Walk: St Davids Peninsula, Pembrokeshire

Follow in the footsteps of the saints along the most south-westerly tip of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales

20th November 2017
Difficulty
Moderate
Distance
9.5 miles
Duration
5 hours

This superb coastal walk follows the trails of some of the Dark Age saints, for whom the St Davids Peninsula was a place of pilgrimage, and passes beside the wild waters of Ramsey Sound.

The area is home to a wealth of wildlife, from dolphins and porpoise to peregrines and chough.

Pembrokeshire Whitesands Bay
Stroll along the blissful shores of Whitesands Bay ©Getty
1. Passing history

From Cross Square in St Davids and its medieval Celtic cross, go west down Goat Street and turn left just before St Non’s Apartments to follow the minor road to St Non’s Bay.

Take the obvious footpath right and down past the holy well, which marks the site where St Non is said to have given birth to St David during a mighty thunderstorm around 500 AD. Cross the field past the remains of St Non’s Chapel and on to the coast path. At the path turn right, and as long as you keep the sea on your left between here and Whitesands you can’t get lost! 

Chough
Choughs, with their red beaks and feet, are an easy spot on the Pembrokeshire coast ©Getty
2. The Sound of Pembrokeshire

Pass the picturesque harbour of Porth Clais, then twist and turn your way towards Ramsey Sound, passing the sheltered Porthlysgi Bay before continuing west.

3. To the water

At Pen Dal-aderyn you drop down almost to sea level, where you can get a real feel for the power at which the tide ebbs and flows through Ramsey Sound at speeds of up to seven knots. Look out for porpoises, seals and bottlenose dolphins in the turbulent tidal streams.

Bottlenose dolphin
The Pembrokeshire coast is a great place to see marine life, such as bottlenose dolphins ©Getty

Pass the ruins of 19th century Treginnis copper mine before continuing on to Porthstinian, where St Justinian is said to have walked ashore after crossing from Ramsey Island with his head under his arm – disenchanted disciples apparently rebelled against the disciplinarian saint and hacked it off!

Undeterred, the saint picked it up, walked across the turbulent waters and buried himself on the mainland. Note the Victorian lifeboat station – one of the busiest in Wales on account of the frequently savage seas along this stretch of coast.

4. Bays and chapels

From here, it’s an invigorating hike past Point St John and on to Whitesands Bay, from where St Patrick is said to have sailed to Ireland – the remains of a 6th-century chapel dedicated to him were excavated here in 1921.

At Whitesands take the summer shuttle bus back to St Davids or walk back on the B4583 – if you take one of two obvious right-hand turns off the B-road you can return via St Davids Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace.

St Davids Cathedral
Spend sometime exploring the majesty of St Davids Cathedral ©Getty
More information 

TERRAIN

Quiet minor roads and coastal footpaths.

HOW TO GET THERE

By car: St Davids is 72 miles west of Swansea on the A40 and the A487.

By public transport: Bus 411 runs hourly from Haverfordwest to St Davids and from Fishguard every two hours.
01239 613756

The Celtic Coaster runs from St Davids to Porthclais, St Justinian and Whitesands every 30 minutes, but only operates from May-Sept.
0800 7831584

REFRESHMENTS

Pebbles Gallery and Café
Cross Square, St Davids, SA62 6RD
01437 720122

MAP

Ordnance Survey Landranger Map 157.
Grid ref: SM 753 253

Discover more great walks in the British countryside here.

Main image ©Getty

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