Manorbier to Tenby
another Greenlives Walk -

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Stage 3 MANORBIER to TENBY (14th October 2014)

This walk is a stunning section of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, taking in a historic village with Norman castle, pretty bays, stunning cliff scenery, off-shore islands and the possible stimulus of aerial warfare training overhead. You can get to the little village of Manorbier by bus from Tenby or Pembroke. The village also boasts a train station which is around 1km north of the village itself, on the railway route from Tenby to Pembroke Dock.

If you arrive by bus, the stop is close to the centre of the village so walk ahead down the continuation of the bus route road, following the small stream valley. On the left is a small Norman church with a square tower castellated on top. But the view is shortly dominated on the other side of the road by Manorbier Castle (large, well preserved and also Norman). Pass through a small car park to exit on the path close to the headland on the left side of the valley to reach a sandy beach and beautiful bay. The Coast Path follows the top edge of the beach, with a short steep stretch up to the top of low cliffs. Look out for a small notice which warns you about military activity in the area.

From here on this is classic cliff walking. Within a hundred metres or so a neolithic chambered tomb, known as the King’s Quoit, sits right next to the path, its flat capstone supported on three smaller stones. This must have been positioned for the superb views across the bay, over many headlands and off-shore islands. The low cliffs are formed from rock strata which have been turned vertical and then differential erosion has given rise to slot-like cave entrances, and even huge fissures in the ground (watch your step).

The small notice was prescient: we were surprised by a sudden explosion and loud whooshing noise followed by a dull thud some tens of seconds later. It appears that the small plane we had heard overhead was a target-towing drone at which missiles were being fired. Finally the drone started to descend through the clouds, stopped its engine just above the range and, hanging from a bright orange parachute, dropped down to the headland.

The coast path follows the low cliff until at the back of a small bay it heads inland to go behind the small RAF base which is the source of the missile activity. The track follows closely beside the fence then reaches a small road turning right then shortly left before branching off the road towards the cliffs. The cove of Skrinkle Haven is at the bottom of a flight of steep steps. There are two natural arches, the ‘Church Doors’, leading through a narrow promontory to another small cove. Continuing to Lydstep Point we turned inland to the village where there was a pub which was closed until the evening but we found a welcoming restaurant in the Celtic Haven holiday cottage resort.

From Celtic Haven we found a short cut down onto the beach at Lydstep Haven before climbing back onto the cliffs at Proud Giltar. No rifle range warning flags were flying so we were able to walk around Giltar Point with excellent views of Caldey Island, still a monastic retreat, and its neighbour tidal island St. Margarets. There are sea stacks, caves and ruins. We watched gannet, black wing tips stretched then folded to plunge into the sea. Even though it was October red and bladder campion, heather and gorse, and tiny cream dog roses were in flower. Turning inland from Giltar Point the path passes some disused quarries then descends to the beach at Penally. We walked back along the wide sand stretch of the Burrows to Tenby where we were staying.

Total distance walked 15.0km (9.4 miles) Ascent 430m Time 5.0 hours.

The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path is one of the official UK National Trails, running from Amroth to St. Dogmaels, along clifftops, beaches and estuaries. The total length is 300 kilometres (185 miles).

You can download this route to your GPS or mobile phone by clicking on the 'View route..' link on the map below (provided you have registered (free) with ViewRanger

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Manorbier church

King's Quoit Tomb

Crinkle Haven

Lydstep Point

Giltar Point