195 Pembroke to Milford Haven

Pembroke Castle looks splendid above the water of Pembroke River and seems in good condition for an old castle. When I mention this to a man walking with his dog, he tells me the castle was extensively rebuilt after being pummelled by Cromwell.

01 Pembroke Castle and Monkton, Ruth Livingstone hiking in Wales

Ahead of me I see a couple of women walkers with large backpacks. I recognise them as the hikers who were following me yesterday. They have Irish accents. I try to keep pace with them, but they walk faster than I do.

I was anticipating an urban walk from here to Pembroke Dock. But the path turns out to be very rural in nature. I walk across fields, with Pembroke River bright below me…

02 lovely walk to Pembroke Dock, Ruth walking in Wales

… and through woodland, where some sections are very muddy, due to cows using the path for shade…

03 muddy path, Ruth on Pembrokeshire Coast Path

… and come out in the Pennar area of Pembroke Dock. The official Coast Path runs through Sykemoor, and joins the road further inland. But I decide to stick to my ‘as close to the coast as I can’ rule, and follow another public footpath into the housing estate.

04 Pennar, Pembroke Dock, Ruth walking in Wales

I join the Military Road, heading out towards Pennar Point. It follows a ridge and, although the road is boringly straight, the views are wonderful. To my right is a golf course and the blue waters of Milford Haven. Over there, in a place called Hazelbeach, I am planning to meet my husband for lunch.

05 South Pembrokeshire Golf Club and Neyland, Ruth Livingstone

At Pennar Point I was expecting a holiday camp. But Pennar Park turns out to be a new housing estate. The waterfront situation is attractive, but you would have to enjoy industrial views, since the most striking features of the landscape are my old friends – the power station and oil refinery – sitting just across the mouth of Pembroke River.

06 Oil Refinery across Pennar Mouth, Ruth in Pembroke Dock

From the end of the Military Road, I was hoping to follow a public footpath into Pembroke Dock, but it turns out to be horribly overgrown. So I follow alternative paths that wind in and out of bushes, and take me doubling back through the golf course.

07 over golf course, Neyland, Ruth hiking in Pembroke Dock

Unusually, I don’t see a single ‘Beware of golf balls’ sign – and don’t realise I am walking along the edge of a green, until I hear a ‘thunk’ sound and a ball lands a few yards away! It’s the closest encounter with a golf ball I’ve ever had.

Beyond the golf course there’s a short distance of road walking until I arrive at the waterfront of Pembroke Dock. This old structure is called the Gun Tower, but is marked on my map as a Martello Tower. It’s a long time since I’ve seen one. (There is another one nearby, but my route has bypassed it.)

08 Martello Tower, Pembroke Dock, Ruth walking in Pembrokeshire

I follow the road around, past a park area, and past a wonderful patch of verge which has been deliberately planted with wild flowers. They’re beautiful.

09 wild flower garden, Pembroke Dock, Ruth Livingstone

After a steep climb up a hill, I arrive at the imposing structure of Cleddau Bridge. This is my route across to Milford Haven.

10 Cleddau Toll Bridge, Ruth walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Last night, my husband and I drove down a side road to a pub called the Ferry Inn which nestles just under the bridge and close to the water. We had a meal to celebrate our wedding anniversary. 35 years.

This morning I’m sticking to the high ground and walking over the bridge. Cars are queuing up to pay at the toll booths. But walking is free! The views are wonderful. I look across Pembroke Dock and recognise the 5 towers of the power station and the taller chimneys of the oil refinery.

11 view up Milford Haven from Cleddau Bridge, Ruth Livingstone

Half way along the bridge I meet a cyclist. He seems to be carrying his backpack the wrong way round, so that it dangles in front of him like a pouch. Only a weird man would do this. The weird man happens to be my husband.

12 hubby cycling across Cleddau Bridge, Pembrokeshire

He’s been for a bike ride to Milford Haven and beyond. This afternoon he must return to Lincolnshire, but before he leaves he’s going to deliver my case (by car) to my next B&B. We confirm where we will meet for lunch. Like the pub last night, the lunchtime pub is also called The Ferry Inn, or the Ferry House Inn, but it’s on the opposite side of the water.

There are actually two bridges I need to cross, the second one takes me over a river called Westfield Pill and is much less impressive than the first. Below is an extensive marina.

13 marina, Ruth walking across bridges, Pembrokeshire

At the end of the second bridge, the coast path doubles back and dives down into a wooded section just below the bridge. The turning is easy to miss. The walk through the woods makes a welcome change from road walking, but I’m soon back on tarmac again. This is Neyland.

14 Neyland, Ruth Livingstone walking Pembrokeshire Coast Path

I walk through an area of parkland, where I stop for a drink and a rest. It’s another beautiful, sunny day – and I’m hot and tired. And hungry! But I resist having a snack because I’m only a couple of miles away from the pub.

There’s a good view back to the Cleddau Bridge. It’s not exactly elegant. Functional.

15 view back to Cleddau Bridge from Neyland, Ruth in Pembrokeshire

I head down to the waterfront and follow the road. The houses are strung out along the shore, pastel coloured and pretty.

16 Llanstadwell, Ruth walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

My husband has already arrived at the pub, but walks back along the narrow road to meet me. The pub is in a lovely situation, with a great view up the estuary, and no sign of the industry that surrounds us.

17 Ferry Inn, Hazelbeach, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path, Pembrokeshire

After lunch, my husband leaves for his long drive home. I wait for a while, because I’m still feeling tired and there is no need to rush. I’ve only got 3 more miles to go.

The path takes me around the edge of the oil refinery. I enjoy the views over the water, and watch this large ferry setting off. There are regular sailings between here and Ireland, and this explains why I’ve heard a lot of Irish accents in Pembroke.

18 Irish Ferry, Ruth Livingstone, Pembroke Dock

There is little evidence that I’m walking alongside an oil refinery. The path takes me through woodland.

19 woodland walking towards Milford Haven

And only occasionally do I catch a glimpse of manmade structures.

 Wind Turbines, Milford Haven, Ruth Livingstone

orange bridges, Ruth hiking in Milford HavenAbove are the blades of wind turbines. I’ve never passed so close to a turbine before and I know that people who protest against them get angry about the noise. So I listen out, but it’s not too bad. Just a regular whumping noise. Quite soothing really.

And every so often I have to cross over a battery of pipes, via metal bridges. The open grill work beneath my boots is a little unnerving.

I guess the high fences on either side are there for safety reasons, but they do spoil the view.

21 restricted views of the liquified natural gas storage facility, Milford Haven

One of the joys of coastal walking is, in my opinion, being able to look across the water at landmarks that are familiar from previous walks. So I enjoy seeing the 5 towers of the power station.

22 power station, Ruth hiking in Wales

After a couple of miles along the shore, the path turns inland, through fields. I feel refreshed after my extended lunch break and make easy progress. It’s gone 6pm, but the sun is still warm and I very much enjoy this section of the walk.

23 Pembrokeshire Coast Path, towards Milford Haven, Ruth hiking in Wales

I follow quiet lanes and cross over another estuary. This is Castle Pill. The pastel houses overlooking the mud are newly built and have fierce warning signs to deter intruders. Shame. Not exactly a friendly-feeling place.

24 Castle Pill, Ruth walking to Milford Haven, Wales

I go down to the shore, where a slippery footpath looks inviting. But I’m not sure if it’s a dead-end, so I turn back to follow the official route, which take me along quiet roads and lanes. The sun is low and I walk in shadow, unable to take photographs.

After climbing a steep hill, I realise I’m in Milford Haven. There is an extensive green area, sloping down to the water, with paths and benches. It’s very pretty. I was expecting a busy industrial town, so I’m surprised.

25 view from Milford Haven, Ruth hiking in Wales

I’m tempted by an ice cream van, but I’m still feeling full from lunch. There’s a bandstand and a few pieces of sculpture, including this tribute to fishermen.

26 bandstand and fisherman statue, Ruth in Milford Haven

Then the road goes down and I reach the marina. It’s a proper working dock with fishing boats as well as yachts.

Marina, Milford Haven, Ruth Livingstone in Pembrokeshire

It takes me some time to find my B&B – The Heart of Oak – which is hidden down a side road. Once upon a time it would have faced the water, but now a cluster of rather ugly metal warehouses spoil the view. Still, it’s a nice place and very cheap. The bar has resisted modernisation – except for a large screen TV and a pool table. My luggage is waiting for me.

Miles walked today = 16 miles.
Total along Wales Coast Path = 379 miles
Total distance around the coast: 1,986 miles


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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12 Responses to 195 Pembroke to Milford Haven

  1. A varied and interesting section which you describe well bringing back memories for me. I envy you having the assistance of your husband. Congratulations on your 35th. I lost my wife to MND (Boxing Day 1997). This year would have been our 45th!

    I was fascinated with Milford Haven.

    “I crossed strange metal bridges running over series of huge pipes running in elegant lines leading from tankers moored at jetties. The pipes lead up to huge cylindrical storage tanks on high. As a failed plumber, I have respect for anybody who can tidily control the direction of pipes. There is a symmetry to all this which I appreciate, but others may not.”

    • Very sorry you lost your wife to such a horrible disease. I consider myself very fortunate to still have my partner and both of us in good health.

      I find your journal entries very interesting. I did enjoy the pipes too, and wished I’d had better views of the industrial structures, but the summer foliage acted as pretty efficient screens and I only got glimpses.

  2. You may have walked the next section by the time you read this but…my journal says I used some stepping stones to short cut to Dale when the tide was favourable. I can’t remember the details now, but you may want to look out for them – locals will know.

  3. Helena says:

    Congratulations on your 35th wedding anniversary! Perhaps solitary walking and meeting for lunch at waterside inns is the secret of a happy marriage?!
    The bridge of course is famous in the structural engineering world, but not for very happy reasons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleddau_Bridge

  4. Marie Keates says:

    I liked the pretty houses in Neyland and the lovely wildflower area. What a shame about that metal fence. I’ve come across a lot of those spoiling views but I find if I put my phone right up to them I can usually take an unobstructed photo.

    • The wildflowers were stunning. It was only a small patch, but very pretty. I should have tried harder to take decent views through the metal fencing of those bridges, but was feeling shaky and somewhat nervous because I could see right though the metal mesh floor!

  5. Ann Howlett says:

    I was expecting your walk between Pembroke Dock and Milford Haven to be much more industrial. Instead it was very varied and interesting.
    I also have problems with open grill bridges. It’s certainly not a fear of heights as I am quite happy looking down from very high buildings and over cliffs. Glass floors are the worst for me, I have to look ahead and not down to get across.
    Jumping ahead I’m pleased you are enjoying Dumfries. I remember being in Galloway, looking South and thinking I was imagining a mountain in the Irish Sea then I realised it was the Isle of Man

    • Hi Ann, yes, in a funny way I was disappointed because I quite like industrial scenery, but saw remarkably little in Milford Haven, despite its reputation. I’m still in Dumphries at the moment, and loving it.

  6. Karen White says:

    This was your ‘very nearly 2,000 miles’ milestone!

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