Pembrokeshire Coast Walk 7. Barafundle Bay & Stackpole Estate

This 5 miles circular walk starts at the National Trust site at Stackpole Quay. Car parking is available at a cost of £5 or free to Trust members. The first 2 miles of this walk are on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, passing a couple of the finest beaches on the Pembrokeshire coastline, Barafundle and Broad Haven South. The walk then continues on a nature trail around the wonderful Bosherston Lily Ponds and Stackpole Estate.

The Boathouse Tearoom at Stackpole Quay is a great start and finish point, so there’s the opportunity to be suitably refreshed with the essential snacks and drinks, before or after a walk.

From Stackpole Quay follow the path westwards, uphill via a set of steps, to emerge into open fields. Keep to the left of the path across the fields and near the headland there’s a fantastic view of Barafundle Bay from the clifftop.

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Barafundle Bay ~ spectacular scenery
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Barafundle Bay

Barafundle Bay has received acclaim as one of the most idyllic beaches in the world and so has become very popular in recent years. It’s worth pausing near the stone archway at a viewpoint ledge to appreciate the ‘picture postcard’ scenery.

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Pembrokeshire Coast Path, track to viewpoint overlooking Barafundle Bay

Through the stone archway a long flight of stone steps leads down onto the pristine beach, backed by sandy dunes of Stackpole Warren. Walk across to the far side of the beach to a distinctive algae covered rocky area and join the path which meanders uphill through a lovely shaded woodland and climbs towards the cliff top.

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Algae covered rocks.
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Path through shaded woodland towards Stackpole Head

The coast path heads across open ground towards Stackpole Head. Looking back from the cliff top there are fine views of Barafundle and the rocks feature known as ‘Lattice Windows’.

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Cliff top view of the Lattice window rock feature
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View from Stackpole Head towards Broad Haven South
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Coastline between Stackpole Head and Broad Haven South

Broad Haven South

Further along are fine views of the magnificent ‘Church Rock’ which sits offshore from Broad Haven South. The name derives from the distinctive profile which resembles that of a church and steeple. The place name of Stackpole also derives from this rock feature, as in medieval times the rock was called the stack with the sea being the pool, so Stack pool eventually became Stackpole!

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The profile of Church Rock
View over Broad Haven South beach
The coast path to Broad Haven South beach

Walk down the grassy slope which leads down to Broad Haven South. A pebble strewn stream runs down this side of the beach, so cross a footbridge to walk out across the beautiful sands.

At the back of the beach on the west side are steps leading to a car park with a washroom facility, as the coast path continues towards St. Govan’s Head. But for this circular walk we retrace our steps, recross the footbridge over the stream and follow the path to join the nature trails around the Stackpole Estate.

Stackpole Estate

Stackpole Estate is a beautiful area of woodland, lakes and country park which was landscaped during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Originally a creek with natural springs in nearby valleys, a visitor noted a particularly high spring tide formed a series of picturesque lakes. This inspired the idea of damming the creek to create inland lakes. During summer the ponds are filled with spectacular flowering water lilies and so became known as ‘The Lily Ponds’.

The trail follows around the banks of the ponds, which are flanked by hillsides densely covered with lush green woodland on all sides and footbridges linking the trails on both sides.

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Bosherston lily ponds

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The Eight Arch Bridge, Stackpole Estate

The impressive stone Eight Arch Bridge was constructed in the 1790’s and provides a wonderful scenic link with the countryside path which takes you back towards Stackpole Quay. 

From the bridge, reaching the brow of the hill a path off to the right leads through a gated woodland paddock area, then out into an open field at Steppingback Wood. In the field stands an ancient ‘Devil’s Quoit’ . Such stones always inspire curiosity and its amazing to think this monument has stood here for some 3000 years. Do such ancient standing stones hold any mystical powers? Something to ponder on the walk to return to Stackpole Quay.

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Stackpole Estate 5 mile Circular walk map

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4 thoughts on “Pembrokeshire Coast Walk 7. Barafundle Bay & Stackpole Estate

  1. Visitor

    We walked this coastal path today, a dry day in between all the rainy day and before Storm Eunice comes tomorrow. It was strong winds though. The walk as described was fantastic with stunning views of the sea. We then went by car to St Govans Head and Chapel as wanted to do this before the storm. Steep steps down to the chapel but worth it. 122 steps down but 121 steps up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, and great to hear you enjoyed the coast walk and visit to St. Govan’s. You chose a good day to visit the area, between the storms!

      Like

  2. Pingback: Pembrokeshire Coast Walk 6. Freshwater East to Stackpole Quay – Short Walks & Long Paths

  3. coastlinestoskylines

    Wow, what a gem! Sadly I’d never heard of Barafundle Bay prior to reading this pieces. It looks absolutely stunning and relaxing: the lovely beaches, rolling hills, and magnificent views. Great post and lovely images. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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