We returned to Marloes in October for our next walk in this series, to continue on the trail northwards to St. Brides Bay.
We parked in a lay-by on the quiet country lane which leads from Marloes village towards the coast, fortunately it’s right opposite a gate for the link path which leads along fields down to Musselwick Sands to join the coast path.
It was a fine autumnal day, one of those lovely turn of the season days when the elements combine to provide perfect conditions for a coastal walk. The sun was shining, puffed white cotton clouds drifted on a blue sky and a refreshing sea breeze blew gently ashore. It was a day made for walking and there’s nothing better to invigorate the senses.
The tide was in so Musselwick’s sands weren’t accessible but as we made our way uphill to reach the headland there’s a fine view towards Martin’s Haven.
The path levels off and leads across gently undulating clifftop terrain with a patchwork of farm fields on the landward side and superb views along the rugged coast towards North Pembrokeshire.
You can really get into your stride on this section, but it’s worthwhile to slow your pace and enjoy the views of the rich and contrasting colours of the landscape, sea, cliffs and red sandstone rocks.
Tower Point with it’s pinnacle rock is near the site of another Pembrokeshire Iron Age promontory fort, yet another dramatic coastal location settled by ancient Celtic tribes.
Along this section a dry stone wall marks the boundary of an old landed estate and the coast path follows along this wall, eventually passing by the headland known as ‘The Nab Head’. The path then winds its way above some picturesque ‘zawns’, these are deep sharply cut sea inlets such as Huntsman’s Leap.
This is a beautiful part of the coast with dramatic red cliffs, clear blue waters and steep sided coves, with a backdrop of lush green fields. As we neared the sheltered bay at St. Brides Haven there were quite a few people with their four legged friends enjoying the coast path, a sure sign of this being a popular spot.
St. Brides Haven is a pretty shingle beach with red sandstone rocks, especially popular with families as it’s a great place for kids to explore rock pools at the shore. There’s a small picnic bench area, parking and toilets nearby too, worth noting as the only facilities along this route.
It’s steeped in history too, the nearby St. Brides Church stands on the site of an ancient chapel and crumbling cliff sides have revealed stone coffins and bones of medieval monks buried here over a millennium ago. A couple of old stone mariners cottages also sit on the edge of the bay in a wonderful setting.
After passing by the cottages and back on the grassy clifftop, there’s a view of St. Brides Castle on the hill, the former estate home of the Barons of Kensington.
The walking from here is easy going along the top of steep cliffs with superb views from near Halfway Rock across to the Stack Rocks.
The path drops down into a valley at Mill Haven, climbing back to the clifftops then twists and turns above the deep cut inlets named ‘Dutch Gin’ and ‘Brandy Bay’. These sound like names from a shady past as old smugglers coves, but the high and sheer sided cliffs would suggest otherwise.
Further along we pass by the rock sculpture ‘The Waking Eye’ then reaching a large rocky outcrop at Ticklas Point there’s a chance to pause and appreciate spectacular views over St. Brides Bay. One of those ‘stand and stare’ moments to savour.
At Borough Head the landscape changes as the clifftops are covered with lush vegetation and a lovely section of path follows through a shaded woodland of beech and oak. Hawthorn trees provide a spray of autumn colour with clusters of deep red berries.
The views are somewhat limited by the dense woodland but the path soon emerges onto open clifftops at another bay named Musselwick. As you follow around the clifftop there’s a chance to enjoy views back along the coastline just walked from Borough Head.
From here it’s an easy walk along the clifftop towards the pretty village of Little Haven. Before heading down Strawberry Hill into the cove, a vantage point provides a superb view of the coast ahead and Broad Haven beach.
At Little Haven we walked along to the end of ‘The Point’ to enjoy the view across the sands before calling in at The Castle pub for the customary liquid refreshments and some grub. We sat outside on the benches in the sunshine, enjoying the Indian summer weather and splendid views down the beach.
As the tide was out we walked onto Little Haven beach and past the spectacular cliff cave around to Broad Haven beach, ending our coast walk here before a wander along the seafront. With the seasonal coastal bus service finished for this year, it was a late afternoon taxi trip back to Marloes to end the day.
So a fantastic coastal walk on an autumn day which reminded us, if any reason was needed, why we love Pembrokeshire!
> Walk distance ~ 9 miles ‘point to point’
> Time ~ up to 4 hours with a break and taking photos
> Recommended rest stop ~ The Castle, Little Haven
Join us again for our next walk on the Pembrokeshire Coast.