If you’d like to take in some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in Britain and get in some exercise at the same time you may be interested in the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail. This 186-mile long path starts in the northern community of St. Dogmaels and stretches all the way to the southern community of Amroth.
Along the way, you’ll see just about every type of maritime landscape imaginable, such as rugged cliffs, wide-open beaches, winding estuaries, and sheltered coves. Most of the trail lies in the lovely Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which is the only coastal park in Britain. You’ll also come across a wide variety of bird and coastal flower species along with evidence of ancient human activity that dates way back to the Neolithic times.
(photo by welshicons)
You’ll definitely get some exercise in as well since the entire trail is quite formidable. If you hike the entire path, you’ll cover approximately 35,000 feet descent and ascent, which is believed to be equal to climbing Mount Everest. Of course, you can also enjoy the trail in shorter sections and it’s an ideal hike for people of all hiking skills and ages. If you’d like to take a break, there are numerous charming villages along the way.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path opened in 1970 as the first national trail in the country of Wales. In total 75% of the trail is situated in conservation sites while 85% of it is inside of the national park. Much of the area’s residents sustained themselves by fishing and farming throughout the years and this can be seen in the quaint coastal settlements along with the farmed landscape.
There are numerous historic sites on the path and these can be seen in the way of chapels, churches, Neolithic cromlechs, and Iron Age forts that were erected by seafaring Celts. It’s also believed that Vikings were very interested in this region of Britain and some of the local names such as Goodwick, Skokholm, and Skomer are evidence of this. Huge castles that were constructed by the Normans can also be found in Tenby, Manorbier, and Pembroke.
In fact Pembroke Castle was the birthplace of Henry Tudor, better known as Henry VII. After returning from France, he was involved in the Battle of Bosworth. Also in the 1600s, Pembrokeshire saw Oliver Cromwell laid siege to the castle. In 1797, an army of French invaders landed close to Fishguard, but were fought off by local residents.
This is believed to be the last time invaders set foot in Britain and it’s commemorated by a stone on the trail at Carreg Wastad. After this attack, several more forts were built by the Victorians on the south coast.
Other historic sites include warehouses, limekilns, small quays, and brickworks. These are all excellent reminders of the area’s past industrial tradition. However, these days the path takes you along many remote and tranquil regions that are home to a variety of birds and grey seals. Hiking this amazing trail will enable you to walk back in time and also enjoy the present.