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For a bit of Pembrokeshire history, and brilliant sea landscapes, discover this route's many sights and enjoy every viewpoint you can.

Photo: iStock_Emanuele Leoni

Difficulty: Hard

Length: 17.9km / 11.1 miles

Duration: 4-5 hours

This circular route Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is an absolute treat thanks to its hattrick of sights to see along the way. Beginning with the Bosherston Lily Ponds that were created between 1780 and 1860 as a part of the Stackpole Court estate. Nowadays they are recognised as a National Nature Reserve known for their treasure trove of wildlife including their famous lilies. The designed landscape here is now managed by the National Trust so parking is easy and visiting the ponds is accessible to most.

If you don't fancy following our somewhat challenging route around the coast path, you might like to walk around the lily ponds and visit Mere Pool Valley, or the sand dunes at Broad Haven South Beach. This shorter circular trail should only take half an hour and it is maintained by the National Trust so the paths are family friendly.

Just north of the Bosherston Lily Ponds is Stackpole. Here you can visit the Stackpole Walled Gardens, or for the beach lovers there is Stackpole Quay and Barafundle Bay Beach to explore.

On our route, after the Bosherston Lily Ponds, you will then join the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and head towards Saint Govan's Chapel. When you arrive at St Govan's Head make your way down the steps to the tiny 800 year old chapel that used to be home to St Govan.

Further along the Pembrokshire Coast Path, you can visit the spectacular Elegug Stacks, The Cauldron, and Green Bridge. This group of rock formations on the south Pembrokeshire coastline will surely be a highlight of your trip, and don't worry if you're visiting on a day with low visibility, the nearby car park means that you can return when the sun is shining.

Preparing to walk this trail along Pembrokeshire's coast

If the sun is shining when you try this route, make sure to remember your sun-cream and water as there is no shade along most of this walk. Other than the tree cover near the Bosherston Lily Ponds, you will spend the entire walk exposed to the elements. Be aware of the changing rain and winds during the colder months, and take comfortable, quick drying clothing.

The terrain on this route is mostly flat, but as you will be walking on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path the ground underfoot tends to be loose dirt or gravel. When you head back in land you will be walking on a mixture of tarmac roads and dirt tracks. This route is just over eleven miles so make sure that you wear appropriate footwear.

Before setting off on this route, make sure that you check the Castlemartin Firing Range closures that often mean this extraordinary part of Wales is closed to visitors. While it is less likely to be closed in peak holiday season, double check the times you can visit so that you don't ruin your day.

Part 1 - Bosherston Lily Ponds to St Govan's Chapel

4km / 2.5 miles

0.5-1 hours

Starting at the car park at the Bosherston Lily Ponds, head towards the pond and turn left to cross the Bosherston Causeway over the Western Arm and continue to follow the path around the pond, keeping it on your right hand side. You will need to cross two more bridges over the Central and Eastern Arms of the pond, walking towards Mere Pool and Broad Haven South Beach.

Once you reach the end of the pond, you might like to visit Mere Pool Valley before making your way to Broad Haven South Beach and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path that you will need to follow for this route.

When you arrive at Broad Haven South Beach, take your time to admire the view across the beach and the roughly 200 metres of sea to Church Rock.

Then, walk up towards the car park that overlooks the beach where you will find the coast path. Now, keeping the cliffs and sea to your left, follow the signposts along the footpath for a mile towards St Govan's Head. At St Govan's head enjoy the views across the flat clifftops back towards where you were only a few minutes ago, and then look ahead to where you will be trekking.

Continue on the coast path to St Govan's Chapel. You'll find another car park here at the top of the steps down to the wondrous little chapel set into the cliffs.

Part 2 - St Govan's Chapel to Elegug Stacks

5km / 3.1 miles

1-1.5 hours

As with most of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, it doesn't take long for the second part of this walk to offer yet another landmark in its landscape. Just ten minutes of walking from St Govan's Chapel and you'll find Huntsman's Leap.

Huntsman's Leap is a very narrow, dramatic, gorge set into the cliffs. You might spot a brave climber or two scaling its sides, but do not attempt it yourself as even an experienced climber can struggle on Huntsman's Leap.

From Huntsman's Leap, you continue on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path for another hour, taking in the views across the sea to the distant horizon. To your left, watch out for the sudden cliffs, not forgetting to take in their stunning beauty.

In front of you, you should be able to The Cauldron, Elegug Stacks and Green Bridge rising out of the crashing waves. They may not have looked like much when you first left St Govan's Chapel, but do not arrive there without a camera. The ever-changing cliffs and rock formations here are spectacular now, but are being eroded. Most recently, in 2017 a chunk fell off Green Bridge during a storm.

Part 3 - Elegug Stacks to Merrion

3.4km / 2.1 miles

0.5-1 hours

As much as you won't want to, it is time to leave the Elegug Stacks behind you. Walk in-land through the car park and continue as the crow flies along Emigate Lane until you reach Merrion Cross. Turn left and follow signs to Bosherston.

Merrion is well signposted, and the Castlemartin Army Training Area, which is easily identifiable as a military base, will let you know that you are in the right place.

Part 4 - Merrion to Bosherston Lily Ponds

5.5km / 3.4 miles

1-1.5 hours

After passing the Castlemartin Army Training Area, look out for a sign to Thorne Chapel. Take the road towards this lovely little countryside hideaway. Walk past it until you reach a fork in the road, take the left.

Continue along this road and - apologies for sounding like a satnav - take the second right. When you reach a crossroads turn left towards Bosherston Lily Ponds. You might like to explore Bosherston, perhaps stop for some food before leaving this corner of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

We're sure you'll want to return.

Want more? Take a look at our pick of the the five best walking routes in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

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