Hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast National Trail, Wales

Pembrokeshire Travel Blog

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There is nothing better than hiking along the Sea - and the cliffs and crashing waves of Pembrokeshire were a marvelous place to hike for a week.  The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park claims to be Britain's only 'truly' coastal National Park. 

I had spent loads of time hiking in Scotland & Ireland, but never Wales - so three of us decided to explore one of three National Trails in Wales.  While doing research on the best places to hike, I found a website on the Pembrokeshire Coast National Trail - billed as a 186 mile long coastal walk through the most varied scenery in the UK.  I further researched the area and found that the Southern part of Pembrokeshire was largely inhabited by English immigrants, who had supplanted the native Welsh over decades.  The North, I read, was still primarily Welsh - so we decided to explore the Northern bits of the trail - starting in Fishguard/Abergwaun and ending in St. David's/Tyddewi.  Additional benefits for us were that this region was less trafficked and more rugged - so we'd see spectacular scenery and not a slew of other people.   

We took the train from London to Fishguard - an all day endeavor but with great views along the way.  The B&B we chose for our first few days in Fishguard was outstanding - from our window we could see Fishguard Bay and the many boats moored there.  We arrived early enough to do a short walk before night fell and our innkeeper kindly dropped us at a trailhead towards the town of Newport so we could walk back - in the interest of time and daylight.

The National Park Authority has done an excellent job of marking the trails - which we found were all clearly signposted and very well maintained.  Our innkeeper had provided us with a book of all the trails with a rating on difficulty and time, as well as what to expect along the way in terms of refreshment.   For this first walk, we knew we had a couple of hours and would see excellent scenery around Dinas Head, views of Fishguard, and waves crashing along cliffs.  We didn't know we'd also see wildflowers, waving grasses, and the occasional cow.  As we got close to Fishguard, we even walked through a caravan park.  It was a delightful way to start our walking tour.

The next few days, we used Fishguard as a base for day hikes.  We discovered a great hail & ride shuttle service - called the Puffin, the Poppit Rocket or the Strumbler depending on region - that would drop you (or pick you up) so you could walk one way and not have to retrace your steps.  We used this to visit the nearby town of Newport, 12 miles from Fishguard, and then walk back.  We also visited nearby Abercastle and Strumble Head, seeing fairy circles en route, quaint farms, and gorgeous scenery.  The walking was easy - sometimes descending from a cliff to a beach and back up, but those were relatively short and the long stretches of cliff walking gave us plenty of time to regain our breath.  On occasion we'd come across a pub or small village to get a bite, but in general we had to carry all of our sustenance with us. 

After we'd thoroughly explored the trail from Cardigan to Abercastle, we changed B&Bs to one just outside of St. David's so we could do day trips on that portion of the trail.  We explored Trefin and Porthgain, Abereiddy, and the area around St. David's Head.  During this half of our walking week, we encountered rain - which is to be expected and didn't much slow us down.  Though St. David's was a more touristy town than Fishguard - due to its historical significance and the famous Cathedral, being much smaller and more remote, our hikes were even more isolated and we seldom ran into other hikers.  Again, the scenery was spectacular and well worth the time to get there.

I seldom wish to visit the same place twice, however, this area is so peaceful, friendly, and such a delightful & refreshing place to walk & explore, that we are considering a trip back - this time from St. David's to Tenby.

Pics coming (predates my digital camera)

TravellingAuntie says:
Ah, I tried to post responses to you twice and they didn't show up - let's try a third time
TB is a great reason to scan old photos before they fade!
testing testing
Posted on: Mar 22, 2010
TravellingAuntie says:
Posted on: Mar 22, 2010
Verhoek says:
looks like a great trip!!!

greetz Patrick
Posted on: Mar 22, 2010
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photo by: pyrrho