Start – Car park with public toilets at Porthclais, 11⁄4 miles south-west of St David’s, grid reference 740242. From St. Bride’s drive to St. David’s, bear left from the village centre and follow the ‘Porthclais’ signs.
The coast in the St. David’s area is really varied with numerous rocky coves and sea cliffs covered in gorse and swathes of wild flowers. The entire windswept landscape is overlaid with a great sense of history with ancient rock such as Carn Lliddi.
Bronze and Iron Age men once roamed on this land as did saints in early Christian times; St David was reputedly born close to the village which carries his name. The well dedicated to his mother, St. Non, is on the walk as described. In the years that followed, generations of farmers and fishermen came and set up, constructing and working in the harbours or burning the limestone in the kilns which still remain to this day.
The ancient bankings which border the fields are made from this limestone.
St David’s itself is little more than a big village, but it does have an impressive cathedral. It’s an important centre for north Pembrokeshire, with shops, inns, cafes and the ruins of the former Bishop’s Palace to explore.
The short walk set out below is a good introduction to the area, including a fine section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path linking the bays of Porthclais and St. Non’s, with footpath connections to and from St. David’s.
Apart from a short rough path at the outset, the walking is a very easy one as it has no stiles and only gentle uphill slopes.
1. Turn right to follow the ‘coast path’ sign, and head uphill to your left. It’s quite steeo and there are some rough steps and rocky dround underfoot. The track soon levels however, and offers a spectacular view of the great sea cliffs. Particularly impressive is the wild bay of Porth Ffynnon.
2. At a junction before the path descends to St. Non’s Bay, turn left through the gate, across the field via the track to reach St. Non’s Chapel ruins ( allegedly the birthplace of St. David). Continue through another gate to St. Non’s Well and continue past a retreat centre. You can visit the more modern (1934) St. Non’s Chapel by taking a short detour to the left. Carry on along the path, where you will soon rejoin the coastal path.
3. At the ‘ST David’s 1⁄2 mile’ sign, turn left and head back inland on the path between the fences and old field boundaries.
4. At the ‘T’ junction at the edge of the built-up area, turn right. In 50m, turn left at the signposted junction (there’s a seat here if you feel the need!) ,and head to the centre of St. David’s. At the ‘T’ junction turn left, and head slightly downhill. In approx 100m, turn right and you’ll find yourself opposite the Tabernacle. This is the centre of St. David’s,where shops, restaurants etc are to be found.
5. The return journey is a nice walk back past the Tabernacle turning left into Mitre Lane,and right in about 40m. Follow this road for a short distance to the start of a bridleway and a long terrace of bungalows on the left. Turn right, cross the road to St. Non’s, and continue straight ahead.
6. At the ‘N.T. Bryn Y Garn’ sign, keep right, and head down a narrow path with a hedge /bank on the right. There are waymarked gates and there’s a static caravan site next to Porthclais Farm. Follow the footpath through the farm and keep close to the field boundary on the right to the gate. Cross the next field on the faintly marked path and pass the waymark. At the cross-path, go straight ahead and head down the valley. The path is quite good and there’s a few steps to help you on your way. Join the road, turning left across the stream to return to the car park.
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