For our first walk on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in 2022 we returned, in March, to Nolton Haven. We parked at the car park just across the road from the beach, so there’s very easy access to join the coast path. The walk is northwards to Solva Harbour, just over 8 miles on the coast path.
With some fine early spring weather and a forecast for sunny spells, we took time to enjoy the splendid view of the beach.
We then set off along the dunes at the back of the beach where the path rises above the bay and continues on a winding track across a grassy cliff side. After rounding Davy Williams Haven, up ahead is the distinctive headland rock of ‘Rickets Head’. A group of walkers at the base provide some scale to the huge outcrop of rock.
From here the path climbs steadily uphill, before descending into a small valley with black coal dust tracks and an old chimney from a disused mine works, remnants of Victorian era colliery works in the area.
The path climbs steeply out of the valley, on the first of a series of quite steep climbs and descents along this route.
The path leads across a gorse and heather lined clifftop, at one point we encountered heavy traffic as a flock of sheep completely blocked the path ahead before turning tail and leading the way towards Newgale.
A high point above the descending path towards Newgale offers stunning views ahead of the magnificent Newgale Sands, one of Pembrokeshire’s finest and most popular beaches.
The 2 miles long beach is highly rated for surfing, as the Atlantic waves roll in. Along the main road there’s car parking, camping, and a surf shop to cater for the ‘surfer dude’ crowd. There’s also a cafe, a pub ‘The Duke of Edinburgh’ and public toilets so it’s a good rest-stop option for coast walkers too.
While the official path route continues along the beachfront road, we took the option to scramble over the pebbly embankment for an invigorating beach walk across the spectacular sands.
The walk along the beach is to a point adjacent to the Duke of Edinburgh pub, so it’s a scramble back over the pebbled bank to rejoin the road out of the village. After crossing the bridge at the end of the beach road its then uphill again as the path climbs steeply on a high clifftop track with more stunning views back over the beach and the long pebbled bank.
A sure sign that we are now on the North Pembrokeshire coast is that placenames are now predominantly Welsh, as we pass coves and valleys such as Cwm Mawr, Bryn-y-Mor, Porthmynawyd and the rocks of Dinas Fach. The epic coastline scenery is magnificent with fantastic views for mile after mile.
Ahead the path becomes a roller coaster with a series of steep climbs to high cliff tops and twisting descents into sheltered bays. The tough terrain on this section is a workout not just for the body but the senses too. Climbing to each high cliff top path gives the opportunity to breathe in deeply the fresh coastal air and to savour the views of this spectacular coastline.
The path levels out as the cliff top track leads towards Solva Harbour. On the way is a prominent headland and signs nearby give the location as St.Elvis. Perhaps there’s a ‘Jailhouse Rock’ nearby. The short detour to walk up onto the exposed headland of Penrhyn is definitely worthwhile despite the very blustery conditions, as there’s a super viewpoint across to the Gribin ridge and the inlet of Solva Harbour.
After crossing the small cove at Gwadn, there’s another climb uphill to cross the Gribin ridge. The path then descends along a stony track through woodland above the harbour inlet and leads down to picturesque Solva Harbour.
We walked around to the far side of the harbour to find ‘Cafe on the quay’ closed for the day, so we walked back to The Harbour Inn. With seats on the terrace, a very good pub lunch and customary refreshments, it was a perfect way to complete a great coastal walk.