Stacks Image 182065
Stacks Image 182068
Stacks Image 182078

PEMBROKESHIRE COAST PATH 2015-

The Dale Peninsula the other way [7.06 miles]

The Maps

36_OL_E157_L

The Route

The Walk
We've walked the Dale peninsula several times in the past, but we've never actually completed the anti-clockwise circuit. So today we set off to do just that.
Westdale Bay
Then up the steps
We crossed from Dale to Westdale Bay and got ourselves up the steps to the cliff top. Almost immediately we came across a handful of wheatears with their distinctive white rumps, grey plumage and pale orange undersides. Shortly after that a kestrel seemed to be having a bit of a tussle with a pair of ravens - it was all going on!
Long Point
We passed Long Point and found ourselves passing through a sunken path with Pembrokeshire Banks on the left hand side, sometimes smothered with primroses and violets, other times with thrift, and the other side covered in bright yellow spicy smelling gorse.
Pembrokeshire bank on the left and gorse covering on the right
We passed a runner heading towards Westdale Bay then no one for a considerable time until we were approaching St Anne's Head, when we came across a couple who it turned out were from the USA . Curtis and Pam were both exclaiming enthusiastically about the delights of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path - a sentiment with which we thoroughly agreed. Their exploits can be viewed on their own walking blog, together with a punishing calendar of proposed walks for the next few years. Good luck Curtis and Pam!
Geri, Curtis, Pam & me
We said our farewells and continued to St Anne's Head remarking on the renovation of the former coastguard cottages which are being turned into holiday lets and which for so many years hay lain dejectedly crumbling and rotting in the punishing environment.

We now "turned the corner" and got our first views of Milford Haven, and arrived just in time to see an Irish ferry enter the waterway.
The Irish Ferry approaches Milford Haven
I've always felt that tthis sheltered side of the Dale peninsula is much more interesting, and so it proved to be so this time around. We passed Mill Bay with the remnants of HMS Barking still in evidence, and likely to remain so for many years to come.

Mill Bay
use + or - key to zoom

Now we needed to stop for a spot of lunch. A convenient stone slabbed bench just beyond West Blockhouse Point was tailor made for us and we settled down in the warm sunshine to enjoy our break. Once we got going again, the various navigation beacons came into sight. First, West Blockhouse Point Beacons - three leading light beacons which perform the same function as a lighthouse.
West Blockhouse Point Beacons
Next along the path was the beautiful, almost tropical Watwick Bay and in our view the most delightful looking bay on the peninsula
The beautiful Watwick Bay

with Watwick Beacon on the distant headland

The 159ft tall Watwick Beacon
From Watwick Beacon we dropped down through a shady Castlebeach Bay
The shady path down to Castlebeach Bay
Castlebeach Bay
We were now on the final stretch as the coast path diverted to bypass the Dale Fort Field Centre. Basking in the sun ahead of us, and right on the path was a beautiful fox and I took a quick photo just in case it vanished, but it seemed unconcerned as we approached until we were about 20 metres away. Then reluctantly it got to its feet and loped off into the undergrowth.

Circular walk from Little Haven [6½ miles]

The Maps

36_OL_E157_L

The Route

The Walk
Our first walk on the coast path this year with thanks to our next door neighbour Val who sadly died on Christmas Eve last year. One of her wishes was to give us a 2 day break in her beloved Pembrokeshire, and so, this was it.

I thought I had everything worked out as we waited by the Old Post Office in Little Haven for the Puffin Shuttle to arrive at 9:40am. At 10:00am, and with no sign of the bus we decided to cancel our walk back from St Brides and just do a walk halfway there, stop for a break, then return. In the event, this proved to be the sensible option. And the Puffin Shuttle? Well, we could have waited all day and it wouldn't have arrived as the buses were still on the winter schedule - Thursdays and Saturdays only (not Fridays)!

It was a cloudy morning as we went up onto the cliff tops with a cool onshore breeze keeping us comfortable as we walked.
The view from the cliff top across toward Broad Haven sands

The Setlands in the middle foreground with The Rain headland behind

On the clifftop we spied clumps of cowslips making a first appearance.

We negotiated a short stretch of road and then we were back on the coast path passing Musslewick Bay as we moved into the woodland part of the path which took us around Borough Head. Plenty of chiff chaffs kept us company as we walked, with the occasional sound of a stonechat in the distance.
Musslewick
A solitary tanker lying off Broad Haven
It was noticeable that the path had received considerable attention during the previous winter as long stretches of it had been widened and consolidated, making a broad swathe through the shaded woodland.
The improved coast path
Plenty of bluebells to come on Borough Head
We continued heading for St Brides until we reached the Howney Stone whenre we perched ourselved on a convenient roack outcrop and had a snack before returning to Little Haven.

St Davids to Whitesands Bay [8.2 miles]

The Maps

35_OL_E157_L

The Route

The Walk
After yesterday's rather strenuous exertions, we decide to make today a shorter than planned walk. We left our self catering flat in St Davids and walked to the city centre bright and early.
St Davids early morning
We were soon walking along the footpath to Porth Clais, sitting peacefully in the warm early morning sunshine.
Porth Clais harbour
We climbed up along the familiar path to the cliffs and headed towards Porthllisky and Porthlysgi Bay passing the islands of Carreg Frân an Carred yr Esgob.
The dramatic cliffs on the approach to Porth Clais
On the way we came across a yellow flower which looked really attractive and at the back of our minds we were sure we'd seen it before. It was only when we got home that research proved it to be the common toadflax - an old friend.
Porthlysgi Bay
We left Porthlysgi Bay and headed towards Ramsay Sound, stopping quite soon for a coffee. Soon after restarting we came across the first choughs of this visit, one of which posed obligingly on a fence post as we approached.
An obliging chough perching on a fence
As we rounded Pen Dal-aderyn the colour and scent of the heather covered clifftop was quite special.

The Bitches
In the distance our first view of ... new lifeboat station
In the distance our first view of the now almost completed new lifeboat station. As we got closer it was obvious that a lot of work was going on restoring the cliff top to its former condition, with diggers and dump trucks moving earth around. We passed behind the two lifeboat stations and found ourselves a good spot for out lunch break.
It was time to move on to Whitesands Bay and the promise of an ice cream (again). As we moved away from Ramsay Sound I tried out a new facility on my map application, and discovered that it was a really interesting feature enabling me to identify mysterious islands offshore.
This I shall have to play with a bit more!
Whitesands Bay came into view and the sun, which had taken a short break came out again.
Whitesands Bay
A great walk and just enough time to have an ice cream before the Celtic Coaster bus arrived to take us back to St Davids.

Nolton Haven to Solva [7.4 miles]

The Maps

36_OL_E158_L

The Route

The Walk
I was quite surprised when Geri asked to do this walk again. My recollection was that it was quite a strenuous 7+ miles. But, you know what they say "The customer is always right".
Solva harbour
We parked the car at Solva and caught the Puffin Shuttle to Nolton Haven in bright sunshine. After a quick spray with the factor 50 and a comfort break we headed off up the hill to the cliffs.
3 miles to Newgale
Nolton Haven
What then followed was a series of steep ups (and downs of course) which took our breath away and stalled any chance of conversation. It was hot and the sea a deep blue as we rounded Rickets Head and made our way to Black Cliff - which to be honest didn't look at all black but its name no doubt derived from the coal that was mined during the nineteenth and early twentieth century at two sites - Nolton Colliery and at the Black Cliff.
Rickets Head
Black Cliff
Further on is the site of Trefrane Cliff colliery - the biggest pit in the vicinity, and its ruined buildings and tall brick stack make prominent features beside the footpath to this day. This mine was worked from 1850 to 1905 with a 300-foot deep shaft slanting under the sea, and a steep tramway up which the coal was winched to the top of the cliff near the coast road.
The old Trefrane Ciff colliery chimney
Looking back to Rickets Head
Newgale Sands ahead
As we approached Newgale Sands we began to think kindly of our coffee breaks and we paused to sit on a grassy bank near to the car parks and toilets. Once we got going again we walked along the pavement to the end of the sands where we again made our way up. The sign here misleadingly informs us that it was 5½ miles to Solva, but according to my previous track it is only 4.3 miles.
Misleading distance
The tide is in - leaving circular patterns at the high water mark
The tide is in - leaving circular patterns at the high water mark

Back up on the cliffs again we headed towards Dinas Fawr via more ups and downs to spend some time contemplating the scenery and peace and quiet whilst we had our lunch.

Looking back towards Newgale
use + or - key to zoom

Dinas Fach
Dinas Fawr
Gwadn cove
Soon we were descending to the small beach at Gwadn then crossed over the wooden footbridge and up one final time before the long shady descent to Solva and a well deserved ice cream.
The ups & downs of our day

Little Haven to Nolton Haven [4⅓ miles]

The Maps

36_OL_E158_L

The Route

The Walk
A change of plan today brought about by the Endurancelife competition. We parked one car at Nolton Haven and returned to park the other in amongst the chaos of the arrivals for the event.
The runners gather at Little Haven
We headed up the hill and then down into Broad Haven with lots of folks about enjoying the sun. We headed along the footpath beside the bay before climbing up onto the cliffs once again.
Broad Haven sands
The (now) sandy cliffs were showing much evidence of landslips causing one two diversions onto newly created stretches of coast path.
Sandy cliffs en route to Nolton Haven
As we approached Druidston Haven, a secluded long, sandy beach enclosed on three sides by steep cliffs, our attention was taken by the unique eco house overlooking the bay.
On arrival at the beach we discovered a red navigation buoy that had been washed up on the beach during Storm Imogen in February this year. It looks like it might now become a permanent feature.
Back up onto the cliffs again via a long set of giant steps before the final stretch into Nolton Haven.
Looking back to Druidstone Haven
We now had to decide on somewhere to have our lunch. I suggested that Stack Rocks might be just the place as we were staying at East Trewent tonight. Upon our arrival we were just stunned to see so many guillemots on the stacks with fulmars and kittiwakes also in evidence - but the huge number of guillemots was just amazing.
Stack Rocks as we'd not seen before
Finally, the Green Bridge of Wales