic 12th Century Norman walled Manorbier Castle perched on a gorse covered bed of rock with commanding views over the sandy beach.
Complete with Dungeons, a great hall, walled gardens and secret passages try and get a visit in to enjoy superb views over the coastline from the ramparts.
You may recognise it as it’s starred in a BBC shooting of C S Lewis’s classic The Chronicles of Narnia as well as the film I Capture the Castle. Today the wild windswept beach below is a popular one for surfers and for the visiting Pembrokeshire Coast Path walker the village has a well-stocked shop, excellent licensed tea rooms at Beach Break and the Castle Inn. For accommodation there is a hotel offering fine dining on its terrace overlooking the sea and one or two more standard B&B options. It’s a great place to stay with the chance to walk below the castle walls to the empty beach after dinner to watch the sun go down over the ocean.
A tiny village of only 300 residents, Bosherston is part of the old Stackpole Manor Estate who’s most famous Lord was John Campbell or Lord Cawdor.
He was beloved by the Welsh for leading the fight against the ill-fated French invasion of Wales near Fishguard in 1797, an event you will hear much more about once you reach the Northern section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path near Goodwick.
The village itself holds little more than a small shop and the St Govan’s Country Inn which thankfully serves excellent food and ale including a walkers special Welsh Cawl – the hearty local soup.
The Olde World Tea Rooms is an excellent place to finish your walk in from the coast where you can sit in the gardens below the Ivy Clad Cottage and get down some tea and Welsh Cakes in a café that has been run by the same family for the last 90 years.
Indeed the current proprietor well into her 80’s holds an MBE for services to thirsty walkers !
The tiny squat church is particularly lovely and worth a visit for its impressive stone tombs. On the approach from the coast path to the village you have the stunning National Trust maintained Bosherston Lily Ponds, an extensive series of wonderfully peaceful lakes, bridges and sunken paths, created as part of the Stackpole Estate.
This is a superb and unique environment, easy to access when staying in Bosherston and if you are staying overnight makes an enchanting evening wander to look for the well-established otters at play.
The evening is by far the best chance to spot them when the day-trippers have gone home and peace returns. Another good pre-dinner stroll is down to St Govan’s Chapel on the coast so there are plenty of ways to spend your time.
On the other flank of the village by utter contrast you find the start of the huge Castlemartin Army Firing Ranges with all the surreal explosions and drama this brings to the scenery – things can go boom in the night here on Night Firing Days!
This is the last significant habitation on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path before Angle Point which is a good 15 miles away. Luckily Bosherston is visited by the excellent Coastal Walkers Bus Service morning and late afternoon.
Those who can’t make the full distance to Angle in a single days walk will use this and spend two days here.
One of the most stunning locations on the whole Welsh Coast Path lies just to the south of the village at St Govan’s Chapel just beyond St Govan’s Head the most southerly point on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
Access is determined by whether or not the Army Range is open but as it is most evenings, a short walk will get you down to the Chapel even if it’s not going to be open for your walk on the next day.
Wedged into a rocky cleft perched over the ocean is a flight of steep steps roughly hewn out of the cliff.
This leads you down to this iconic, tiny 13th Century vaulted Chapel with a simple stone alter and little else.
Built over a cave it stands on the much older 6th Century site of a holy hermit's cell, the whole structure clinging improbably above the churning waters at what feels like the edge of the world.
The Holy founder was said to be an Irish Abbott called Gobham who was chased into this isolated and rugged location by a cut throat band of thieves and pirates
He was saved from certain death the legend tells, when the cliff face itself split open and allowed him in to hide.
In eternal thanks for this divine intervention Gobham set up his hermit’s home here, and lived on in the crack within the rock.
You can still see this split in the rock today complete with the indentations that we are told were made by Gobham's ribs from where the cliff closed around him. Venture below the Chapel and you can reach the wildest rock strewn beach where a tiny stone cover protects a spring that was famous for curing Lameness and Blindness and which resulted in a frequent stream of pilgrims in days gone by.
Those miraculously cured left their crutches in a pile on the Chapel Alter! The spring has run dry now but if you head down there your reward today is to see a magnificent natural arch in the cliffs at very close quarters.
Set on the western curve of the narrow Angle Point headland the name Angle came from invading Vikings and means Corner, referring to this remote and unspoilt turning in the coastline.
Thankfully its isolated location at the end of the Peninsula continues to protect it not only from marauding Norsemen but from the modern invasion of mass tourism.
The village itself has been designated a Pembrokeshire National Park Conservation Area and can be approached from two different directions on the Wales Coast Path as it sits along the length of a narrow inland valley that cuts right across the wider Angle headland.
At one end is the sands of West Angle Bay a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest which looks out over the narrow entrance to the immense Milford Haven Estuary, its rock pools home to the rare green starfish.
At the other end of the village you will find the larger mudflats of Angle Bay only 10 minutes’ walk by road but over 3 miles away on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path route and here the tranquil broad arc of estuary mud flats gives a completely different feel.
At its head is the unique 16th Century Old Point House Inn, so close to the sea it’s virtually in it, its access by road routinely cut off by the high spring tides. Much beloved by skippers of visiting boats and yachts who are “in the know” its one of those atmospheric seafaring places, partly built from ship wreck timbers and you doubt much has changed there in the last 300 years.
The village calls itself an RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) community and is justifiably proud of its lifeboat connections with there having been several dramatic rescues off the headland here, and whilst on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path you will pass the remains of the old as well as the new Angle lifeboat stations.
Little happens on this side of the village other than small scale fishing and seaweed harvesting, and its one of those magical and timeless places where everyone seems to be endlessly watching the ships out in the wider estuary, muttering about the wait for the next tide to arrive, but consoling themselves by supping cider at the Point House.
From a seabirds perspective however Angle Bay is a hive of feathered activity, the rare eelgrass beds in the tidal mud flats, along with the lack of human disruption, supporting an array of wildlife including flocks of visiting wetland birds and waders who stalk the foreshore and mud banks. It’s a birdwatchers paradise.
In between the two ends of the village you will find simple rows of workers cottages mixed with more modern housing along with the classic Norman Style church of St Marys which hides a much smaller fisherman’s chapel in its grounds.
The tiny chapel is dedicated to St Anthony and was built by Edward de Shirburn a 15th Century “knight of Nangel” and sits over a crypt where bodies of unknown shipwreck victims that washed up on the peninsular were committed in past times to burial.
Take a wander around the village before dinner and you will find the old dovecote and the 14th Century Tower house, a fortified castle like Pele tower and the only example of its kind in Wales.
Its left open and you can climb 3 floors up the tower to the old living quarters.
As an alternative walk head to the prehistoric menhir at Devils Quoit around one mile outside town, one of the area’s best preserved burial chambers.
Angle serves the Pembrokeshire Coast Path walkers well enough with two pubs and a well-stocked and reliable shop good for a packed lunch but accommodation is limited and fairly basic.
For those that prefer a wider choice or more luxury then the daily coastal walkers buses link the village quickly and easily with the nearby town of Pembroke. However if you can, try to stay here where the land just runs out as there is no other overnight stop quite like this one on the whole Pembrokeshire Coastal Path Route
The most significant habitation on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path since leaving Tenby several days ago.
The town is dominated by the immense Castle set above its own expansive tidal moat, the Castle Mill Pond, a nature reserve alive with kingfisher, swans and otter.
The original fort here was a wooden one built by the Normans who spotted the potential of a site protected by water on three sides and the Pembroke ridge on the other.
As it stands today, Pembroke Castle is simply one of the largest Castles in the whole of Britain let alone Wales and also the oldest in this area. The immense stone structure built in the 12th Century by William Marshal was guaranteed its place in history as it became the royal birthplace of Henry VII.
Its superb rounded Drum shaped central keep soars 80ft above the surrounding towers and ramparts all of it constructed from impregnable stone walls, in some parts over 18ft thick.
This unassailable structure worked however as this was the only Norman Castle that never fell to the Welsh.
Indeed the only successful invader was Oliver Cromwell during the Civil War and even he could only ransack the castle after a 48 day siege which was ended when a local traitor helped him cut the water supply off!
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path brings you right past the foot of the structure to admire it in dramatic fashion as you arrive in the town but if you can also fit in a full visit of the castle you won’t be disappointed.
During the summer months everything from Jousting shows to Shakespearian plays can be found within the castle walls and visitors can climb the 100 steps of the main keep for superb views over the town and wider Milford Haven Waterway allowing you to gaze back over your long trek here and examine your route onwards.
Explore the site's huge halls and dramatic courtyards or follow mysterious passageways to reach the Dungeon Tower and Prison Cell, there is even a natural cave below the castle in the surreal Wogan Cavern.
Pembroke town beyond the castle is largely a lengthy one street affair stretched out along a narrow limestone ridge.
It is a protected conservation area where you will come across parts of the old town walls, two historic churches and the odd medieval tower or lime kiln.
An intriguing mix of little shops, a daily indoor market and rows of Georgian and Victorian Houses vie with a handful of good restaurants, olde world pubs, coaching Inns and tea shops - good respite for those walking in from the isolation of Angle.
It’s easy to escape from the main town for an evening wander below the castle along the water’s edge at the Quayside where you will find the sleepy relics of old customs houses and mills a legacy of the medieval trades of leather making, weaving and tailoring that flourished down here below the castle walls.
For those finishing their walk here there are excellent public transport options including the train service heading east back to Swansea and on through to England.
However if this is to be your last night you should try to fit in a visit to Pembroke Castle before departing next day.
Milford Haven marks the end of the Southern Section of the Pembrokeshire Coast path and whilst it’s modern day links are heavily associated with the area's oil and gas refineries it holds an interesting history, impressive waterside location, lively redeveloped marina and good facilities and transport for the arriving or departing walker.
Historically this location was a staging point for Viking invaders but Milford Haven as we see it today is fairly modern, founded in 1790 by Sir William Hamilton who had great plans for a natural deep water port in a sheltered location.
Construction, like that at nearby Pembroke Dock expanded on the popular grid design of wide streets favoured at the time.
Its first incarnation was as the home to American Quakers from Nantucket who were fleeing the War of Independence and set up whaling operations in the town, the whale oil being sent up country to light the lamps in London.
As the whales grew scarcer more general fishing took centre stage along with development of the Royal Naval Dockyard which launched no less than seven Royal Vessels from here before it was moved to nearby Pembroke Dock.
Fishing remained the main occupation and at one time this was the third largest fleet in the UK before the 1960’s saw the arrival of Esso and the explosion of refineries which today are the main employers in the town.
Lord Nelson was a regular visitor and a big supporter claiming that Milford Haven was "the greatest natural harbour in the world". It may have been overtaken on that front by the likes of Sydney but the modern harbour and docks remain a lively place though with more yachts these days than fishing trawlers.
Those staying overnight will enjoy impressive views from the main harbourside, and it's well worth a stroll up past the revamped Water Gardens at The Rath, both great places to watch the ferries and Super tankers crawl past so close.
The Milford Haven Museum in the Old Custom House was once used to store the Whale oil and charts the history of the town from its Quaker beginnings to its modern day Refineries.
Milford Haven has long suffered bad press due to its refineries and industry but invariably this is from those who haven't actually been here or at least not for many years.
The revamped harbour area is a lively mix of good restaurants, coffee shops, boutique and independent shops and is a pleasing place to head for a drink by the waterside.
You might catch something on at the local Torch Theatre or head to the Old Sail Loft and Waterfront Gallery, a worthy showcase for local artists. West of the main town on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path you can see the impressive structures of Fort Hubberston one of the largest of Palmerston's Defence forts whilst a great short walk takes you alongside the creek at Hubberston Pill to the hamlet of Priory.
Here you can view the impressive Chancel Arch and other remains of Pill Priory established by the Tironian order of Benedictine Monks who had links to the Abbey at St Dogmaels at the end of The Pembrokeshire Coast Path near Cardigan.
With a population of over 12,000 this is the second largest town in Pembrokeshire and as such its facilities and transport options which include the train out to Cardiff and Swansea, make it a prime location for accessing both the Western and Southern sections of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
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