Nolton Haven to Caerfai

12 miles

This is one of the most popular sections of The Coast Path, with good reason.

This section is jam-packed with views. The most stunning has to be as you approach Newgale beach with two miles of golden sand (if its not high tide!) stretching out before you as you round Rickets Head.

From Newgale, its real rollercoaster ride with many steep descents and ascents before you reach The Gribbin at Solva with magnificent views down to the harbour and along the coast to St Davids. Solva’s perfect place to take a break and enjoy the views.

Route

  • The gradient out of Nolton Haven is gentle, but don’t let this fool you into thinking this is typical for the rest of the day’s walk

  • Not far past the distinctive ‘lump’ of Rickets Head, the path drops down to a hollow, where a tall chimney is all that remains of a coal mine

  • Climb back up the other side and a gentle slope then takes you down to Newgale beach

  • If the tide is right out, it’s possible to walk all the way to Cwn Mawr along the sand, although the river at the village end can be difficult to cross even where it fans out near the sea

  • The best place to cross it is to clamber along the pebble bank, on the far side of the river, opposite the cafe. If you do go this way, take care not to get cut off by the tide

  • The normal route heads steeply uphill and even more steeply down the other side.

  • Several more ups and downs bring you to a pebble-backed beach just before Solva. The path up onto The Gribbin from here is very steep and taxing but the view is stunning once you get to the top

  • Proceed along the ridge, past a rocky outcrop, to pick up a wooded path on the left

  • Walk along the harbour wall, right to the end, where a few steps take you back onto the Coast Path. When the path splits, take the steeper fork on the right. Turn left onto the lane and past the front of the house with a turret

  • Before long you reach the remains of a promontory fort ramparts, just before the path dips down to Porth y Rhaw

  • Look over the precipitous cliffs to spot the remains of three tugs that went aground in 1986

  • Caer Bwdy, a little pebbly beach, comes next. The climb back up to the cliff top is the last of the day unless you want to visit Caerfai beach to cool off.

  • You know when you’ve reached Caerfai as it’s backed by several campsites and a car park. The south facing beach is hemmed in by steep cliffs and is usually a sun trap

  • Head inland along the lane from the car park to get to St Davids and Oriel y Parc

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

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Useful info

Refreshments: Pub at Nolton Haven. Cafe at either end of Newgale beach plus a pub. Plenty of choice in Solva.

Attractions en-route: Interesting shops and galleries in Solva.

Nearest Tourist Information Centre: St Davids, Oriel y Parc – Landscape Gallery

Tel: 01437 720392

E-mail: orielyparc@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk