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Cycle Pembrokeshire

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Heritage Coast Trail

Overview
Information

    The South Pembrokeshire Heritage Coast extends from Caldey Island west to Angle Bay. Whilst some of this coastline is inaccessible by bicycle because of steep gradients, precipitous cliffs and a large military range, as much of it as possible is visited on the trail. A number of spur links are included to provide direct access to the coast or to locations with expansive views of the coastline. The landscape is spectacular with rugged cliffs, headlands, golden sandy bays, dunes and wind-sculptured heath land. The trail begins and finishes at Pembroke, close to the Norman fortress that’s the only castle in Wales never to have succumbed to an attack and the birthplace of Henry Tudor

    Fact File
    Highlights

    A scenic longer distance trail through the wild, rugged and windswept south-west corner of Pembrokeshire. Visit beaches, coves, villages, historical sites and numerous viewpoints where you can stop and admire sections of the varied and spectacular coastline within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

    Grade: Active Trail Grading Statement

    Distance

    51 miles (81 km)

    Time All day - including time for brief stops
    Start/Finish West Street (free) Car Park, Pembroke (Grid Ref SM982013, Sat Nav SA71 4ET). Turn into West Street from Common Road, Pembroke (junction near Pelican Crossing). After 100 yards, turn right under a 6’6” height barrier into the car park. Remove roof mounted bikes before entering or use the adjacent car park (fee applies)
    Nearest Rail Station

    Pembroke 0.6 mile (Turn left out of station on narrow path under bridge then left along path for 50 yards to ‘T’ junction. Turn right and join a path on the right just before ‘T’ junction. Cross road before roundabout and turn left after 30 yards down Goose’s Lane (cycling contraflow system). Carry on alongside the old town walls, cross on the lights and carry straight on to West Street car park

    Terrain Mostly on quiet country roads but with short sections along Class ll roads and a very short section along the busier A4139 road. Gradients are reasonably shallow for the most part but are steeper just after leaving Pembroke and at locations where the trail climbs out of some of the valleys and coastal areas. None of these hills should provide a problem for anyone used to cycling but you may wish to dismount and push your bike up some of the steepest sections if you find them difficult. In reality this will not add considerably to the duration of the ride. It provides a short break from cycling and an opportunity to take in the views and admire the attractive hedgerows
    Elevation

    Total climb (sum of all uphill sections) - 795 metres

    Refreshments

    Pembroke, Manorbier, Freshwater East, Stackpole Quay, Bosherston, Broadhaven South (kiosk), Freshwater West (Kiosk) and West Angle Bay (some only open seasonally)

    Toilets

    Pembroke, Manorbier Beach, Freshwater East, Stackpole Quay, Bosherston, Broadhaven South, Freshwater West and West Angle Bay

     

    Trail Directions(distances in miles)

    0.0       Start. At the vehicular entrance into the car park follow the cycle path to the left of the height barrier, cross the road and continue onto the lane adjacent to the park. 100 yards after the Thomas Street junction follow the path to the left (signed NCN4) before the lane joins the main road. Use the crossing over the main road and follow the red surfaced path between the adjacent minor road and the park for approximately 350 yards. You will pass a section of the old town wall on your left. Turn left where the path splits, go through the barriers and then turn right into the minor road up the hill. Just prior to the main road junction at the top of the short (but quite steep) hill join the narrow path on the left and use the crossing over the main road just around the corner. Once across, follow the path adjacent to the road for a further 75 yards and turn right into the lane signed Mill Pond Walk beside the public toilets and cycle stand. Continue down the path to the edge of the mill pond itself. Turn right and follow this path around part of the pond, over a narrow bridge and then around to the left alongside Golden Manor Nursery until you join a minor road. The very short section of path leading up to the minor road is narrow and you may need to dismount to pass another user

    0.9       At the junction with the minor road (alongside the entrance to Golden Manor Nursery) turn right and continue under the bridge and down the hill to the right. Be careful near the bottom of the hill as the road is narrow with limited forward visibility around a bend. The steep uphill gradient just beyond this point soon eases as you progress along the route

    1.7       Cross over the main A4075 road with great care, and continue on for nearly 21/2 miles ignoring any side road turns. Turn right at the ‘T’ junction and left at the next ‘T’ junction following the sign for Manorbier. After a further 21/2 miles turn right at the crossroads just beyond the junction that is signed for Manorbier railway station. Follow this road downhill and on under a railway bridge

    8.3       Go straight ahead at the crossroads (cross main road with care) following the sign for Manorbier.

    8.8       Turn left following a sign for the Youth Hostel, and left again at the Military Range gates. Cycle past the Youth Hostel and on to the Skrinkle Haven Viewpoints (with cycle stands). From the first viewpoint you will have a clear view over to Caldey Island and the eastern end of the South Pembrokeshire Heritage Coast. When ready, return to the main road ‘T’ junction and turn left into Manorbier

    11.4     Towards the end of the village follow the road down the hill bearing left and then right past the junction leading down to the beach and toilets. The Manorbier Castle entrance is on your left just after the beach junction. Stay left and continue on this main road out of the village for 1/2 mile then turn left opposite Rose Cottage. Turn left again at the first crossroads and carry on to the pull-in on the right just beyond a bungalow. From this point you have a magnificent view of Manorbier Beach and the coastline ahead all the way along to St Govan’s Head. Proceed back to the crossroads and turn left. (Note – the above viewpoint can also be accessed directly via the Manorbier Beach road from the village. This reduces the length of the trail by one mile but the narrow climb up from the beach is quite steep)

    14.4     Bear left at the ‘T’ junction onto the main road and after a further 150 yards turn left into a side road signed ‘Unsuitable for Motor Vehicles’. The short section of main road is quite narrow and can   be busy in season so take great care

    15.5     Ignore the right turn signed ‘No Motor Vehicles’ and carry straight on

    15.6     Optional stop just beyond 30 mph signs for 2 min walk to Freshwater East viewpoint

    15.9     Turn left between the bollards into the side road by the village notice board and left again at the next ‘T’ junction. Carry on down the hill and the beach can be accessed on the left just before the narrow bridge (cycle stands nearby). Then continue up the steep hill out of Freshwater East, passing through the small hamlet of East Trewent (ignoring the two right turn junctions). At the top of the hill enjoy the magnificent views back to Manorbier and the Gower coast in the distance. A mile beyond East Trewent turn left at the junction following the sign for Stackpole Quay. After an optional stop at the quay, return back up to the junction and turn left. Then continue down the road into and through the village of Stackpole

    21.4     Turn left at the ‘T’ junction following a sign for Bosherston. After just over 1/4 mile turn left again following another sign for Bosherston. Once you enter the village, a side road to the left just after the church leads you down to the car par (and cycle stands) from where you can take an optional short walk down to the Lily Ponds. Then continue through the village past the café and pub and turn left following a sign for Broad Haven. Follow this road for a mile until you arrive at the car park overlooking Broad Haven South beach. After another optional break turn around and head back to Bosherston then turn left at the ‘T’ junction following the St Govan’s sign (note that the road access to St Govan’s is sometimes closed during live firing exercises on the adjacent Castlemartin Range. If closed, continue back through Bosherston as below)

    26.3     Arrive at St Govan’s (cycle stands in car park). From here you can access the cliff side walk and the tiny St Govan’s Chapel built into the cliff. After a brief but very worthwhile visit, turn around and follow the road back through Bosherston. Once out of the 30 mph speed limit continue for nearly 3/4 mile and turn left into a side road on a right hand bend in the road. After another 1/2 mile turn right (avoid the straight on road signed ‘Unsuitable for Motors’)

    29.7     Just after the Lyserry Barns complex go straight ahead at the crossroads. At the next ‘T’ junction turn left. After nearly 1/2 mile turn right at the ‘T’ junction alongside St Twynnells Church. Turn left at the next ‘T’ junction following the sign for Castlemartin. As you leave St Twynnells village bear right onto a side road again signed for Castlemartin

    31.7     Go straight ahead at the crossroads. After just over 1/4 mile you will pass the Castlemartin Range Spectator Area on the left. After 3/4 mile you will arrive at the old Castlemartin Pound in the middle of the road. Go straight ahead following the sign for Freshwater West. After 11/2 miles you will have your first view of Freshwater West and the extensive dunes or burrows stretching inland from the beach. Continue on along the road through the dunes and beyond

    36.0     Turn left at the ‘T’ junction following the sign for Angle. Carry on for over 2 miles ignoring the two junctions on the right (including the one signed for Angle). Follow the hairpin turn in the road to the right and continue on to the ‘T’ junction. Turn left

    39.0     After an optional brief stop at West Angle Bay (cycle stands in the car park at the café entrance) turn around and follow the road back through Angle. Continue all the way through the village passing the church on your left. Turn left just after the church and once over the small bridge bear right and follow the un-surfaced and slightly bumpy track along the foreshore for nearly 1/2 mile to the Old Point House Inn overlooking Angle Bay (be aware that the track leading to/from the Point House can be submerged at times of very high tide). Then turn around and head back to the village turning left at the ‘T’ junction

    40.9     Turn right at the junction signed for Pembroke and after just over 1/2 mile turn left at the ‘T’ junction. Carry on for nearly 3 miles (ignoring the right turn signed Freshwater West). Turn left just after Newton Farm at the junction signed for Rhoscrowther. Nearly a mile down this road turn right at the crossroads. Over the last couple of miles you will have had a clear view of the nearby Valero Oil Refinery, a sharp contrast to the previous coastal scenery

    46.6     At the Give Way junction turn right and almost immediately turn left onto a narrow minor road. After 200 yards the road passes through some unfenced land. Bear right where the road splits on this section. Continue to the village of Hundleton. At the ‘T’ junction in the village turn left (with care) and almost immediately turn left near the bus shelter. Follow this side road for a short distance until you leave the village and turn right at the first junction. This will bring you alongside the picturesque Quoits Mill tidal inlet (take care on the steep hill down to the inlet and be aware that on very high tides the road here does flood for a short period of time). Continue up the hill to the ‘T’ junction, bear left and join the narrow shared-use path on the left. You may feel more comfortable dismounting for a very short distance until this shared-use path widens. Continue on the path at the side of the road for over 1/2 mile

    50.4     Just after crossing the wide side road junction adjacent to Monkton Priory Church (on the left), cross the main road with care and continue on the shared-use path down the hill and around the bend to the left. A short distance after the bend, the path turns right away from the road and meanders down to the car park on the right

    50.6     Finish at West Street Car Park

     

    Points of Interest along the Way
    1. Pembroke. A charming walled town dating back over 900 years. Famous for its Norman Castle, birthplace of Henry Vll and founder of the Tudor dynasty. The town also has a museum, lovely walks around the castle pond and town walls and a wide variety of places to eat and drink

    2. Skrinkle Haven Viewpoints. The first viewpoint looks out over Caldey Island (the eastern extremity of the Heritage Coast) and the second viewpoint overlooks Skrinkle Haven and Church Doors Cove (the latter accessible via a 140 step staircase just along the coast path). The cliff shapes carved by the sea in this area are quite spectacular

    3. Manorbier. A lovely seaside village with a fine medieval castle overlooking the bay. The village also has an interesting Norman Church, a restored Bier House and a dovecote below the castle walls

    4. Freshwater East. A popular resort with a wide sandy beach, once a favourite haunt for smugglers. Most of the village is located on the cliff overlooking the bay

    5. Stackpole Quay. A small but picturesque harbour nestled in amongst the cliffs on the National Trust’s Stackpole Estate. If time is on your side, take a 10 minute walk along the coast path to Barafundle Bay. Backed by dunes and pine trees this secluded beach has the air of an undiscovered gem. It has been voted many times as one of the best beaches in Britain and the World

    6. Bosherston. A tiny village clustered around a church. The village provides an access point to the Bosherston Lilly Ponds – a stunning collection of lakes created in the 18th century and now a nature reserve

    7. Broad Haven South. A wide sandy south facing bay with dramatic cliff views and a iconic limestone stack known as Church Rock just out to sea. The beach itself is backed by sand dunes and extensive National Trust woodland. An attractive feature is the stream of clean water that flows out through a sandy valley to the back of the beach from the nearby lily ponds

    8. St Govan’s Chapel. A tiny hermit’s cell wedged in a cleft between cliffs. It is one of Wales’ most magical buildings, built in the 13th century and marking the site where St Govan, a 6th century hermit, chose to live a religious life with only the sea birds for company

    9. Castlemartin. A sleepy little village with the remnants of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle, and a church dedicated to St Martin which houses an organ once owned by Mendelssohn. The village lies immediately north of a very large military training range owned by the Ministry of Defence

    10. Freshwater West. This wide, sandy beach, backed by an extensive system of dunes has become synonymous with a surfers paradise. Its dramatic and rugged landscape makes it one of the best beaches to visit all year round. Several movies have been shot here including Robin Hood, Their Finest and Harry Potter

    11. West Angle Bay. A small but pleasant beach with golden sands protected by rocky outcrops on each side. A perfect viewing point to observe ships entering and leaving the Haven. Just beyond the headland of the beach on the right is Thorn Island with its historical Napoleonic fort

    12. Angle. A charming little village lying in a sheltered valley with a long and proud seafaring tradition. The 13th Century church stands in the centre of the village and its grounds include the graves of British and foreign victims of the World Wars. The interesting little Sailors’ Chapel behind the church contains a crypt. It was originally a receiving place, or Charnel House, for the corpses of drowned sailors. The Point House Inn dates from the 16th Century and legends tell of a fire which burned continuously in its fireplace for over 200 years. It was renowned as a haunt of pirates and smugglers

    ID: 5896, revised 03/02/2020