Dale to Martin's Haven

10½ miles

Wild and exposed headlands punctuated by some of Pembrokeshire’s finest beaches.

This section of Coast Path takes you to the mouth of the Milford Haven estuary at St Ann’s Head past Watwick Bay and Mill Bay, famous as the landing point of Henry VII in 1485 as he made his way to the Battle of Bosworth.

As you pass the disused airfield at Dale, you round Hooper’s Point to the magnificent view of Marloes Sands stretching out before you (best seen at low tide if you can). The beach starred in the 2012 Hollywood film Snow White and the Huntsman with an all-star cast.

The finale, the most westerly point on the Marloes peninsula, overlooks the turbulent tide race of Jack Sound and Skomer Island and is where the wide sweep of St Bride’s Bay reveals itself. Moderately strenuous.

Route

  • From Dale village, head around the headland towards Dale Fort field studies centre on a tarmac lane

  • From here, take to the footpath as it winds its way in and out of various coves on its way to St Ann’s Head lighthouse

  • Watwick Bay and Mill Bay are both accessible. The latter is where Henry VII landed his army, in 1485, on his way to the battle of Bosworth, to become the first king of the Tudor dynasty

  • There are also some interesting remains of a wrecked submarine on the beach at Mill Bay. It broke loose from its tow en-route to being scrapped and didn’t have any crew on board as a consequence

  • As you join the tarmac road next to the entrance to the new lighthouse, look for a rickety gate opposite. It takes you on a very short detour to see Cobblers Hole, some heavily folded rocks

  • Heading north now, you pass West Dale beach and walk past The Hookses, a very isolated cottage tucked into a hollow

  • The runways of the disused airfield are still evident, although it hasn’t been operational since the war. There are several similar cliff top airfields around Pembrokeshire. Their job of protecting convoys has long since vanished.

  • As you turn the corner, the magnificent Marloes Sands comes into view

  • Head for the beach down the first set of steps. Don’t if the tide is right in; you’ll not get round to the next access point

  • There is a very rough path back up to the top at the very far end of the beach for adept scramblers, but most walkers should regain The Coast Path where the stream joins the beach

  • Just past Gateholm Island is Albion Beach. Sticking out of the sand at low tide is all that remains of a wrecked ship: its prop shaft. This was The Albion that gives the beach its name. It was passing through Jack Sound and swerved to avoid a rowing boat but hit the rocks instead. The ship was beached here and all aboard saved but the ship soon broke up

  • The path is broad and level now, all the way to the tip of the peninsula, where the sweep of St Bride’s Bay reveals itself. Look out for seal pups on the beach below in October and November

  • Across the turbulent tide race of Jack Sound, is Skomer Island. Over half a million seabirds nest here during May and June including puffins, Kittiwakes and Manx shearwaters

  • If in doubt, follow the acorn symbols that indicate where the route goes

Download GPX file

Useful info

Refreshments: Cafe and pub in Dale. Cafe in the old youth hostel, Runwayskiln above Marloes beach.

Attractions en-route: Skomer Island Nature Reserve, boat trips and Lockley Lodge, the Wildlife Trust visitor centre at Martin’s Haven.

Nearest Tourist Information Centre: Haverfordwest

Tel: 01437 775244

E-mail: haverfordwestlendinglibrary@pembrokeshire.gov.uk