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 -12.5 miles - Easy Walking Grade - what these grades mean
Summary - Quiet woodland and meadow to Pembroke Dock where an urban section follows before scrub and low cliff trails on the north side of the Milford Haven estuary.
To walk or not to walk ? - Generally billed as the least inspiring section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path you can choose to miss today's walk out - there are good arguments for and against walking today CLICK HERE to read them and decide what you will do.
It’s certainly a pleasant enough departure point today as The Pembrokeshire Coast Path crosses the Pembroke River at Mill Bridge giving extensive views of the castle over the water in your wake.
You then have a section of rich riverside woodland where you can spot the old limestone quarries which provided the stone for those huge castle walls whilst pleasant meadow sections allow good views back over the marshes of the Pembroke Estuary.
A brief crossing of the steep ridge into the town of Pembroke Dock heralds the largest urban area on the whole Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
There is some interest for the walker as you head through the town which grew as a result of the movement of the Royal Naval Dockyard here in 1841.
The town was built up around this centrepiece with very un-Welsh like wide and grand rolling streets which were set out in a grid design around the “new” Royal Docks.
At its height over 4000 men were employed and in the 80 years the Royal Docks were operating over 260 of the finest ships were produced here including the launch of 3 Royal Yachts.
In 1926 however operations ceased and the whole area lost its sole purpose of existence and was thrown into virtual redundancy.
During the Second World War the RAF gave some brief respite when it ran its famous flying boats from here but these days the only modern employment comes from this being the terminal for the Irish Ferry Service to Rosslare.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path takes you past the Dockyard Barracks and defensive walls where you will spot the gun batteries and fortifications built to defend the dock. Watch out for the restored Garrison Chapel and 19th Century Palmerston Gun Towers where there is the chance to visit the Flying Boat Centre.
The beautifully restored Gun Tower Museum with its displays tracing the military history of the Milford Haven waterway and the docks themselves are also well worth pausing at. Leaving the former Royal Docks head through the houses to climb up to the famous Cleddau Bridge crossing, an immense structure and one of the longest unsupported bridge spans in Europe.
It dominates the scenery at this end of the Waterway giving superb views back up the widening haven in one direction contrasted with the narrowing dense woods and tidal creeks of the Daugleddau area in the other. The toll bridge (free for you walkers) replaced the old ferry crossing in 1975 and overnight cut out a 28 mile diversion into the upper estuary by road. The views on your 800m crossing over the tiny yachts and boats bobbing far below are always different depending on the rise and fall of the tide but when walking over the rushing waters 150ft up above the estuary even the distant smoking towers of the refineries are a pleasant sight from this height !
Leaving the Cleddau crossing the Wales Coast Path passes over Westfield Pill with good views of the modern day marina at Neyland before descending through thick woodland to Neyland above the banks of a narrow tidal creek, an important spot for bird life.
The village of Neyland is a pleasant interlude sat in the shadows of the dominating Cleddau Bridge and historically the triumphant site for the Western End of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s great South Wales Railway before it extended to Fishguard.
Neyland today is a laid back creek side village all the quieter for the closure of its railway by Beecham in the 1960’s and then the loss of the ferry crossing in the 70’s as the Cleddau bridge was opened.
You pass its bustling yacht marina to walk through the pleasant restored Quay area, a good spot for lunch in a nice open space overlooked by a grand statue of Brunel himself gazing out over the waterfront angrily at the new bridge!
A small back lane hugging the estuary brings you on into the hidden village of Llanstadwell with its beautifully located squat and square towered church perched on the edge of the Waterway.
Then head into the fields at Hazelbeach from beside the well placed and very pleasant waterfront Ferry House Inn - a walkers favourite. From here the path heads through pastoral farmland and patches of estuary woodland with good views of the waterway back towards Pembroke and the Cleddau Bridge.
You reach the Liquid Natural Gas Refinery near Waterston and thankfully once again much of this is well hidden from the walkers view but you will meet the perimeter fence on occasions and cross several bizarre metal bridges and tunnels which take you over and under the immense pipelines at the LNG plant. Europe’s biggest Liquid Natural Gas Plant this is currently providing around 30% of the UK’s gas needs, expected to rise to 80% in the next 10 years.
Look out over the water to spot the huge Super Tankers that bring the liquefied gas in from the Middle East, it’s here that the liquid is converted back to gas and sent into the national supply grid. Its pleasant enough walking however and devoid of habitation once again which is a relief after Pembroke Dock.
Beyond the plant the Pembrokeshire Coast Path continues tracking the waterside, then turns inland to cross a shady area of stream and marsh on boardwalks before a steep descent to cross the Black Bridge at Castle Pill inlet, a pleasant tidal creek with a few lonely yachts on the edge of Milford Haven. You arrive by the town’s grand and pleasing promenade known as The Rath a wide high green space with extensive views and a water garden overlooking the waterway.
Look for the bronze stature of a fisherman and his net standing defiant in homage to those who founded the town.
Milford Haven marks the end of the southern section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and the last sections of heavy industry before the walker returns to the open coastal scenery of the West and Northern routes.
Overnight stops and information about Milford Haven Town on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Map of all
for this walk
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