Length: 14.9km / 9.3 miles
Duration: 3-4 hours
Located in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, and with Carn Llidi hill as its backdrop, Whitesands Bay is a popular spot for surfing thanks to its long shoreline. Its sandy beach set between sheltered rocky coves makes it perfect for sunbathing and relaxing. And it is loved with children and families who can enjoy the space and freedom of this stunning beach.
Therefore, Whitesands Bay makes the perfect starting point for this walking route along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. It is only a five minute drive, or a 40 minute walk, from St Davids, but now that you know it is here you might never leave.
This section of the Wales Coast Path is what a UK national park should be about: stunning scenery with lots of historic spots to explore and discover. In the middle of this hike is the Blue Lagoon, a superb location for coasteering and cliff jumping, if you're brave enough. And at the end is Porthgain with its delightfully small harbour set into the wild cliffs of Pembrokeshire.
Preparing to explore this part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path
When trekking this route on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, be careful not to loose yourself in the scenery or wildlife watching as you will be near cliff edges. Take care on the footpaths that mostly consist of loose dirt, but are surrounded by brightly coloured heather and gorse.
There is not much shade along this section of the Wales coast path, so remember to take sun-cream and water especially in the summer months. Pembrokeshire's unpredictable weather and rugged terrain mean that decent clothing and footwear are important.
Part 1 - Whitesands Bay to Penllechwen
3.7km / 2.3 miles
Starting in the car park next to Whitesands Bay, you need to drag yourself away from the Blue Flag beach, and head north, past the nearby campsite. There are signs leading you to the coast path, and as long as you keep the sea to your left you should find your way fairly easily.
Follow the coastal path round the headland towards Porthmelgan Beach where you might like to stop and listen to the water trickling its way through the pebbles down to the sea. Or enjoy the slightly quieter atmosphere than at Whitesands Bay.
After Porthmelgan Beach, continue along the coast path to the tip of St Davids Head - which is looked after by the National Trust. Here the path will bend to the right and bring you to Coetan Arthur.
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Coetan Arhur, or Arthur's Quoit, is a 5,000 year old Neolithic burial chamber that can be recognised by its 6m long stone supported at one end by another smaller stone.
After visiting this ancient site, follow the footpath that runs parallel to the Pembrokeshire cliffs on your left. This section of the walk is nice and open with heather and gorse bushes below your knees. You will be able to see other walkers along this part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, as visitors are fond of the rainbow of nature surrounding them.
The footpath here is relatively flat and not uncomfortably close to the cliffs, but with no fences or tall bushes separating you, it could be very easy to get into trouble.
When the path and cliffs bend to the right next to an inaccessible patch of sand, you know that you have arrived at Penllechwen point, marking the end of the first part of this route. At Penllechwen, be sure to stop and admire the view across to more of this national trail. On a sunny day you should be able to see the next section of the route that will take you to Abereiddy Beach and the Blue Lagoon.
Part 2 - Penllechwen to Abereiddy Beach and the Blue Lagoon
8.5km / 5.3 miles
Although this section of the route is twice as long as the first, its highlights come right at the end. You will continue to follow the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, keeping the sea on your left until you reach Abereiddy Beach.
Although this section's terrain is moderately flat, there is one moment in the middle where the track becomes much steeper. Take care when walking up it as the loose dirt underfoot can make you slip.
Once you arrive at Abereiddy Beach, you can enjoy views out to sea with the Pembrokeshire cliffs on either side. As you walk towards the Blue Lagoon, try to find the old, square, stone archway that makes a great photo spot.
As you you round the headland there will be no need to follow the signposts - just listen out for the splashes and screams of cliff jumpers in the old quarry that is now managed by the National Trust. Come rain or shine, you can be sure that some brave person will have donned a wetsuits to make the most of Wales' incredible coastline.
Part 3 - The Blue Lagoon to Porthgain
2.7km / 1.7 miles
If you haven't decided to stay at the Blue Lagoon, you only have another 1.7 miles to go until you arrive in Porthgain for a well deserved pub stop. The terrain here becomes a lot flatter than the previous sections. You will be mostly walking down-hill until you reach Porthgain, but don't worry it is a nice and gentle decline.
As you make your way towards Porthgain, you should be able to spot its harbour and village that are a staple of this coastal national park. Navigate your way down the coast path towards Porthgain Harbour where you can sit with your feet dangling over the water.
You will no doubt have noticed the ruins next to Porthgain. They are remnants of Porthgain's past as a shipping port for local slate. Nowadays, the village is part of a conservation area protected by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
After you have explored the village and its history, one of the local bus services can take you back to St Davids, and then onto Whitesands Bay where you started - We'd recommend stopping there for a barbecue dinner to refuel after a long days walk.
Want more? Take a look at our pick of the the five best walking routes in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park