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Starting in St Davids, take in some of Pembrokeshire's coastal highlights on this pleasant walk.

Photo: iStock_Alan Morris

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 13.5km / 8.4 miles

Duration: 2-4hours

This route that starts at the heart of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, St Davids. It might be the smallest city in Britain, but it packs a mighty punch.

While it may be a popular spot for tourists, St Davids has not yet been taken over by multitudes of souvenir shops, instead retaining the rustic charm that fits so well amongst the Pembrokeshire scenery.

There is a car park next to the visitor's centre and public transport connecting the city to other nearby towns and villages that makes getting here a breeze.

The centre of St Davids offers a variety of restaurants and cafes to stop at before you visit the highlight of the city, which is of course St Davids Cathedral. Tucked away to the west of the city, the cathedral rises suddenly upwards as you round the corner.

The cathedral which was founded almost a century and a half ago by Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, stands proudly next to the ruins of the St Davids Bishop's Palace. Be sure to check what's on at the cathedral and ruins before your trip. Maybe, like we did, you could enjoy a local amateur dramatic group performance of Macbeth while the sun sets over the ruins.

As is so often the case in this part of Wales, you can always hear the coastal path calling. So, once you have visited St Davids Cathedral and soaked up all that the city has to offer, follow one of our favourite Pembrokeshire walks down to the sea.

This circular walk takes you away from St Davids and along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, past St Non's Chapel, Porthclais Harbour, and to St Justinians before returning to St Davids.

Preparing to Walk this Coastal Route

At times the footpaths become quite narrow and often with very little shade so remember your sun-cream in the summer months. The terrain is mostly loose dirt and rocks, sometimes challenging you with a handful of steeper sections that can be tackled by even the most inexperienced hiker so make sure you wear sensible footwear.

In summer, the route can get rather busy, so be prepared to regularly have to squeeze past people on the narrow footpaths. In the winter, this is less of a problem but check the weather forecast before heading out as it can be unpredictable and take comfortable, quick drying clothing.

Part 1 - St Davids to Porthclais Harbour

2.7km / 1.7 miles


Start in the centre of St Davids, near the war memorial, and head down Goat Street and then up Stephen's Lane before turning left onto Bryn Road. Turn right when you reach Pen Y Garn and continue to the end of the road. Again, turn right

From here, follow footpath signs towards the coast path and St Non's Chapel. The ruins of St Non's Chapel, which is believed to be the birthplace of St David, sit above St Non's Cliffs and Bay. Views from the coast path cross St Non's and St Brides Bay to the coastline near Broad Haven and Skomer Island.

If you would like to add another stop onto this walk, you might like to visit Caerfai Bay and its lovely beach. It will however add an extra 1.6miles / 2.5km to the hike, and excluding a quick toe dip, could also add another 35minutes to the trip.

At St Non's Chapel, keep the coastline on your left and follow the footpaths to Porthclais Harbour.

Porthclais Harbour is one of the highlights of this route thanks to its gorgeous surroundings and harbour wall, which is thought to have been built by the Romans. Next to the harbour is a National Trust car park so that you can return, as you undoubtedly will want to.

Part 2 - Porthclais Harbour to St Justinian's

7.6km / 4.7 miles


The walk continues by following the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, still walking with the sea on your left. This part of the route is easy to navigate, just stick to the coast path and enjoy views over to Ramsey Island.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the local wildlife as Ramsey Island is home to a RSPB Nature Reserve. If you're lucky, you might spot a seal in the water below you.

The final coastal stop on this walk, stands out for not one, but two reasons. Its pair of lifeboat stations with their boat launching ramps set into the cliffs. While here, enjoy a local ice cream overlooking the sea or perhaps join one of the boat trips that kick off in this cove. Just be warned that to get near the older of the two stations, you will have to walk down at least 50 steps.

Part 3 - St Justinian's to St Davids

3.2km / 2 miles


Sadly, we have to leave the coast path behind us, and head back in-land, walking from St Justinian's back towards St Davids. If you do want to stay by the sea, you could double the length of this part of the route by instead visiting Porthselau Beach and Whitesands Bay.

However, if an oggie - similar to a Cornish pasty - is calling your name in St Davids, you can follow two miles of road through the Pembrokeshire countryside that give you a gentle end to this adventure.

Once you have left St Justinian's continue eastwards through Rhosson before continuing straight until you reach St Davids. You'll know that you are near when you spot St Davids Cathedral through the trees that disguise the outskirts of the city.

Use the cathedral as a way marker to find your way back to the city centre, where you can finally relax after a day on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

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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