This 5 mile circular walk starts and finishes at the National Trust site at Stackpole Quay, in South Pembrokeshire.
The first 2 miles of this walk are on a wonderful section of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, passing a couple of the finest beaches to be found along the path, Barafundle and Broad Haven South. The walk then continues, following a scenic nature trail around the wonderful Bosherston Lily Ponds and Stackpole Estate.
To reach Barafundle Bay from Stackpole Quay, follow a way marked path up steps to emerge into an open field. Keeping to the left on a track across the field until reaching a headland, and a fantastic first glimpse of the golden sands of Barafundle Bay.
Barafundle Bay has received acclaim as one of the most idyllic beaches in the world, the publicity meaning it has become increasingly more popular in recent years.
A long flight of stone steps lead down onto the pristine sands of the beach. The beach is backed by huge dunes with paths leading into the countryside, but this walk continues on the coast path which meanders uphill through lovely shaded ancient woodland towards the cliffs.
The walk across the clifftops towards Stackpole Head can be bracing. This is not far from the southernmost point of the Pembrokeshire coast, so the south westerly winds off the sea can be very strong. As you walk towards the next headland, it’s always worthwhile taking a look back, particularly here to enjoy fine views of the rock arch feature known as ‘Lattice Windows’.
Continuing westwards on grassy clifftop tracks there are more superb views of the dramatic scenery with rugged cliffs, huge sea caves, and secluded coves.
Broad Haven South
This beach is notable for the magnificent ‘Church Rock’ which sits just offshore. The name derives from its distinctive profile which resembles a church and steeple.
The place name of Stackpole also originates from this rock feature, as in medieval times the rock was ‘the stack’ and the sea ‘the pool’, so the ‘Stack pool’ eventually became Stackpole!
Continuing the walk down to Broad Haven South, crossing a small wood footbridge over a stream, a walk out across the wide expanse of beautiful sands is not to be missed.
To continue the circular route, we retrace our steps, cross back over the footbridge and follow the path to the nature trails around the Bosherston Lily Ponds.
Stackpole Estate and The Lily Ponds
Stackpole Estate is a beautiful area of woodland, lakes and country park. The park was first landscaped during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Originally a creek with natural springs in nearby valleys, a visitor noted how a high spring tide formed a series of picturesque lakes. This inspired an idea to dam the creek to create the inland ponds.
During summer the ponds are filled with spectacular flowering water lilies and have become known as ‘The Lily Ponds’.
A nature trail follows around the ponds, which are flanked by wooded hillsides, while footbridges link the trails on both sides.
The impressive Eight Arch bridge was constructed in the 1790’s and provides a wonderful scenic link with the countryside path which leads back towards Stackpole Quay.
From the bridge, head to the top of a slope on an open field. A path continues across the fields returning to Stackpole Quay, however this walk takes an alternative path to see an interesting landmark. See the map below for the route.
A track to the right leads through a woodland paddock, then out into an open field at ‘Steppingback Wood’.
Here you’ll find an ancient standing stone, known as ‘The Devil’s Quoit’. Such stones carry an air of mystery and inspire curiosity on their origins and meaning. It’s amazing to lay your hands on a megalith that has stood here across the ages, for more than 4000 years.
Do such stones hold any mystical powers from ancient times? Something to ponder on the remainder of the walk, returning to the start point at Stackpole Quay.
5 thoughts on “Pembrokeshire Coast ~ Walk 7. Barafundle Bay & Stackpole Estate”
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!
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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!
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!
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