Caldicot to Chepstow
Huge bridges and small villages with big histories.
A glorious, wild and rugged walk starting from a historic castle and passing an ancient abbey
Start in Cardigan town centre and finish in Moylegrove.
10 miles / 16 kilometres
This first part of this walk is a lowland urban section but after a few miles it reaches one of the most glorious, wild, rugged and remote sections of the entire Wales Coast Path.
The clifftop views of twisted contorted rock formations, caves and other impressive geological features are as impressive as any you will find.
Beautiful wild-flowers carpet parts of the route in spring and summer, and peregrine falcons can be seen at eye-level, hunting for prey above some of the massive cliffs.
But we start the day in the bustling market town of Cardigan with its maritime legacy, flourishing High Street, and the Guildhall and Market Hall - Britain’s first civic building in the Modern Gothic style.
It’s here too that we find Cardigan Castle and Gardens - one of the most important castles in Wales. This was the first stone castle built by the Welsh and its cultural significance is huge as the venue of the first ever eisteddfod, in 1176.
From here we cross the Teifi and in a mile or so reach the quiet village of St Dogmaels and its Abbey. There are plenty of helpful information boards here to help us get our bearings within the Abbey and to help develop a picture of what life was like for the monks who lived here centuries ago.
When we have finished exploring the Abbey itself, it’s well worth a visit to the nearby Coach House, a small gallery and a museum with an exhibition of carved stones and artefacts from the abbey. There is also a café staffed by some very welcoming and helpful people, and a weekly market of local produce. Just over the duckpond from the abbey is Y Felin, a working flour mill. And they’ve been pulling pints at the White Hart since 1796 - it’s now a community enterprise.
Heading on through the village and along some scenic riverside sections for another couple of miles we reach Poppit Sands. There is a nice café (Crwst) here – the last chance for refreshments on this route - and the toilets are the last ones before Moylegrove.
This point marks the start, or the end, of the 186 mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Described by Lonely Planet as “one of the best long-distance trails in the world,” it really does live up to its billing, as you are about to find out.
Leaving the busier estuary behind, it’s now a steady, peaceful, climb for the next two miles along some country lanes then a path until we emerge at Cemaes Head Nature Reserve, home to rare plants, grasses and a wide range of birds.
We keep going upward past Cemaes Head until we reach the highest point on the Pembrokeshire coast at 175 metres. And yes, the views from such a vantage point are every bit as spectacular as we would expect.
What’s even more amazing is that this dramatic section of the path sees very few walkers and we will have the place to ourselves most of the time.
All along this coast, grey seals use the inaccessible beaches to rest during the winter and to give birth in the late summer and early autumn, and schools of dolphins and porpoises can often be spotted offshore.
Once we’re around Pen yr Afr, and walking on the cliff-tops by Pwllygranant, make sure to turn around to take in the scene behind. The rock formations here have to be seen to be believed. Formed by alternating layers of sandstone and mudstone around 440 million years ago, they were compressed and forced upwards 50 million years later, when continents collided.
From here it’s a mile-and-a-half or so of beautiful clifftop walking, including a few steep drops in and out of some narrow valleys, with stunning views south towards Dinas Head and the lighthouse at Strumble Head in the distance.
Dropping down for the last time on this walk into Ceibwr Bay, one of many sections on this coastline owned by the National Trust, we cross the stone footbridge and turn inland as we leave the Wales Coast Path to return to Moylegrove.
We can do this by following the lane away from the beach, or a nicer route is by crossing the river again and following the footpath through the riverside woods up Cwm Trewyddel (the Welsh name for Moylegrove) for a mile or so before emerging on the road to Moylegrove.
Theresa Nolan, Wales Coast Path Officer, said: “What a contrasting walk this is. The first section, although urban, is very pleasant with lots of history. The second part has some of the most spectacular coastal walking in Wales. High cliffs, amazing rock formations, some great wildlife and views which are second to none make this one of my top walks anywhere on the Wales Coast Path. And because very few people walk the second part of this route you can usually savour its amazing scenery in complete solitude.”
Public transport options are very limited for this walk, particularly during winter, with the Poppit Rocket coastal bus service being the only service. To prevent a potentially lengthy wait for a bus we recommend taking a car to the start at Moylgrove, catching a bus back to Cardigan and walking back to your car.Be sure to check timetables in advance or use two cars.
There are toilets at Cardigan, St Dogmaels, Poppit Sands and Moylegrove. Plenty of food and drink options at Cardigan and a few eateries at St Dogmaels, Crwst cafe at Poppit Sands and there is a cafe at Penrallt Garden Centre, just outside Moylegrove.
Download the Cardigan to Moylegrove map (JPEG,2.34MB)