We returned to Pembrokeshire for our next short walk walk of the coast path between the popular resort towns of Saundersfoot and Tenby, a distance of just under 5 miles. This walk starts at Coppet Hall Beach car park for details of the facilities available at this site.
From the car park we walked out onto the wide sandy beach. There are great views across Carmarthen Bay and to the west is the notable silhouette landmark rocks of Monkstone Point.
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. From the roadside offers a great view across the wide beach and Bay, the blustery conditions on the day creating quite a scene of white crest waves rolling onto Saundersfoot’s golden sands.
At the end of The Glen, the path enters Rhode Wood and there’s quite a climb uphill to high ground on a rough stony track continuing 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 taken on a dramatic form. It’s massive gnarled branches contort and twist in all directions.
Monkstone Beach is very scenic, a band of multi coloured rocks and huge pebbles embedded in the sands 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 in the distance.
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.
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.