Spring is the perfect time to come to Pembrokeshire – just as the weather begins to stabilise, the wildflowers are popping out over cliff and field. As if you needed any more reasons to pop on your walking boots to explore the wonderfully wild sole coastal national park in the UK.
To help you plan your spring escape, we’ve put together our favourite top 3 best walks in Pembrokeshire. This was a hard list to collate as there are so many amazing places to hike in our rugged county, but we think these walks are a fantastic starting point. So this spring, grab your boots, a map and some water and get out there!
St Davids to Solva
Start at the origin point of Britain’s smallest city, St Nons. This coastal point, now with a well dedicated to his mother, is where St Davids was reputedly born. Join the coast path beyond the ruined chapel of St Non and walk East towards the stunning Caerfai Beach.
After a relatively steep descent down a narrow valley, you’ll have reached Porth-y-Rhaw. Careful as you climb up the hill on the other side. It’s not just a hill, it’s one of the best-preserved hillforts in the UK, despite a large portion of it having been reclaimed by the sea! This puts it firmly at the top of our list of best walks in Pembrokeshire.
The final stretch of your walk takes in dramatic purple cliffs dotted with sea pinks, with spectacular views over the islands of Green Scar and Black scar and out across sweeping St Bride’s Bay. In just enough time to take it all in, you’ll notice that you’ve arrived in Solva, its fissure-like protected harbour and the Gribin beyond coming into view.
Difficulty: easy (but not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs)
Helpful hint: From May until October, the Strumble Shuttle coastal bus service can take you back to St Davids…or you can do this stunning walk in reverse!
St Davids’ ancient harbour, Porthclais, is the first step along the trail around Treginnis head. This is the most westerly part of Wales, home to the UK’s oldest coastal rocks, which are over 600 years old! As you climb around this fantastically wild part of the coastline, you’ll see why it’s one of the best walks in Pembrokeshire.
From Porthclais, head out on the coastal path along the volcanic cliffs to the beautiful, secluded beach of Porthlysgi. This area of the peninsula is well-known for shipwrecks due to the picrite basalt rock – keep your eyes peeled for pirate ships! Follow the headland around, taking in the beautiful island of Skomer. On a clear day, you can see the Marloes Peninsula, right at the bottom of Pembrokeshire!
A short walk away are the ruins of Penmaenmelyn copper mines. The traces of ore can still be seen on the now enclosed mineshaft of this 17th-century industry. The Pembrokeshire coastline is littered with reminders of its industrial and iron-age past. Keep an eye out for a promintory hill fort near the kissing gates as you head towards St Justinians.
You did it! If you’re still feeling energetic, then carry on around the coastline to Whitesands, or just take in the beautiful views at this ancient cove. Visit the RNLI station and learn about the long history of the lifeboat stations located here. (Read more about how St Davids Escapes supports the RNLI here)
Difficulty: moderate (but not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs)
Helpful hint: From St Justinians you can hop on a boat and take a tour of the islands of Ramsey, Skomer, Skokholm and beyond!
Whitesands to Porthgain
This coastal trail is for the more adventurous walker, but its unique views of more rugged areas of St Davids Head means it’s a must on our list of best walks in Pembrokeshire. Start in arguably the most popular beach on the peninsula, Whitesands. Leaving the car park, take the trail running up the side of Carn Llidi, the tallest of the cairns along this stretch of coastline. The views from the top are spectacular!
This is the steepest part of this walk but the views over the beach of Porthmelgan and across to the iron age fort are worth the scramble. The wild open views, covered in heather and gorse, lead you across rocky terrain towards the other cairns, the first ahead being Penberry rock.
This is the perfect spot for a water break or lunch before making your way forward past another iron age fort at Castell Coch. The coastline here is littered with promontory hill forts, so keep your eyes peeled for ramparts! After a few miles of rocky walking, offering the opportunity to view nesting coastal sea birds, you reach the beautiful harbour of Abereiddy.
This breached quarry with its deep blue waters and pebble beach is a popular spot for wild swimming and sunset spotting. You can also hire one of our beautiful cottages here! No time to stop – take the coastal path north towards a worthwhile and welcome destination, Porthgain.
Porthgain was once a prosperous industrial port, exporting local slate across the seas. Now, it’s a fantastic place to have dinner or a cheeky lunchtime drink overlooking the red-bricked ruins and gorgeous walled harbour. It may be a tough walk, but it’s worth it just for the fish and chips at the end – you won’t find better in Wales!
Difficulty: Difficult, not suitable for young children, but the dog will love it!
Helpful hint: Take water with you as there is nowhere between Whitesands and Abereiddy to buy refreshments. And stop in The Shed for a fish supper or The Sloop for a well-earned drink afterwards!
Just fancy a short stroll? Here are a few other walk ideas that were near the top of our list of best walks in Pembrokeshire…
Bosherston Lily Ponds and Freshwater beach
This mile-long walk takes in the beautiful lily ponds along an even gravel track to the stunning beach at Freshwater. May and June are the best months for viewing the waterlilies in their full glory! Find a map here.
This walk offers views towards one of the most beautiful mountains in Pembrokeshire, Carn Ingli, as well as views south towards the last invasion of the UK at Carreg Wastad. It’s a 3-mile circular walk around stunning coastal rocks which ends at the tiny fisherman’s pub at Pwllgwaelod. Find a map here.
The Preseli Hills
We love our coastal walks here at St Davids Escapes, but our list of the best walks in Pembrokeshire would not be complete without adding its famous mountain range, The Preseli Hills. These hills are dotted with magic and mystery – they’re home to stone circles, ancient burial sites, and the bluestone used to build Stonehenge. Its 13-mile gorse-laden slopes are the setting for some of Wales’ best-loved folk tales, The Mabinogion, and when you’re high up above the county, looking down at its settlements and shores, you’ll definitely see why! For walking route ideas, click here.