The wild and exposed headlands of the Dale and Marloes peninsulas afford superb walking and glorious views for relatively little effort, as this is one of the less strenuous sections of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
The walk between the two is one of contrasts, starting in the gentle, pastoral and relatively sheltered Milford Haven waterway and finishing near the most westerly point of the Marloes Peninsula, which overlooks the turbulent tide race of Jack Sound and Skomer Island. There are fine views of the rugged islands of Skomer, Skokholm and Grassholm all along the wind-battered Atlantic coast.
1. From the village
Dale is a small village overlooking a sheltered bay, popular with water sports enthusiasts. The whole route of this walk is along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which makes for very easy navigation – just keep the sea on your left and follow the acorn symbols.
From the village, head along the lane to the Dale Fort field study centre and continue on a footpath as it winds its way in and out of various coves towards St Ann’s Head Lighthouse. Mill Bay is notable for being the landing point of Henry Tudor and his army in 1485, after 14 years in exile. Following the subsequent Battle of Bosworth he became Henry VII, the first king of the Tudor dynasty.
2. Lost lighthouse
St Ann’s lighthouse, now a set of holiday homes, marks the northern lip of the Milford Haven harbour. Head north along the fairly level cliff-top until you drop down to pretty Westdale Bay, then skirt an old disused airfield to arrive high above the magnificent sweep of Marloes Sands.
3. Island view
There are excellent views of the islands of Gateholm, Grassholm and Skomer from the cliffs here. You can walk along the beach at low tide, but if you’re in doubt stay on the cliff-top path. This part of the coast is a marine nature reserve and is an excellent place to spot seabirds. From the tip of the Marloes Peninsula the great sweep of St Bride’s Bay reveals itself.
4. See seabirds
At Martin’s Haven there is a National Trust visitor centre with information about the wildlife of the area and you can take a boat trip to the islands from here. Skomer, the largest of the three, is a National Nature Reserve, with the widest variety of bird species. More than 500,000 seabirds such as puffins, kittiwakes and manx shearwaters nest here during spring.
If it’s gannets you want to see, head for Grassholm, home to Britain’s only gannetry and 30,000 pairs of the birds in the summer breeding season.
Once you’ve explored, catch a bus back to the start of the trail.
Fairly easy walking along the well-marked and maintained cliff-top route of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (follow the National Trail acorn symbols).
HOW TO GET THERE
BY CAR: Follow the M4 to its western end and continue along the A48, then the A40 to Haverfordwest. From there take the B4327 to Dale. The main car park is on the right and the Puffin Shuttle bus runs from Martin’s Haven back to Dale at end of walk.
Dale SA62 3RB
Explorer Map OL36 and Landranger 157.
Grid ref: SM 812 058
Discover more great walks in the British countryside here.
Main image ©Getty
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