Coastlines are places for dreamers. Combing the beach for pebbles or shells, staring out across the white-topped lines that scar the surface of the ocean, or running your hand through wild-flowered fields that line coastal paths. There is something impressive to see on every coastline, but some are more special than others.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is the first designated National Trail in Wales. The walk takes you through bird strewn skies, past historic sites of human interest and every kind of maritime landscape from precipitous limestone cliffs, red sandstone beaches, immense headlands, estuaries and flooded glacial valleys.
Distance: The full path from Amroth to St Dogmaels is 186 miles, and if this seems a little daunting, we have split it down into three easy-to-manage sections of outstanding beauty for you to enjoy at whatever pace you want to set.
Grade: Moderate. While there are options to make this walk a little more difficult or a little easier, the overall grade is moderate. On the whole path, the ascent and descent are allegedly equivalent to the 35,000 ft you would cover climbing Mt Everest, however, the walk is not quite as full on as this implies!
Pembrokeshire is in south-west Wales and the path begins in the little town of Amroth in the southern part of Pembrokeshire. You set out from here heading round the peninsula until you reach St Dogmaels. On the route, you pass through the lovely towns of Tenby and Pembroke before arriving in St Davids, just before the end of the whole path.
It may seem like a given, an almost no-brainer, but the main reason to walk this path is for the natural beauty. The diversity of coastal landscapes is staggering and you feel your jaw drop and your soul lift every time you walk around a new headland. You pass 58 beaches on this trip, often deserted or the break-line loaded with surfers catching the best of the coastal swells. From family orientated beaches full of fun to wild beaches that nobody other than you brave walkers can reach, this is a coast packed with sandy joy.
Wild, rugged places mean wild life, and there is an abundance in Pembrokeshire. For those of you who like to keep an eye on our avian friends, you will be in luck. The highlights are choughs (by far the best of the crow family in my opinion) peregrine falcons, gannets by the ten-thousand and of course, everyone’s favourite, the puffins, who featured in last weeks Adventure of the Week, but always deserve a mention. For those who like to keep their eyes on the seas, there is a good chance to see harbour porpoise (in one of the 14 harbours you will pass by) basking sharks, bottlenose dolphins and people have been known to spy a humpback whale, minke whale or orca.
The towns and villages are another highlight of this coastal route. With delights like Tenby, the colourful little harbour town, with a deep historical past. Here you can still see the ancient town walls, built in Norman times or stroll through cobbled streets, sampling the great food and drinks on offer. St Davids is a favourite location of artists, travellers, pilgrims and surfers. While only a small village, St Davids has been granted city status by the Queen due to having an impressive cathedral. You will stumble across an art gallery on every corner in St Davids, a great place to spend time searching for the perfect painting that captures the essence of your walk.
Amroth is accessible from both Swansea and Cardiff by train, so it is fairly simple to get to the start of the walk. St Dogmaels is a little more out there and requires a small bus or taxi transfer back to Fishguard before connecting by train to Swansea or Cardiff.