Behind the scenes
Discover Pembrokeshire's under the radar beauties
Pembrokeshire’s most Instagrammable locations make an easy online win, but this is the Year of Discovery in Wales.
It’s our duty, then, to introduce you to some ‘under the radar’ beauties which lie just out of shot of those much-photographed views. Places that often go unnoticed as their more famous neighbours take the limelight.
Think of it as a guide to the greatest ‘B’ sides on your favourite vinyl, or a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of Pembrokeshire…
Freshwater East Burrows and Marsh
Behind Freshwater East beach.
Here you’ll find a maze of sandy footpaths through the dunes (or ‘burrows’), where Welsh mountain ponies often graze the grassland. Vibrant orchids pepper the ground in spring and there are lovely sneaky glimpses out to sea.
Beyond the car park on the other side of the road is the reserve’s marshland. Accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs (but not for dogs) there’s a long boardwalk through the reeds, leading you to a quirky bird hide and beyond.
There’s a pond too, with dipping platforms, so take along a fishing net!
Parking at Freshwater East beach car park (National Park)
Behind Bosherston Lily Ponds
Bosherston Lily Ponds are among Pembrokeshire’s most famous attractions, taking pride of place among the grandeur of the historic Stackpole Estate.
But to visit only the lakes is to miss a treat in the bordering woodlands, especially in springtime.
Lodge Park Woods display a dazzling white floor-covering of wild garlic in early spring, while Castle Dock Woods are carpeted with bluebells if you time it right in April.
If you’re keen to add extra adventure into your visit, there are some great mountain bike trails through the woodland tracks of Castle Dock Woods and Cheriton Bottom, managed by the National Trust.
Parking at Stackpole Court car park (National Trust)
Behind Pembroke Castle
Leave behind the dramatic views of Pembroke Castle to take a gentle stroll around the western section of the town’s Millponds.
Swans and dabbling ducks make this place their home and there are bats too, in the 13th century Barnard’s Tower. You might also spot cormorants or little egrets – and – if you’re very quiet and really lucky – an otter.
Part of the Pembroke Town Trail, the route follows the north side of the Town Walls. It is mostly flat, making it ideal for buggies and wheelchairs (kids love scootering along it too). It’s only a short walk but you can lengthen it to about 3 miles by taking in the whole of the town trail.
Wiseman’s Bridge to Saundersfoot Tunnels
Behind Wiseman’s Bridge beach
Just along the shore from the bucket and spade highlight of Wiseman’s Bridge is a bit of history that makes for a walk or bike ride with a difference.
This part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail features three tunnels which once took the narrow-gauge railway lines carrying coal from the local mines to Saundersfoot harbour.
The tunnels are fairly short (under 100m) and have low-level lighting, so it’s just dark enough to be exciting – but not scary – for little ones.
This ‘dramway’ also leads inland through the aptly named Pleasant Valley and completes a safe, off-road family cycle route between Saundersfoot, Wiseman’s Bridge and Stepaside Ironworks.
Parking at Saundersfoot, Coppet Hall or Wiseman’s Bridge.
Gupton Farm and Castlemartin Course
Behind Freshwater West beach
Tucked away in a valley in the shadow of the wild, sweeping sands at Freshwater West beach nestles a peaceful little nature-lover’s idyll.
So when you’re done with surfing, rock pooling and sandcastles, head over the road and onto the wildlife and wildflower walking trail around Gupton Farm and Castlemartin Corse.
Managed by the National Trust, the 2-mile circular route is a gentle meander through dunes, wetland and hay meadows. There may be no breath-taking iconic landmarks here but if you seek out solitude where you can just wander among coastal flowers and listen to birdsong, it’s bliss.
Parking at Freshwater West car park (or use the visitors’ bus laid on by National Trust).
Behind Tenby South beach
The unmistakable sight of Tenby’s Esplanade and St Catherine’s Island make a distant backdrop to the little sand and shingle beach at Penally.
It’s perfect for finding shell treasure and for tiring out your dog! (Note: Tenby South beach has dog restrictions from 1 May to 30 September).
The beach here joins the end of Tenby South beach, but it’s quieter. You can walk all the way along into town if the mood takes you. Or, if you head the other way, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path takes you on towards Lydstep.
You can reach the beach most easily from Penally Station, and the pretty, short walk takes you through the golf course and sand dunes. Watch out for loose golf balls! Check the tide times too, if you plan to go onto the beach.
Parking at Penally Station.