An intro to... The Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Have you ever wanted to walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path? Here is a very quick introduction to this wild and beautiful national trail.
Where is it and how far is it?
This spectacular trail runs for 180 miles (290km) between Amroth near Tenby and St Dogmaels and can be walked in around two weeks by a reasonably fit walker - the SAS claim to have done it in 60 hours but that doesn't give a great deal of time for photos. Although this trek is not technically challenging, walkers will have climbed a total ascent of about 33,000ft (10,000m) by the end so it is not a modest undertaking. However, this trail is just a short stretch of the 870 mile (1400km) Wales Coast Path.
Why should you walk it?
Pembrokeshire is truly beautiful and although it is one of the smallest national parks it arguably has the greatest natural diversity of them all. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path enjoys unspoilt beauty where nature has been allowed to evolve with little interference from mankind. These areas, fed by the warm Gulf Stream waters, have become havens for plants, birds and animals and the diversity of life here was partly the reason for approval as a national park.
When should you go?
Pembrokeshire lays claim to the sunniest spot in Wales and is protected from the extremes of weather by its location so the Coast Path can be walked in any season. However, it is as susceptible to rain as the rest of the UK and the exposed cliff walking can become hazardous in high winds so the usual care and planning is required.
The migrating birds and breeding seals of Autumn are a highlight for nature enthusiasts, as are the flowers in Springtime.
Where should you stay?
Walkers can choose from campsites and hostels up to boutique B&Bs. Bear in mind that accommodation can be very busy in peak seasons; booking in advance is sensible and some providers operate a two night minimum policy. This can work with walkers' plans, if the accommodation is in a good spot.
Please remember, too, that there is no right to wild camp in Wales as all land is privately owned. Many farmers may not object to a discreet tent being pitched for a night but it is certainly advisable to seek their permission. If you do choose to wild camp, make sure that you are unobtrusive and leave no trace of your stay.
Did you know?
The Welsh language is older than English but has only been enshrined in law since 2011, despite 20% of the population of Wales speaking it fluently or as a first language. So why not try to pick up a few Welsh phrases whilst enjoying the Llwybr Arfordir Penfro. Mwynhewch eich taith!
The views. Endless rugged cliffs with the wild sea crashing against the shore. Geological history demonstrated in the undulating, twisting and eroding rocks. The clumps of wildflowers and piles of basking seals underneath a sky full of squawking birds. It's not necessarily always peaceful but it is always incredible.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Park Authority contains detailed information about the trail.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path guidebook by Dennis and Jan Kelsall describes the route fully in both directions and includes a free mapping booklet for the whole trail. The mapping booklet is also available to purchase separately.
The National Trails guidebook by Paddy Dillon
How to pack for a long distance trek - Cicerone Extra article
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