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Manorbier to Freshwater East, Pembrokeshire

A rugged cliff top walk with a castle and miles of golden sand in south west corner of Pembrokeshire

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Start and Finish

Manorbier Beach car park to Freshwater East

Distance

4 miles or 6 km

Along the way

Starting out from pretty Manorbier (‘the most pleasant spot in Wales’ according to medieval cleric and local lad Giraldus Cambrensis), you’ll see the 12th-century castle opposite the car park.

Open to visitors between April and October, its well-preserved towers and apartments are worth checking out if you have time.  Manorbier’s sandy beach is popular with families and surfers, but it also hides a secret.  At low tide you may spot a drowned forest of ancient trees protruding from the sand.  Preserved for millennia by salt water, they are remains of a woodland that was submerged by sea level rises between 3,000 and 10,000 years ago.

You can also see the Neolithic burial chamber, or cromlech, known as King’s Quoit, which stands on the cliffs on the beach’s eastern side.

For a closer look, follow the Wales Coast Path east for a few hundred metres before turning back west towards Freshwater.  Roughly midway on your journey you’ll pass secluded Swanlake Bay.  Only accessible by foot, this sandy beach sheltered by low cliffs is a tranquil picnic pit-stop.

Finally, it’s on to Freshwater East.  This wide sandy beach, a popular haunt of smugglers in the 18th and 19th centuries, is backed by rolling dunes that are now a Local Nature Reserve.

Walk Highlights

Theresa Nolan, Wales Coast Path Officer’s highlights 

"For me this is Pembrokeshire at its best! A castle, miles and miles of golden sands that can’t be beaten and on a clear day you’ll be able to see the North Devon coast. During the summer months the dunes at Freshwater East are a great place to spot glow worms at dusk".

Need to know

There are toilets and a car park at each end of the walk, plus cafés, pubs and shops in both Manorbier and Freshwater East. 

Bus number 349/359 runs from Skrinkle Estate, Manorbier to Lamphey, where you can pick up the Coastal Cruiser bus service to Freshwater East.

Check the Pembrokeshire website for bus routes and timetables on their website www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/bus-routes

You can also take the train between Lamphey train station (2.4km from Freshwater East) to Manorbier (3.2km from the village).  

Itinerary and Map

Download the Manorbier to Freshwater East itinerary (PDF) and a route map (JPEG)

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