A coastal view from the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

National Trail Officer's Survey 5: Fort Popton to the Power Station

22nd May 2014

Friday 16th May 2014

Today I surveyed a short section from Fort Popton to the Power Station.  I had a few hours spare after a meeting at Stackpole and surveyed this as a ‘there and back’ from my work van.   (My Doctor has given me the all clear to dive again!) This could be done as a bus walk extending walk 4 (Coastal Cruiser 387) being dropped off at the Rhoscrowther turn and walking down to the Coast Path.

Photo top: Popton Fort

Fort Popton is one of the ‘Palmerstone’ Forts built c1860 as a defence of Milford Haven waterway and docks for a war with France that never happened.  Again this is a woodland and pasture walk. It starts through the sycamore woodland that runs between the over a mile long jetty and the giant Vivaro oil refinery.  The quiet and peace of the woodland is broken by the sounds from the ships and the subdued roar of from the flare stacks.  As I drop down towards the shingle beach of Bullwell the Path passes the ruin of the once grand Bullwell House and a round kiln. Then gently the path rises and follows the woodland before rather surprisingly it drops down and I walk under the jetty.   After a wooded lane the Path rises and crosses fields with young cattle and wide views across the Haven of Milford and Neyland.  There was a branch partially blocking the Path up from the jetty, I trimmed a little off with secateurs.  The South Warden Team who were mowing the Path will come back on Monday to clear it.

Approaching Pwllcrochan the Coast Path route follows a rough track and then the very minor road.  However a delightful alternative route through a Site of Special Scientific Interest is available if we turn inland just west of the old bridge.  There are a series of paths that follow boardwalks through the extensive reed beds leading to hides where one can rest while watching wildlife. To regain the National Trail route, follow the signs to the 650 year old church and join the road.

My walk was Popton Fort grid ref:  SM89270362 to Power Station Road SM92490229 which was 2.7 miles or 4.4km and around 1.5 hours each way and I used the Pwllcrochan Church car park SM92230255.

As I survey the Coast Path I carry hammer, nails and spare waymarks etc to repair broken ones as I go.  I am also putting up location plaques, mostly on gates, every quarter mile or so where we have something to fix to.  The Coastguard has asked for these to help people who need assistance to give their position.  I hope they also add some interest to the walk.  In the 1980 the PCP was numbered from south to north with plastic plaques; stile 1 was at Amroth and stile 530 was at Poppit.  As well as the Coastguard, we use the numbers as reference points for Coast Path maintenance and walkers use them to tell us of problems they find.  However the new guidebook was written starting at St Dogmaels, so in 1989 it was decided that I should renumber from North to south.  This I did using steel (timber marking) plates, these lasted about 10 years before renewals of stiles (mostly now with gates) led to many gaps.  I again replaced the numbers around 2000 using brass plaques.  The new larger location plates take longer to prepare and double check the wording, grid reference and translation.  They also cost more; ponds each rather than pence, last year I put up the new ones from Amroth to Broad Haven South.  Unfortunately the material used is less durable than hoped and a more proven and expensive material is being used now.  I have the plates now to get as far as Druidston this year.

Photo bottom: Pwllcrochan Church

The walker bus used was the 387 Coastal Cruiser.  Visit http://www.pembrokeshiregreenways.co.uk for full bus details. 

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Popton Fort
Pwllcrochan Church