Pembrokeshire Coast Walk 8. Bosherston and Castlemartin Range East

This walk starts from the village of Bosherston, joins the coast path at Broad Haven South and continues on a clifftop walk. The walk can be either a short 4 mile circular, or as an extended 10.25 miles to Stack Rocks (see Walk 9) and returning to Bosherston.

Bosherston is a small village with picturesque old cottages and an impressive Norman Church. For ramblers and visitors it has some essential amenities. Ye Olde Worlde Cafe is a quaint ivy clad cottage tea rooms, though only open during holiday season (it was closed when I walked this section in early January).

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There’s also a welcoming village pub, St. Govan’s Country Inn for bar meals and a fine pint to finish your walk. It’s a very popular place particularly during spring and summer when coastal hikers, rock climbers, campers and day trippers call in.

There’s a NT chargeable car park but arrive early and there is limited free roadside parking in the village. Walk down the road by the church and join a path through woodland leading to the nature trail around the famous lily ponds.

This wonderfully scenic area is a haven for wildlife and birds. Walking alongside the ponds, a variety of birdsong could be heard as well as a noisy woodpecker in a tree top, a cormorant flew low over the water and ducks sheltered along the banks.

The varied habitat of the ponds is an ideal home to otters but you’d be fortunate to glimpse these elusive shy creatures. At the southern end of the ponds is a reed bed marsh, such a peaceful scene as reeds rustled and swayed on a winters breeze.

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Reed beds at Bosherston ponds

The reed beds are a good spot for heron, kingfisher and various species of birds such as warblers. The path follows alongside a freshwater stream which flows from the ponds through a rocky crevice and under a small footbridge onto Broad Haven South beach.

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On the previous walk we had detoured inland at this point so we rejoined the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and walked alongside the stream, down onto the beach.

Broad Haven South ~ Beach scenes

Walking along the edge of the dunes to the far end of the beach, steps lead up to a car park where there’s also a washroom building. The coast path route continues westwards across the cliff top on the Trevallen Downs with superb views looking back over the rugged coastline of numerous caves, rock arches and outcrops.

A sentry gate marks the boundary of the Ministry of Defence Castlemartin East Range. The range is only accessible when there aren’t ‘live’ military exercises, so it’s important to plan a walk here to ensure the coast path is accessible on the day.

dc67ef58-e287-49fd-a962-edcd37ef7579The land within the range was requisitioned by the War Office in 1938 and has remained in military use as a firing range since. Signs along the path warn of the dangers of items left from military exercises, so follow the advice and don’t pick up anything in this area!

The path tracks above the narrow inlet of New Quay, reputedly an old smugglers cove in centuries past. At St. Govan’s Head, a coastguard lookout building is the southernmost point of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The cliffs below the headland of richly coloured limestone are a spectacular sight.

The exposed position means gusts and bracing westerly winds whip in, carrying the noise of waves smashing onto the rocks below. The sights and sounds at this place really are an epic coastal scene.

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Epic coastal scenery at St. Govan’s Head

The cliffs are very popular with rock climbing enthusiasts and as you walk by you often see some setting up their ropes nearby. There’s obvious erosion along the cliffs and so it’s very wise to be cautious here and give some space from the cliff edge for safety.

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At St. Govan’s there’s a choice whether to return along the winding country lane to Bosherston Village to complete this as a short circular walk of 4 miles, or to continue along the Castlemartin coast on a longer walk to Stack Rocks and the ‘Green Bridge of Wales’. Both the short and longer versions of the walk finish at The St. Govan’s Country Inn, with the customary refreshments at this lovely village pub.

Alternative 10 miles Circular Walk

This walk can be extended to a 10.25 miles route along this spectacular coastline by continuing on Coast Walk 9 to The Green Bridge of Wales. At St.Govan’s continue on to visit the chapel in the cove, then head westwards along the coast paths as far as the viewing platform at The Green Bridge of Wales. To return, retrace your steps back to St. Govan’s and continue along the country lane to Bosherston Village to complete the walk.

Map detail of the combined route of Walks 8 & 9:

One thought on “Pembrokeshire Coast Walk 8. Bosherston and Castlemartin Range East

  1. Pingback: Pembrokeshire Coast Walk 9. St. Govan’s & Green Bridge of Wales – Short Walks & Long Paths

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