We returned to Pembrokeshire on Saturday 13 April 2019 and walked the coast path between the resort towns of Saundersfoot and Tenby. We had previously walked this section in the opposite direction in September 2018 so this new blog post replaces the original write up of the route.
We started out from Coppet Hall car park and walked along the beach. On the horizon is the silhouette of Monkstone Point a landmark which we visit on this walk.
We walked around to Saundersfoot beach then followed the coast path route on the main road out of the town towards The Glen, a residential street at the top of the hill overlooking Saundersfoot. There’s a great view from here of Saundersfoot Bay and the coastline. The blustery conditions were creating a multitude of fine incoming waves with white crests rolling onto the wide golden sands.
At The Glen, the track leads into Rhode Wood and there’s quite a climb uphill to high ground above the coastline and continues through Swallow Tree Woods. As the path winds it’s way hugging the coastline above heavily wooded cliffs there are occasional views of the sea and the rocky shoreline below.
The path trails down to Swallow Tree Bay, a small pebble cove and there’s a little bit of history attached to this place. On a nearby bench is a commemorative plaque dedicated to the work of Lord Merthyr in creating the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and noting it was formally opened at this point by Wynford Vaughan Thomas in 1970. The path has since become one of the most highly rated walking routes in the world and I wonder how many thousands of people have passed by this point in the near 50 years since that date, thanks to those visionaries who planned the National trail all those years ago.
There’s another climb uphill and reaching a break in the trees at a high point offers a fine panoramic view of Saundersfoot Bay and Wiseman’s Bridge in the distance.
We walked on to Trevayne and Monkstone Wood, a very scenic section of woodland as dappled sunlight highlighted the ground carpeted with spring bluebells. The path is undulating with some climbs and descents towards a prominent headland, Monkstone Point. At the top of the headland is an opportunity to leave the official coast path as a set of steps wind downhill through a steeply wooded slope, leading to a secluded hidden beach.
About halfway down is a tree which appears to have been struck by lightning or storm damaged in the past and has now taken on a dramatic, peculiar form. It’s massive gnarled branches contort and twist in all directions and it looks almost other worldly or like something from Lord of the Rings.
Monkstone Beach is very scenic, a band of multi coloured rocks and large pebbles embedded in the sand, a level sandy beach and Monkstone rock to the east.
It was a very blustery day and looking westwards towards Tenby, the choppy sea and churning waves topped with white foam sea spray crashing in at the rocky shoreline created quite a spectacle.
Climbing back up the steps certainly raised the heart rate and reason to pause at the top for a moment to regain my breath. We rejoined the coast path route, a lovely section as the path crosses open fields and then meanders through more woodland. Lodge Valley is particularly scenic as the path winds down a hillside through woodland with dappled shade and spring wildflowers covered slopes.
Crossing a stream, it’s then a steep climb back up and reaching high ground as the path turns inland, there’s a super viewpoint at a small clearing of the steep cliffs towards Monkstone Point.
It’s a pleasant walk along edge of fields with views of Tenby town in the distance and then heading inland the path leads downhill to Rowston Dingle.
There’s a pretty valley near Waterwynch but the next section of path leads uphill and is without doubt the worst surface we have encountered on the coast path. The pathway is made up of concrete grids with ridges, very uncomfortable to walk over and puts a strain on knees and ankles.
On reaching the top of the slope, thankfully the concrete ends and back on a normal track there’s a waymarker to a viewpoint area, ‘Allen’s View’. The area is in the care of Tenby Civic Society and was landscaped from the 1930s onwards with some magnificent Monterey Pines and many established mature trees that make it a pleasant enough spot but the views to Tenby and the coast are not that great. There are some skilful wood carvings of various birds, carved from felled trees which add some interest.
Returning to the path route, walking along the road downhill into Tenby brings you to The Croft, a street overlooking North beach. We went down a steep set of steps onto North Beach where some rocks at the back of the beach provided a good place to sit down and relax with a view of the beach.
We finished by walking to the picturesque harbour then up into the town for a wander before finding a beer garden and suitable liquid refreshment.
At four and a half miles, with plenty of climbs and descents through a varied coastal and woodland landscape, this made for a quite strenuous but very enjoyable walk and the reason we chose to repeat this section.