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St Brides Castle

Pembrokeshire, Wales

Bosherton and St. Govan's Chapel walking and hiking route

6.25km/4mi
Total distance
70m
Total ascent

Start/Car Parking - National Trust car park, with toilets, behind Bosherston Church, grid reference 967948.

The great lily ponds at Bosherston are one of the showpieces of the South Pembrokeshire coast. Coupled with the adjacent Broad Haven and, by the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, with St. Govan's Chapel, they make a walking circuit of considerable interest, with attractive scenery.

The lily ponds are sizable lakes, all linked, created as estate enhancements by the late 18th/early19th Century landowner. There are bridges facilitating the circular walks around the ponds, all very visitor-friendly.

Broad Haven is a beautiful wide cove and beach, with the Pembrokeshire Coast Path passing behind.

Further along the coast St. Govan's Chapel is a remarkable survival. Founded in the 6th century by the eponymous saint, most of thepresent structure dates, at the latest, from the 13th Century. The real wonder of the chapelis its location, clinging to the side of steep limestone cliffs above the sea, accessed only by a long flight of steps.

The walking is generally easy, with the coast path from Broad Haven as the only significant ascent, largely over soft sand. The final part of the circuit is along the St. Govan's access road, with little traffic and good roadside verges.

The large area known as Castlemartin ranges is used by the army for gunnery practice. This area, which includes St Govan's Head and Chapel, is closed to the public when in military use. The boundaries are clearly marked and red flags are displayed on these occasions. Should this occur, a shortened version of the circuit can be made by turning sharp right behind Broad Haven to follow the footpath along the south-western side of the ponds directly back to the car park. For up to date information, enquire at a Tourist Information Centre or telephone 01646 662287.

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Walk Instructions

From the car park descend along a well-made track towards the lily ponds, the left hand of the two descending paths.

1) Turn left at the junction at the bottom and bear right to cross the first long footbridge, with a coast path waymark. The path continues to the right, close to the water; above to the left, in impenetrable vegetation, is an iron age fort. Go up a few easy steps; to the right at a fork is a short diversion to an excellent viewpoint. Resume along the main track, go down easy steps and cross the second footbridge. At Middle Arm keep right at a signposted junction for 'Broad Haven'. Wild flowers in Spring include bluebells, primroses, violets, gorse and bugle.

2) At a signposted junction follow 'Broad Haven' at Grassy Bridge. Turn right to cross the bridge over the eastern arm. The track now passes along the edge of the extensive Stackpole Warren, with a luxuriant reed bed on the right. Ignore the coast path to the left at a signpost and continue to the back of the Broad Haven beach. Cross the stream on a waymarked footbridge to head for a signpost in 100m. (If the track across the firing range is closed, a sharp right turn is required before reaching the signpost).

3) The signpost offers two ways ahead, diverging only slightly. Keep left at a fork in 50m. Continue over sand to rise along one or other of the obvious routes; there are many possible variations, but the objective is to reach the top edge of the slope, with great views over the Haven and out to sea. Quite suddenly the path turns inland, up steps or ramp, to a signpost and Broad Haven car park, with toilets.

4) If the range is open, continue along the coast path, passing a waymark on a post and through a gate. Pass the range checkpoint; there are frequent white posts along the broad easy track and warnings of the danger of straying off route. Stay with the main coast path at any apparent junctions. Turn right at a signpost, over tarmac to a waymarked gate and cattle grid. There are more signposts as the St. Govan's car park is reached. The short left diversion to visit the chapel is signposted.

5) From the coast path turn right, inland, to walk past the car park and along the quiet access road, passing range buildings. The roadside banks are rich in flowers; in Spring the cowslips are particularly impressive. Pass a long-abandoned cottage and leave the range at the Newton hut. Pass a farm; Bosherston Church is soon in view. Reach the edge of the village, continuing towards the church, passing the inn and the cafe. At the junction in front of the church turn right to return to the car park.

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Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.

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