We returned to Pembrokeshire in April 2019 to walk the coast path between the resort towns of Saundersfoot and Tenby. We 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 looking across to the horizon with the notable silhouette landmark of Monkstone Point which we visited 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, at the top of the hill overlooking Saundersfoot. There’s a great view from here across the Bay, the blustery conditions on the day creating multitudes of incoming waves with white crests rolling onto the wide golden sands.
From The Glen, the path becomes a rough stony track through Rhode Wood and there’s quite a climb uphill to high ground and then continues through Swallow Tree Woods. As the path winds it’s way hugging the tops of 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 scenic pebble cove with 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 before reaching a break in the trees at a high point which offers a fine panoramic view of Saundersfoot Bay and Wiseman’s Bridge in the distance.
We walked on to Trevayne then to 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 the prominent headland, Monkstone Point. At the top of the headland is an opportunity to leave the official coast path, a set of steps lead downhill through a steeply wooded slope, to a magnificent secluded beach.
About halfway down the slope is a tree which appears to have been struck by lightning or storm damaged in the past and has now taken on a dramatic 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 huge pebbles embedded in the sands, a smooth level beach and the Monkstone rock feature 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 scene with the townscape as a backdrop.
Climbing back up the steps certainly raises the heart rate but on rejoining there’s a lovely countryside 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 sunlight highlighting the spring wildflowers covering the adjacent slopes.
Crossing a stream, it’s then a steep climb to reach high ground and as the path turns inland, there’s a super outlook of the waves thundering in at the cliffs below and Monkstone Point.
It’s then a pleasant walk across countryside fields with views of Tenby in the distance before heading inland downhill to Rowston Dingle and the pretty valley of a Waterwynch Bay.
The next section of path is uphill and concrete grids which are undoubtedly the worst surface we have yet encountered on the coast path.
On reaching the top of this slope, thankfully the concrete ends and there’s a waymarker to an open space 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 though the views to Tenby and the coast are not that great. There are a number of wood carvings depicting various birds, skilfully carved from trunks of felled trees which add some interest.
Returning to the path route & walking along the road downhill into Tenby brings you to The Croft, smart Georgian terrace properties including our accommodation at The Fourcroft Hotel, and magnificent views of North beach.
A set of steep steps lead down onto North Beach where some conveniently situated rocks at the back of the beach provide a good place to take a break and relax with a view of the beach and the rolling waves.
We finished by walking along to the picturesque harbour area then up into the town for a wander before finding a pub for some essential refuelling with suitable liquid refreshment.
At four and a half miles, with plenty of climbs and descents through scenic coastal and woodland landscapes, this made for a moderate and very enjoyable walk.