Manorbier is among the finest of south Pembrokeshire’s many lovely beaches, and popular with everyone from rockpooling children to surfers and sunbathers. But you can escape the busy beach easily enough on this walk, which takes in everything from superb coastal views to a marvellously preserved Norman castle.
From the car park take the footpath towards the beach then turn right, cross the small stream and climb up on to the section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail.
Head west along the coast path until you come to East Moor Cliff, where there are some superb views. On a clear day you may even see right across the Bristol Channel to the north Devon coast. From East Moor Cliff follow the path as it descends to Swanlake Bay, a popular nudist beach.
At the access point to Swanlake Bay turn inland and climb upwards until you come to a stone stile – turn right over this and continue towards East Moor Farm. Follow the footpath signs past the farm then follow the path alongside a hedge and across fields until it eventually comes to a minor road. Turn right here and descend back down to Manorbier. This is technically the end of the walk, but if you can manage another ½ mile of walking there are two great sites to visit.
First, just up the hill from the beach, you’ll find the 11th-century Manorbier Castle and church. Both are well worth a visit, especially the castle, which is a classic of Norman design and is in such good condition that it is still inhabited. The castle was the birthplace (in 1146) and home of Gerald of Wales, a cleric and diplomat who wrote in detail about his travels around Wales and is responsible for much of what we know about that period in Welsh history.
After visiting the castle, head back down to the coast and take the walk out to the Priest’s Nose at the southern end of Manorbier Bay. Near the headland you’ll pass the King’s Quoit, a 5,000-year-old Neolithic burial chamber. At the headland itself you’ll encounter a series of deep gashes in the cliff face where erosion has chiselled away the weaker rock to create zawns, narrow chasms that run from a series of caves. The Fisherman’s Cave here is an occasional blowhole.
Coastal path, an inland path and a minor country road
HOW TO GET THERE
By car: Drive to Manorbier on the B4584 off the A4139 Pembroke-Tenby road. There is a national park pay and display car park above the beach.
By public transport: First South Wales has regular bus services from all the major towns in Pembrokeshire to and from Manorbier Castle.
The Castle Inn
Manorbier, Tenby SA70 7TE
Tel. 01834 871268
Tel. 01834 871394
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Information Centre
South Parade, Tenby SA70 7DL
Tel. 01834 845040