A coastal view from the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

National Trail Officer's Survey: 6 Pwllgwaelod to Fishguard

20th June 2014

Tuesday 27th May

Today I parked the van in the multi storey in Haverfordwest and got the 412 bus to Dinas Cross.  This was the first bus which was at 9.00am.  So I walked down the road towards to Pwllgwaelod and after the houses end there is a foot path on the left, I took this footpath to avoid the narrow road (even though it is usually a quiet road).  Then down the steep hill to start survey at Pwllgwaelod: back up the hill with its 83 steps.  Pwllgwaelod is a lovely little cove with calm water and a restaurant/pub behind it.  Also toilets and small free car park. 

I started my survey noticing the first two stiles have been changed to gates but then there are still 5 stiles and around 50 steps to Hescwm.  However, the first cove is Pwllgaelog (note the g at the end and not a d) which is a beautiful secluded little beach with a difficult descent.  This is the sort of place where you feel an intruder if somebody else is there already. 

Photo: Pwllgwaelog

 I always think that this section feels like it’s a different county because the friable, slate rocks make little islands off the coast that look like teeth.  There are a series of delightful little coves.  However, most of them are inaccessible unless you are travelling by canoe.  The largest of these coves is Hescwm, which on the eastern side was quarried quite extensively, presumably for the slate.  The most striking thing about the coast today was the Hawthorn blossom, which adorned seaward banks, some of the thorn bushes are almost growing horizontally. 

Photo below: Wind sculpted thorn trees

There is a little beach at Hescwm which is backed by an awkward band of clay, that moves when saturated and creates extra maintenance most years.  There is also a converted mill just inland.  The path then rises steeply up to join the road for a short distance, and then heads off pretty level around to Penrhyn.   Watch out for a series of badger holes which could cause a trip. 

There are five teams of two National Park Wardens who focus on cutting the Coast Path and some of the other paths.  It is a massive undertaking wearing full protective clothing and helmet, often in very hot weather.  They cut the paths up to three times every season, with even more cuts for some particular small areas.  They use a variety of machines from powerful (heavy) strimmers to pedestrian flail mowers.  As you walk, spare a thought for the Warden’s herculean efforts, without which the paths would soon close over and become impassable.

Soon I come to Penrhyn (Fishguard Bay Caravan site).  Each side of Penrhyn there are developing collapses of the coastal slope which are clearly visible.  On the East side a series of fences betray the path movement inland.  To the West path realignment is likely soon.   Then we are heading off towards Fishguard, with a steep climb after Fishguard Bay Caravan site and soon the coast is on more stable rock.    If anything, the flowers become more eye catching.  Bluebells are just starting the set seed but the flowers are still there.  The white Sea Campion, Pinks (or wild Carnations), Foxgloves and Gorse are everywhere on the rest of the walk to Fishguard.  There is one of many islets called Needle Rock to be seen here.  This one is a tall slender stack, with a cave through the base.  Do not approach the cliff edge. 

Photo: Hawthorn Blossom (Carreg Pen-las and Ynys Dinas)

The path is quite rough approaching Fishguard Fort as volcanic rock boulders outcrop and at lunchtime you can watch the Fishguard Ferry come into Port.  If you walk as slowly as me you will see it leave as well!  I got to Lower Town Fishguard just in time to catch the 3.37pm return bus to Haverfordwest, although if you are visiting there are many places to stay in or eat at.  This is quite a poor time for a 5 mile walk, but there were many worn out signs to replace on the way.   

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Pwllgwaelog
Wind sculpted thorn trees
Hawthorn Blossom (Carreg Pen-las and Ynys Dinas)