Pembrokeshire Coast ~ Walk 5. Freshwater East to Manorbier Castle

This walk covers a 3 mile, short but very scenic, section of the Pembrokeshire coast between Freshwater East and Manorbier Bay. So a walk distance of under 6 miles as a ‘there and back’ along the coast path.

The start point is from Freshwater East beach, a superb wide arc of golden sands flanked on each side by hillsides.


Freshwater East Beach

As usual, the coast path is clearly way marked by posts with the familiar acorn icon directing the way across the dunes behind the beach. The path climbs steadily uphill with a great view of the series of headlands which gradually “step” towards Manorbier into the distance.


Continuing to climb uphill and through woodland, a clearing provides a fine view of the natural arc of Freshwater East bay and the Trewent Point headland.


View of Freshwater East natural arc of bay

Continuing onwards the path trails along open fields at the top of gently sloping cliffs and there are outstanding wide views across the coast.


Views from the path

There are occasional surprises too as the path skims near the edge in places, above some steep cliff sides with dramatic sheer rock features which contrast with the lovely turquoise hued waters.


Swanlake Bay comes into view, with the backdrop of countless farm fields into the distance, and the shimmering waters across the bay, the scenery is outstanding.


Swanlake Bay scenery


Coast path down to Swanlake Beach

At Swanlake Bay we headed down onto the deserted beach, such a tranquil scene with the only sound from waves breaking gently on to the shore. Back on the path, it rises above the bay with an open aspect to provide yet more wonderful views.


Coast path view of Swanlake Bay

At the next headland Manorbier Bay comes into view, albeit obscured by a mid morning sea mist rolling in, for a dramatic effect. The path meanders steeply on a zigzag track downhill.


Sea mist in Manorbier Bay

The path trails along on sloping ground, high above the rugged coastline with fine views on the approach to Manorbier Beach and across to the headland known as “Priest’s Nose” on the far side of the bay.

It’s a gentle descent walking down onto Manorbier Beach, with freshwater stream running through pebbles and snaking across the sands to the shoreline.

Manorbier Beach

From the beach we made our way uphill along the roadside, which runs below the imposing walls of Manorbier Castle, into the village.

At the top of the road is the magnificent entrance of the Norman castle. This was the birthplace and home of Geraldus Cambrinus, ‘Gerald of Wales’, one of Wales most famous chroniclers of the ages. He was born here in the 12th Century and he described his birthplace as “the most pleasantest spot in all Wales”.

Within the castle is a small cafe and gift shop. There’s also tables in the courtyard so you can end a coastal walk here in historical surroundings.

You can wander around the castle grounds, towers and accessible areas, though an entrance fee is charged. See Manorbier Castle Website for current prices.

You can enjoy wonderful views from the towers overlooking the grounds and the bay. Gerald of Wales was probably just a tad biased, but you can appreciate why he held that opinion all those centuries ago, with the splendid views from here.

After exploring the castle, a short distance up the road is the local pub, The Castle Inn. It has a fine beer garden to enjoy something more refreshing in summer and snug bars for other times. The return to Freshwater East is back along the same coast path route.

Route Recap

Distance – A return back along the coast path makes an ‘out and back’ walk of about 5 1/2 miles.

To sum up, an enjoyable short walk of sea views, beaches, countryside scenery, ending at a grand historic castle in an ‘old world’ village.

Time – allow about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to include time for a wander on the beach and a refreshment break in the village.

Have you done this walk? Comments always welcome to share your experience.

One thought on “Pembrokeshire Coast ~ Walk 5. Freshwater East to Manorbier Castle

  1. Did this walk Yesterday,Would not call this walk easy 🤔 Some parts were quite steep and not the best underfoot..Pembrokeshire need to put some seats along the way as saw a few people struggling …I Agree it was a pretty walk and We also enjoyed liquid refreshments at the end but in the Pub 😊


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