Route: Stackpole Estate

Area: Wales, Pembrokeshire

Date of walk: 10th September 2019

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 5.8 miles

Ascent: 500 feet

Weather: Perfect

The Stackpole Estate has a long history. The earliest building here was a Norman Castle built by Elidur de Stackpole in the 11th century. The estate then passed down the generations by descent or marriage until it was broken up in 1970 and the coastal park given to the National Trust. The present 2,000 acre estate has a wonderful array of habitats, including a rugged stretch of coastline, beaches and coves, dunes, woodland and fields. In addition to all this there are the famous Bosherston Lily Ponds, a haven for wildlife. This makes it a perfect place for walking

A mediocre weather forecast proved to be completely inaccurate, and on a day of sun and blue skies we arrived early at the National Trust car park at Stackpole Quay. From here we joined the nearby Wales Coast Path, which we’d follow for much of the way. After an easy climb we were soon on the clifftops enjoying some spectacular views. After a short distance we descended to Barafundle Bay, regularly voted as one of Wales’ most beautiful beaches, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s an idyllic spot and we had the place to ourselves thanks to an early start, and the fact that the beach cannot be accessed save by a 15 minute walk

At the far end of the beach we climbed up onto the clifftops again. There are several informal paths that have sprung up nearer to the edge than the main one, and we followed these when we could, as they offered more extensive views. It was a superb section of the walk, enhanced by the lovely weather. Eventually we arrived at another pristine sandy beach, Broad Haven South, and this marked the point where we turned inland. Our path took us alongside the Lily Ponds, where we had some good wildlife sightings. We left the ponds by crossing over Eight Arch Bridge, and walked back to the start through rolling countryside. It had been a superb walk, one of the very best, and the only disappointment was having to end it

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