Explore the magnificent Pembrokeshire Coast in Britain's only truly coastal National Park. Walking is an ideal way to discover the stunning coastal scenery with towering cliffs, secluded coves, traditional fishing harbours, Neolithic burial chambers and unspoilt beaches. Try your hand at sea kayaking and learn about Welsh culture and history. Inspirational Landscapes - Wild open spaces and varied coastal scenery Nature - Abundance of seabirds, wild flowers and perfect for spotting Atlantic grey seals St. Davids - Britain's smallest city with impressive 12th century Cathedral
Arrive at the lodge located near Mathry village and only one mile from Abermawr Bay; ideally located for hiking the magnificent Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Check in is available from 5pm but if you wanted to arrive earlier you can always leave your luggage in the car or reception while you go off exploring. There is a car park for guests. If arriving by train, Fishguard and Goodwick station is just 15 minutes away by taxi. We stay at the simply-graded, family-run, Preseli Venture eco-lodge - nestled on the hillside of a National Trust valley and next door to the northern section of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Whilst the location and environmental credentials are fantastic, please be aware that the bedrooms are very basic. The lodge consists of three main areas. The first is an accommodation block containing 10 rooms which are simple / basic in design. The rooms have a hostel type feel, and are of different size and layouts, some containing a number of bunk beds although we allocate a maximum of 2 people to each room. Towels are not provided and so you should bring your own. The second area is the shower and toilet block. The rooms are not en-suite, they have their own allocated shower / toilet which is located in this separate part of the property (2 of the rooms are assigned their own shower, but will share a WC (with same sex)). These will be allocated on tour and it is not possible to pre-arrange. The third area is a fantastic communal space. Here there is a comfortable lounge/bar with a wood burning stove, which is a great place to relax after a full days walking. Meals are also served here. All meals are included, with full Welsh breakfasts, picnic lunches and two-course evening meals prepared in house. Dietary requirements can be catered for, but it is necessary to let us know at time of booking. The small bar is stocked with a variety of locally brewed beers and ciders as well as Welsh whisky and gin. WiFi is available in the lounge and bar areas only. With larger group sizes we will be the only people staying in the lodge. There is ample parking space. We have graded this accommodation as simple. The Tour Leader plans to meet you in reception at 6.30pm for the introductory briefing, followed by the opportunity to meet your fellow guests over dinner.
After breakfast, we drive to the start point of our first walk. Before heading out on the walk we will prepare a packed lunch. Typically rolls, fruits, ham, cheese, tuna and salads are all laid out and everyone gets the opportunity to fill their own sandwiches (you should bring along your own sandwich box - this helps eliminate the need for plastic wrappings). Squash and tea / coffee are also available - so if you like a cup of tea with your lunch, then please bring a flask. This morning we drive to the tiny fishing port of Porthgain (Chisel Port) that used to export slate from the nearby quarry until the 1930s. There's also the remains of an impressive industrial dolerite stone crushing plant, making stone for road-building around 1870-1895. We start our walk here, joining the Pembrokeshire Coast Path proper and walking east and north back towards our lodge. A short detour brings us to Carreg Samson - thought to be a 5,000-year-old Neolithic burial chamber with a massive capstone atop upright stones. We reach a long, narrow picturesque inlet at the traditional fishing harbour of Abercastle, where the natural shelter makes it ideal for kayakers and boats. The trail leads on past more pristine coves, through heather and wild flowers. Hundreds of small islands and rocky crags lie off shore here and provide a perfect haven for seals and seabirds, especially in spring and autumn. After a steep descent and ascent to pass Pwllstrodur cove we reach Castell Coch, once the site of an Iron Age fort. Finally, we reach Abermawr Bay and the final short section inland back to our accommodation. Isambard Kingdom Brunel once planned a harbour and railway terminus for transport to Ireland at Abermawr Bay that thankfully didn't go ahead, and Fishguard was chosen instead. Today's moderate-graded walk will take approximately 5 hours and will cover a distance of 16 kilometres with a total ascent and descent of 640 metres.
Today's walk is the longest of the week and explores the dramatic section of the Coast Path immediately to the north of the lodge. We drive after breakfast to the start of the trail at Llanwnda, and soon after we rejoin the Coast Path and reach Carreg Wasted Point where there is a memorial stone commemorating a Napoleonic-era invasion of Britain in 1797. Our route rounds the headland and we reach the end of the peninsula at Strumble Head, whose lighthouse is on its own island. Superb views start to open up of the coast all the way down towards St. David's and the chance to spot Atlantic grey seals. Seal pups are best seen in the late summer and autumn when they are on shore fattening up for the winter ahead. At Pwll Deri the cliffs reach 400 feet high and along all of the walks this week we keep our eyes peeled for birdlife along the way such as razorbills, guillemots, gannets, chough, kittiwakes and cormorants. Finally the familiar sight of Abermawr Bay comes into view and the final stretch back to our lodge. At low tide well-preserved tree stumps are exposed in the bay - the remains of a forest drowned 8000 years ago as the ice sheets retreated. We walk along the shingle beach at Abermawr Bay, through a wildlife-rich marshy area then the final mile through bluebell woods and meadows. Today's moderate-graded walk will take approximately 8 hours and will cover a distance of 19 kilometres with a total ascent and descent of 660 metres.
The morning is free for optional activities or to relax. We recommend a half-day sea kayaking excursion for a different perspective of this pristine and stunning coastline. Expert guides and all equipment is provided with a wetsuit and choice of either sit-on-top kayak or closed cockpit kayaks with spray decks. No experience is needed and the only requirement is that you can pull on a wetsuit! This is a great way to explore the rugged sea cliffs, secluded coves, sea caves, stacks and natural rock arches, as well as a plethora of coastal wildlife. Other optional activities that are possible include coasteering and surfing. All activities depend on weather conditions and a minimum number of participants (around six people). Hot lunch is served at the lodge today and this afternoon we plan a walk from the lodge inland to Tregwynt woollen mill returning along the same route. There has been a mill on this site since the 17th century and today this is the last working woollen mill in Wales, complete with cafe and shop. Please note that we need a high tide for kayaking so the walk may be changed to the morning if necessary. Today's easy-graded walk will take approximately 2 hours and will cover a distance of 6 kilometres mostly on the flat.
After breakfast, we drive to Abereiddy Bay whose dark sand beach was formed by weathered grey slate. There is a former slate quarry here, now named the Blue Lagoon, that was breached by the sea and its distinctive green colour comes from the minerals in the quarry. Following the Coast Path south we ascend onto the headland and the route undulates through sheep farming land alongside ragged clifftops. We walk past the ancient volcanoes, with their craggy outcrops, of Carn Penberi and Carn Llidi which proudly define St. David's Headland. We make our way around St. David's Head to the westernmost point of the north Pembrokeshire peninsular, where porpoise can sometimes be seen playing in the tide, then down to the beautiful wide expanse of golden sands at Whitesands Bay where the walk ends. From here we drive the short distance to St. Davids - Britain's smallest city. The magnificent 12th century cathedral is the birthplace and burial site of the nation's patron saint and has been a pilgrimage site for 1500 years. Today's moderate-graded walk will take approximately 4-5 hours and will cover a distance of 13 kilometres with a total ascent and descent of 710 metres.
The trip ends after breakfast at our lodge in Mathry.
5 Break Fast(s) 4 Lunch(es) 5 Dinner(s)
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