Our second walk on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path covers the section between the popular holiday resort towns of Saundersfoot and Tenby.
This walk starts at Coppet Hall Beach car park. The watersports centre has plenty of facilities available and nearby are information boards on the local history of the area. From Coppet Hall we walked into Saundersfoot, then continued along the main road which leads uphill and out of the town. At the top of the hill overlooking Saundersfoot beach is a great view across the bay.
The path is way marked at The Glen, where the path enters Rhode Wood with a climb uphill on a rough stony track which continues through to Swallow Tree Woods. The path winds it’s way along a pleasant clifftop woodland trail with occasional views of the sea and the rocky shoreline below.
At Swallow Tree Bay, a small scenic pebble cove, 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, noting it was formally opened at this very point by Wynford Vaughan Thomas in 1970. The path has since become one of the most highly rated walking routes in the world and one can only wonder how many people have passed by this point in the 50 years since, thanks to those visionaries who planned this National Trail all those years ago.
The path continues on another uphill track through woodland, which opens up at a turn to offer 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. There are some climbs and descents heading towards Monkstone Point. There’s a choice of path routes here, as the coast path continues Westwards but another path leads down steps through a steeply wooded slope, to the secluded Monkstone Beach.
Although not part of the official coast path, it’s a worthwhile detour to head down the steps to explore what is a magnificent hidden gem of a beach. Halfway down the slope is a huge tree which has taken on a dramatic form, it’s trunk and gnarled branches twisting in all directions.
Monkstone Beach is very scenic, a band of multi coloured rocks and boulders bounding a splendid fine sand beach and the landmark ‘Monkstone’ rock feature.
It was a blustery morning with churning waves crashing along the rocky shoreline. The sea spray made a splendid scene with Tenby’s familiar townscape of prominent landmarks at Castle Hill and the Church spire, in the distance.
The climb back up the steps to rejoin the coast path certainly raises the heart rate but this detour was definitely worthwhile. The path continues on a pleasant countryside track across field tops and then steps through a lovely woodland valley.
Lodge Valley is particularly scenic, with dappled shade and sunlight highlighting the spring wildflowers covering the adjacent slopes.
After crossing a valley stream, there’s a steep climb to reach high ground at a clifftop. Just before the path turns, there’s a superb viewpoint which offers a spectacular view through the trees of Monkstone Point and waves surging at the rocks below.
It’s then a pleasant walk across countryside fields before the path winds through Rowston Dingle. A separate path leads off down to Waterwynch Bay, a short detour to a pretty cove.
The coast path continues uphill on paving of concrete grid blocks, which are really uncomfortable to walk on. At the top of the rise there’s a way-marker to a viewpoint area, ‘Allen’s View’. The area, in the care of Tenby Civic Society, was landscaped from the 1930s onwards with some magnificent Monterey Pines and many established mature trees that make it a pleasant spot though the views to Tenby and the coast are now somewhat obscured. A number of skilfully crafted wood carvings of various birds add some interest.
Goscar Rock, North beach, Tenby
A set of steps lead down the steep cliff side onto North Beach, followed by an invigorating stroll across the golden wide sands and a closer look at the famous landmark Goscar Rock.
A raised path at the back of the beach leads around to the picturesque harbour, with some typically quaint harbourside buildings, most notably a mariners church, St. Julians, nestled in a cove by another small beach. It’s a delightful setting with the pastel coloured townhouses and terraces above providing a picture postcard scene.
To finish we headed into the town for a wander and call at one of Tenby’s many fine pubs for our customary end of walk refreshments.
Start ~ Coppet Hall Beach / Finish – Tenby Harbour
Distance ~ 4.4 miles, including the detour down to Monkstone Beach.
Notes ~ This walk would be classed as a moderate grade, it has plenty of climbs and descents, with 921 feet of elevation across an undulating coastline. A scenic route with coastal views and trails through pleasant woodland and valleys.
Strava Route Map: