Pembrokeshire North Coast: St David's to St Dogmaels
St David’s to St Dogmaels in 5 days walking Code: PCN6
This is a great route in its own right from a wild, rugged coastline with old quarrymen’s houses, along beautiful snaking cliffs with coves, bays and beaches to the most strenuous section of the entire path taking in steep, overhanging cliffs and spectacular rock formations with the highest point of the coast path at 175 metres.
This is the section of the Pembrokeshire Coast path where the trail becomes more rugged and remote. Completing the 66 miles / 106 km in 5 days will be exhilarating and challenging walking across the most beautiful and dramatic cliff top paths of this coastal path.
|Day 1||Travel to St David's for your first nights accommodation|
|Day 2||St David's to Whitesands Bay then bus transfer St David's||8||13|
|Day 3||Bus transfer back to Whitesands Bay then walk to Abercastle||13||21|
|Day 4||Abercastle to Goodwick||15||24|
|Day 5||Goodwick to Newport||12||19|
|Day 6||Newport to St Dogmaels||14||23|
|Day 7||Depart from St Dogmaels after breakfast|
The Cathedral, Snaking Cliffs and a Big Finish!
This section begins in Britain’s smallest city of St David’s with it’s beautiful cathedral. Make time to linger on the wild and rocky peninsular of St David’s Head which abounds with archaeology and has views across to Ramsey Island. Keep an eye out too for seals in the rocky coves below the path and gannets diving for fish out to sea; you may be lucky enough to see the grey dorsal fins of porpoises hunting for fish beneath the gannets.
The section between Whitesands and Abereiddi feels wild and remote with hardly a building to be seen making the cafe at Whitesands or the refreshment van at Abereiddi a welcome sight for the weary walker! This is an exhilarating and in places rugged section of path above high cliffs and beneath the dramatic craggy volcanic outcrops of Pen Beri, Carn Lleithyr and Carn Llidi.
There are plenty of dramatic sheer cliffs on this section where coastal erosion is an obvious process. Every year Pembrokeshire is a little smaller than the year before and the route of the Coast Path has to be continually reviewed to ensure safety. Mostly 30 to 70m high, the cliffs are of volcanic origin – gently rounded cliffs where the rock is strong and hard, sheer where there are weak strata. There are infrequent steep hills with rocky outcrops and loose volcanic stone where heather and gorse abound in a dramatic blaze of colour in August.
The cliffs on the section from Fishguard to Newport are lower, mostly at around 40m. Although Pen Dinas rises to 142m, the level valley path (also National Trail) avoids this. Hills up from and down to the little beaches are steep but well spread out. Newport Town to St Dogmaels is the most challenging section of the Coast Path, 15.5 miles long with frequent very steep hills. There are no services between Newport Sands and Poppit. Walkers should ensure that they are properly prepared with adequate food, drink and clothing along this remote section.
This is not a technically difficult walk and should be easy to tackle for most reasonably fit people. The paths are good, and there are no major route finding challenges. This northern section contains the hilliest parts on the entire route.
Terrain: A coastal path mainly through farmland and moorland on the cliff tops, with stretches along sandy beaches.
What’s it like underfoot? Generally good paths and tracks, although a few sections can get muddy after heavy rain.
How Much Up & Down? More than you'd think! Although you never reach more than 200m above sea level there are many short steep sections. Most days involve ascents of 200-500m metres, although no section is very steep for very long.
Signposting: Good - the path is well waymarked.
Navigation: Pretty straightforward – good signposting, and generally well defined tracks.
Weather: You may be lucky enough to encounter warm, dry weather over the whole route and enjoy dry paths and tremendous views, but you must be prepared because the weather can change quickly. Good clothing and waterproofs are essential, but don't forget you sunhat, sunblock and shorts!
|Accommodation||Overnight Bed and Breakfast accommodation in selected hotels, farmhouses, village inns, guest houses and family B&Bs.Full English or Continental breakfast.|
|Guidebook||A detailed guidebook with route information, maps, photos and background information.|
|Information of Services Along the Route||A comprehensive Service Info sheet, including services such as cash points, banks, post offices, village shops, inns, cafes and taxis.|
|Maps||A waterproof map from Harvey Maps covering the whole route.|
|Personal Itinerary||A personal itinerary setting out each overnight stop, including large scale maps of each accommodation, to ensure you find it easily.|
|Emergency Telephone Support||If you get in to difficulties during your holiday, we are always available to help, even out of office hours.|
|15% discount at Cotswold Outdoors||We will issue you with a 15% Discount Card valid at all Cotswold Outdoor stores, and online, for the whole year on confirmation of your booking.|
|Luggage Transport||We will transfer your luggage between each overnight stop, if you leave your luggage at the accommodation when you set off in the morning, it will be moved on to your next B&B. You only need to carry a small day sack with the clothes and provisions you require during the day’s walk.|
| Packed Lunches
||Provided for each day’s walking and recommended on this holiday as there will not always be a handy shop or cafe on the route.|
|Off Road Parking||If you are travelling by car we can usually arrange off road parking for the duration of your trip. (There may be a small charge for this).|
|Arrangement of return transport||We can also arrange your transfer back to your car, (or advise you when public transport is a better option)!|
What’s not Included
|Evening Meals||Your evening meal isn’t included in the package, but we include full details and recommendations for each evening meal in your itinerary. You will normally be within walking distance of a pub and/or restaurant, or where there is good food available at the accommodation, we’ll book that for you. Allow about £20.00 per night.|
|Transport to the Start & Away from the Finish||Have a look at the “Travel Info” tab above for suggestions. If you’re still struggling, get in touch and we’ll help you sort it out.|
|Travel Insurance||Even if you are based in the UK travel insurance is worth having.|
Good accommodation and friendly hosts are an essential part of any holiday. We understand this and go out of our way to find the best. We put a great deal of effort into hand picking our accommodation and matching it to individual customer requirements. As well as visiting the accommodation ourselves, we ask all our customers to complete a short evaluation on each night’s accommodation, which then gives us an insight in to the day-to-day operation, and lets us spot any potential issues before they become a problem.
We use a variety of accommodation, including small country house hotels, guest houses in market towns, bed and breakfasts in farm houses, country cottages and Victorian town houses. In selecting the accommodation we look for helpful, friendly hosts with good quality, characterful accommodation close to the trail. For example, over the course of your trip you might stay in a village inn, a bed and breakfast in a converted barn, a Victorian guest house, on a working farm, and in a Georgian hotel.
We always try to arrange en suite accommodation, i.e. rooms with their own bathrooms for each night of your stay. However, in some of the more remote locations accommodation is limited and occasionally we may have to book rooms with shared bathrooms for one or two nights of your holiday, (especially if the booking is made at short notice), but we will always let you know if this is likely to be the case.
General travel information for the Pembrokeshire Coast route will be in your holiday pack including train and bus timetables where available.
Detailed instructions on getting to your first night’s accommodation by car, or on foot from the nearest train or bus station, will also be included in the holiday pack on individual accommodation maps.
If you require secure car parking whilst walking this route, please contact us for information.
By Air: The nearest airports are Cardiff and Bristol – International airports are London, Birmingham and Manchester. You can then travel by public transport to St David’s.
By Public Transport:
By train from London (6-7 hours) via Newport and Haverfordwest then bus to St David’s.
By coach National Express from London to Haverfordwest then bus (Provider:Richards Bros 342) to St David’s (16 miles).
By Road: M4 to Swansea, A48 to Carmarthen, A40 to Milford Haven.
Leaving from St Dogmaels:
By Public Transport: Bus (Provider: Richards Bros 407) to Cardigan then bus (Provider: Morris Travel 460) to Carmarthen for main rail links.
By Road: B4546 to Cardigan, A48 Swansea, M4 for all directions southeast.
St David's is the smallest city in Britain - granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II because of the presence of the cathedral, St David’s is in reality a small attractive village. The Cathedral has been a dominant presence since the 12th century and was a popular pilgrimage destination throughout the middle-ages and indeed remains so to this day attracting thousands of visitors every year. Adjacent to the cathedral stand the magnificent ruins of the medieval Bishops Palace. Boat trips can also be taken to Ramsey Island which is the most northerly of the Pembrokeshire islands and is a wildlife reserve managed by the RSPB.
Standing on an imposing headland commanding superb views of the bay, Fishguard is the main shopping centre of north Pembrokeshire with two small supermarkets and family-run shops and businesses. The area is famous as the location of 'The Last Invasion of Britain' when in 1797 French troops landed nearby. Local heroine Jemima Nicholas captured many of the invaders single handed and the Frenchmen later negotiated their surrender at the Royal Oak inn and laid down their arms on Goodwick Sands.