Bosherston is a tiny village just south of Pembroke but it's the epicentre of the Pembroke climbing scene. The limestone cliffs in this part of south Pembrokeshire are criss-crossed by up to a thousand hard climbing routes including some of the most taxing routes in the UK. There are easier routes too but it's places like Huntsman's Leap near St Govans Chapel that epitomise the Pembroke climbing reputation.
Picture: Huntsmans Leap near Bosherston
There are several small camp sites and touring caravan sites in Bosherston or at nearby St Petrox. There are some quality B&Bs in the vicinity and hotels in nearby Pembroke. There are plenty of self catering cottages all across the Castlemartin peninsula, including some cottages in Bosherston itself. The Climbers' Club has a cottage in Maiden Wells.
Picture: Climbing at Saddle Head near Bosherston
Bosherston has other charms as well. Bosherston Lily Ponds are well known for their beautiful setting. They occupy a series of flooded limestone valleys that were once the picturesque gardens of Stackpole House, the grand country seat of The Cawdor Family. See the Stackpole entry for more details of that.
Picture: One of the causeways over Bosherston Lily Ponds
From the small car park next to the church in Bosherston a footpath leads to the first lake and an enticing causeway takes you across to the far side. The path then meanders round the lake, over another causeway and a bridge to bring you, unexpectedly, to a fabulous beach at Broad Haven South.
Broad Haven South beach is sheltered, dune backed and has wonderful soft golden sand. If you drive through the village and turn left just past the pub, you come to a big cliff top car park which gives you quicker access to the beach.
Picture: Broad Haven South beach near Bosherston
There are a number of interesting features on the beach that are worth exploring. At low tide, numerous little caves are exposed on the eastern side of the beach farthest from the car park. The stream that empties out of the Lily Ponds also flows along this side of the beach providing numerous pools and channels for children to play in. Unlike some beach streams, the water is clean and clear. There is a partial island on the western side with another cave that can be climbed through but this also requires a low tide. Clamber over the boulders between the ‘island' and the cliffs to find a fresh water spring spilling out of the cliffs. It also bubbles through the sand at your feet.
Picture: Broad Haven South Beach near Bosherston
If you want to get away from the crowds, head west from the car park and you come to a tiny low-tide cove at Trevallen. Continue west, provided the army ranges are open, to St Govans Head and there's another tiny sandy cove before you get there. Just follow the little dry valley on the left.
St Govan's chapel is another fascinating place to visit. Tucked into a cleft in the cliffs, is one of the most picturesque sixth century hermit's chapels in Britain. It is named after the hermit and saint who lived there. St Govan was the Abbot to the monastery of Dairinis in Ireland and tradition says that pirates from Lundy Island tried to capture him when he was visiting Pembrokeshire. Folklore says that the cleft in the rock at St. Govan's Chapel opened miraculously for him to hide in, closed over him, opening miraculously for a second time after the pirates had gone away. This miracle prompted him to build a hermit's chapel and to worship, preach and teach here.
One area that is only accessible on very rare occasions is the area west of Stack Rocks called Range West. Climbers can have access if they have attended a special briefing session that year and log in at Merrion Camp before they set foot in the range. The National Park do arrange occasional guided walks but with strict instructions to stick to the path. This decreases the risk of disturbing wildlife.
ID: 1975 Revised: 22/5/2012