A coastal view from the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

National Trail Officer's Survey: 1 Pembroke to Pembroke Dock

22nd May 2014

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority National Trail Officer Dave Maclachlan details his annual survey of the 186-mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path – one of the county’s biggest tourism attractions.

The Coast Path, which generates almost one million user days annually, is maintained by the National Park Authority with funding from Natural Resources Wales.

Day One

Every year I walk the whole Pembrokeshire Coast Path, usually starting the day with a van journey, then a bus to the end of the walk and walk back to the van. 

This year, at least to start with, for reasons of sustainability and adventure (i.e. my doctors told me I couldn’t drive until a medical condition was checked out!) I will be trying to walk with a bus only.  I usually start the season with fairly short walks to test the kit and check that the National Trail ‘Acorn’ signs are in good condition on the road sections.

Today after three hours in the office in Pembroke Dock I walked down to the nearby bus stop and caught the bus to Pembroke Castle and then surveyed back to office (a walk of approximately 3.3 miles or 5.3km). The bus takes about a quarter of an hour, the walk about two hours.

Pembroke Castle

For me the interest in this section of the Path is the military history. Pembroke boasts one of the best Norman castles on the Welsh coast, and supersedes earlier defensive positions, the town itself is a walled town and these walls still stand in places. 

As you walk through Pembroke Dock you first pass the Defensible Barracks, and then walk past the walls that housed the former Royal Dockyard and the Flying Boat Squadron.

Then it’s on to the ‘Martello’ gun tower and finally up to the old Officers’ Mess that now houses the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority offices.

East Martello gun tower

Pembroke Castle adds a spectacular backdrop to the start of this walk.  It was a glorious day with not many walkers around. I thought this would be a nice simple walk for the first of the season, but as somebody had bulldozed a new path which crosses the route of the Coast Path, we’ll have to put in some more signage.

The first kilometre of the off-road section is used by schoolchildren from Bush School above and is a pleasant woodland walk. There is a recently constructed low tide alternative that follows closer to the river. The second kilometre crosses farmland, often home to large curious and playful cattle.   

There was very little wrong with the Path; a few signs are missing as Pembrokeshire County Council has replaced the old lamp posts with stainless steel ones so I’ve put sticky acorns on those for the time being. 

I got back to the office in plenty of time to download the survey and check my day’s email. Once in Pembroke Dock or Pembroke you have some good hotels, restaurants, pubs, shops and options of buses and trains to various other locations.

The same 356 bus that I took goes to and from Tesco in Milford Haven to and from Monkton, West of Pembroke, both Monkton and Milford are on the Coast Path. 

There is roughly hourly service in daytime and the journey takes an hour. Visit http://www.pembrokeshiregreenways.co.uk for full bus details. 

The bus service was fantastic today – I look forward to seeing how well the walking experience will work with more complicated routes!

There are more than 200 circular walks available to download from the National Park website at www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/walking.

For detailed information about the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail go to: http://nt.pcnpa.org.uk.

More blogs from this Trail »

More blogs from all trails »

Share this post:

Pembroke Castle
Pembroke Dock Gun Tower