How Hard is the Pembrokeshire Path Saundersfoot to Tenby?

with 24 Comments

“Oh, that’s a difficult one, don’t you know? It’s four miles with lots of hills.” That was the response we got when we told locals we were taking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path from Saundersfoot to Tenby. We had a bit of trepidation as we set out. But hey, we could always turn back or head inland and find a bus, right? Unless we happen to be looking for the Puffin Shuttle or Poppit Rocket. Two trips to Wales and the buses that cruise the Coast Path continue to elude us like a straight street in Pittsburgh.

No worries, off we went.

The tide was in so we couldn’t trek along the beach, so aimed for the overland trail. An immediate benefit to this route was the great view of Saundersfoot Harbor with multi-colored boats tethered in the placid water.

The Coast Path is defined by signs marked by the infamous upside down (to an American) acorn. There’s also a walking guy—ignore him if you intend to stay on the Coast Trail. He wants to lead you down the wrong garden path.

~I inquired to the National Trails as to why the acorn is their emblem. Their best guess was because the oak is one of their most important trees. I think they flipped the acorn upside down so people like me would ask questions.~

Pembrokeshire Path = Acorn Wales Coast Path = Blue sign
Pembrokeshire Path = Acorn Wales Coast Path = Blue sign

 

When you get to the top of the hill, you’ll be at St Bride’s Spa. Don’t forget to schedule an afternoon tea. It’s delicious, relaxing and the ocean view is a dinner show.

We got off to a rough start by choosing to take the well-traveled path (always a mistake?) at the first sign. This is one time that the most used trek was misleading and we wound up at an ugly area being logged. An older man happened to be sitting nearby in his truck, we told him where we were heading and he summed it up, “You’ve got a bit lost.”

His directions went something like this: “Go beyond the caravan park, turn left after the bench and you’ll come to where five trails meet.” Uh huh. Since he was on his phone, on hold, while giving these directions, we didn’t want to press for clarity, so we set off to find the acorn.

We only had to hop one fence to get to the path.

At “Allen’s View” we were befuddled again, which allowed us to visit with a couple we had been leap frogging with. Allen’s View is a circle, so take the loop and get a new view of the water. While you’re enjoying the sight of the surf someone is sure to wander by and set you on the proper course—sometimes it’s a young French woman pointing us on the final twenty minutes into Tenby.

 

The hike took over three hours and consisted of all those ascents and descents we’d been warned about. There were stairs and strange concrete forms embedded on some of the slopes. Jackie fell in love with the Kissing Gates (again) and now has one on her property. We chatted with a hiking group from Manchester and ate snacks on a shaded bench. The skies spent the day staying Montana-blue and the clouds did their best to puff on by without hiding the sun for long.

And throughout I kept asking, “When is this going to get hard?”

A hike, sure, but this is where we learned that the Welsh are conservative when it comes to telling us foreigners when a hike is hard or easy.

Don’t forget to stop and look at all the flowers along the way. They surprise you alongside the path and they burst out in bright colors in the middle of a field.

 

On the other side of four hilly miles, Caffi Pura beckoned us in for a bite to eat, lovely lattes, and conversation with a delightful proprietor. What a way to finish off a lovely hike.

 

 

Next: 7 Ways to be Okay Acting Like a Tourist

24 Responses

  1. Susan Cooper
    | Reply

    Hi Rose Mary

    That looks like lovely day and great hike. What a view and the flowers along the way are beautiful. Glad the hike wasn’t as strenuous as they had warned. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted..Radio Boca Tempranillo: #WineMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      I’d rather be over-warned than under-warned, Susan. Makes me feel like an overachiever. ha ha.

  2. Erica
    | Reply

    Such beautiful pictures. That sounded like quite an adventure. But for me, the beautiful views and the latte at the end would have made it all worth it! Oh, and I’m horrible at following directions once I’m lost. If that had been me, I’d probably still be trying to find my way out.
    Erica recently posted..Make Your Dieting Brain Happy Again!My Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      I promise there would be some kind soul to come along and point you in the right direction, Erica–right off to that latte and treat!

  3. Kristina Rylova
    | Reply

    Wow ,looks like you are having a great time, Rose! enjoy it and looking forward to new travel posts!

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Wish we were still there, Kristina. These posts all stem from 16 days traveling in Wales–with a couple in England. As you can tell, we made lots of memories in a short time.

  4. Bola
    | Reply

    How brave you are! What I really enjoyed while reading your post is your perseverance regardless of what the locals think. Wales is on my list of places to visit next year and would love to see Pembrokeshire and who knows? I might stop to enjoy a good cup of tea!

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Bola, we never think of ourselves as being brave, but I like the idea! I’ll be eager to hear about your Wales adventures. It is my favorite country to visit–even though I’ll stick with coffee. 🙂

  5. William Rusho
    | Reply

    Hiking, is on of my enjoyments now. I grew up working in the woods, and now living outside a city hiking is a way for me to stay connected to my past, and to keep my woodmans skills alive. There is something about being able to go back to nature, even for a few hours, that makes me calm.

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      You’re so right, William. Nature is always rejuvenating. Glad that you live some place where you can get out in it!

  6. Doreen Pendgracs
    | Reply

    Would love to have joined you on that hike, Rose. Humour, beautiful flowers, and some tasty treats along the way make for the perfect journey.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..ki’XOCOLATL Authentic Mexican ChocolateMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      And had you been there, Doreen, I know we’d have found chocolate in Tenby!

  7. Phoenicia
    | Reply

    Am I right in thinking you fell in love with Wales? Each time I look at your photographs and wonder why I have never visited.

    I love the outdoors and the photographs of the hills and pretty flowers look calming. I could do with some time out from my busy life.
    Phoenicia recently posted..It is all in the bag!My Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      You are completely right in that, Phoenicia! Both trips have left the hugest impression upon me/us.

      Yep–take a breather and go check out Wales. It’s so close!

  8. Sabrina Quairoli
    | Reply

    What a lovely hike! I haven’t hiked near water in a really long time but hopefully I will soon. I love all the flower images. Thank you for sharing.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted..Herb Chicken Thighs with Corn – Freezer MealMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      I, too, hope you get that hike along the water, Sabrina! It’s soul-refreshing.

  9. Marquita Herald
    | Reply

    Getting pretty fancy with the slide show RoseMary! Beautiful photos, as always, and just looking at that last one of the yummy food is making my stomach grumble. 🙂 One of the many things I’m looking forward to in my new home is being able to explore new places. Thanks for sharing and inspiring us with your travel adventures.
    Marquita Herald recently posted..The Power of Words: Writing for Transformation and GrowthMy Profile

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      I keep trying new ways to display the photos, Marquita. Food pictures do that to me, too. (Susan’s Blog!)
      I’m excited to hear about your new adventure and all the doors it opens for you. Change is good!

  10. Jacqueline Gum
    | Reply

    Sounds like a perfect way to spend the day! The pictures are breath-taking! Especially all the flowers. Happy for you that they underestimated the difficulty:)
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted..A Break For Where’s The JusticeMy Profile

  11. Jackie
    | Reply

    I love my “kissing” gate…it is the most practical brilliantly easy way to go through a gate! I also love the natural hedges in Wales!

    • Rose Mary Griffith
      | Reply

      Love the kissing gates! And I keep walking our lot, summing it up: Could I lay a Welsh Hedge there? Or there? Drat, not so much.

  12. Ken Dowell
    | Reply

    I’ve always thought it more likely that locals would understimate the difficulty of a nearby trail rather than overestimate. Sounds like a beautiful hike with a touch of the adventure that comes with feeling lost.
    Ken Dowell recently posted..American Pioneers of Amusement, Part 2: The Fearless Frogman, a Collector of Human Oddities and a Roller Coaster EngineerMy Profile

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