In 2019 we walked the Pembrokeshire Coast Path from Amroth to St. Dogmaels. Our third walking day was from Manorbier to Bosherston. Read all about my experiences on this stretch of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and practical tips on how to arrange your walking day in Wales.
Manorbier to Bosherston – Pembrokeshire Coast Path day 3
Three days into our walking holiday in Wales, we still had a long way to go but overcame our rookie mistakes from the first days. But I never walked three days in a row before, so I was a bit nervous to set out.
About my hike
My name is Naomi, I live in the Netherlands and I’m in my 30’s and I have Crohn’s disease. I’m also overweight and struggle with IBS too. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path was a huge challenge for me. We don’t have any hills in the Netherlands, so walking up and down-hill is not something I can practice. When I call something hard or tough, this might be way easier on you so don’t let me discourage you from hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
I was not paid or sponsored to write about my experiences. I paid for everything for my boyfriend and myself out of my own pocket. This post does contain affiliate links to products and services I used and can recommend. If you decide to follow one of my links and purchase something, I’ll earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you.
Quick Facts and Data for walking from Manorbier to Bosherston
- Date: Tuesday 28th May
- Start time: 10.00 am
- Finish time: 6.00 pm
- Distance walked: 18 km (29 miles)
- Elevation gain: 265m elevation gain and 254m down-hill
- Best resource: I highly recommend the Pembrokeshire Coast Path book by Manthorpe and McCrohan
Pembrokeshire Coast Path Day 3: Manorbier to Bosherston
Curious what the path looks like and my experiences walking from Manorbier to Bosherston? Check out this short video of our 3rd day of walking to Bosherston from Manorbier.
Getting to Manorbier
From Tenby, we headed out to the bus station and waited for the 349 bus to Manorbier. We were in Manorbier the day before as well but because the bus didn’t run, we had to take a train. Luckily, the bus to Manorbier dropped us off right at the castle.
As we visited the castle the day before, we went straight to Manorbier beach to pick up the trail again.
Manorbier to Freshwater East and Trewent
It promised to be a warm and sunny day, but we started with an overcast morning. We climbed high above Manorbier Beach and the clouds looked intimidation. But as we slowly crept along the coastal path, going up and down, winding out and back inwards, we started to work up quite a sweat.
Although this part of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path isn’t that high, it did feel like a rollercoaster, up and down and up again. But I felt great!
My boyfriend and I switched positions, so I was walking ahead as he carried a heavy pack with our luggage. Not to say I was out of breath and sweating and struggling here and there, but with each stride, I felt as if I was getting stronger. I felt on top of the world!
Looking back on two weeks of hiking in Wales, this day and particularly this stretch of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path was my one of my favorites. I felt strong and the path was challenging but not too much so I could enjoy myself.
And the landscape was stunning. Red rocks crumbling down in the fierce ocean beneath us. Small grassy paths, winding their way up and down with sweeping views to the next inlet, beach and dramatic rock formation. As the sun came out, I thought to myself: isn’t this lovely!
We saw Swanlake beach in the distance and climbed high above it, before dropping back down again. We wondered what gave it that name and couldn’t come up with a good explanation. Do you know why Swanlake beach is called that way?
Trewent Longhouse lunch break
After a good two hours of solid walking without any real breaks, I started to feel it. At Freshwater East, we reached the beach and started to long for a much-needed toilet break and refill our water bottles. We found The Longhouse at Trewent park to be the perfect spot for lunch.
Airing out our socks and giving our feet some fresh air, we really took our time, devouring our sandwiches and coke. Awhhh sugary bliss!
On the next stretch, the path continued to bring us to great heights and then wind its way back to the water level. We started to notice more and more people on the trail and we found a route leading to one of the best beaches in Pembrokeshire. Barafundle beach is a lovely patch of golden sand, a bit secluded from the ocean’s winds and a great place for a day at the beach. The place was absolutely packed and we crossed the beach and the soft sands as somewhat of a rare attraction.
The part from the Boathouse Tea Room until Stackpole beach was quite busy. Car parks on each end, it makes for an accessible beach day (although you have to walk a bit) and numerous path and information board guide visitors in the right direction. We learned a bit about the different types of stone, sandstone on one end of the path, limestone on the other. Some of the crushed rocks looked very impressive.
Sea Stack at Stackpole National Reserve
After Barafundle Beach, the path climbed into a woodland area and as we came out, we found another popular route. From here on, it was mainly flat and we walked on top of the headland. You could see as far as Stackpole and people walked back and forth for their day on the beach.
We continued along the path and dared to look over the edge a few times. What we saw was dangerously impressive. As the ground crumbled to the sea below us, in front of us, a massive stone pinnacle arose from the sea’s foam.
We had to take a picture of this fierce Sea Stack so we did. Find more information about the area on the Stackpole National Trust website.
By now, we had been walking for over 6 hours. We took a few breaks but I was starting to feel my legs. I was hungry and I sitting still made a cold. I put on an extra layer of clothes and we continued over the windswept plains to Broadhaven Beach (not to be mistaken for the lovely Broad Haven where we stayed later on).
People were just packing up for the day, but the beach looked very inviting. The beach continues inland and it looked well maintained. We knew the MOD firing range was closed, so we had to take the back route to Bosherston. We walked through the sandy dunes of Broadhaven Beach and found a path around the Lily Ponds.
Lily Ponds near Bosherston
After all that wind and harsh rock surface, it was a welcoming change of scenery to find ourselves walking through woodlands again, surrounded by massive water ponds. We crossed a few bridges and finally found a pond that was filled with lilies! Some were even blooming but we were not in the right season, that was for sure.
Although it was the right time of day, we didn’t see any otters, but it was still a lovely sight.
By now, I was sooo hungry. 6 pm and I justed wanted to be done with this day. Finally, we found a path directing us to the carpark of the Lily Ponds at Bosherston and before we knew it, we were in the village. After a picture of the church, I turned around and was relieved to see our pub and guesthouse for tonight: St. Govan’s Country Inn.
I was so happy to change into my flip flops and get some food!
Saint Govan’s Head and St. Govan’s Chapel
One of the main attractions and must-sees on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is Saint Govan’s Head. Out on the headland, it offers amazing views of where you’ve been and where you’re going next.
St. Govan’s Chapel is a small secluded stone chapel, hidden between the rocks. It is a steep climb down via stairs, be careful going down and up.
Unfortunately, this part of the path was closed when we visited, so I cannot tell from my own experience but it is one of the best parts of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, so I’m really sorry we’ve missed. I think this is the perfect excuse to head back again someday.
Castlemartin MOD Firing range and closure
At Broadhaven beach, coming from Manorbier, you can already see a flag flying or not. Mostly on weekdays, the MOD firing range is in operation. Being one of NATO’s biggest practice ranges, they can practice all day. Check the schedule to see if it opens at 5 pm or only after 11 pm.
I wasn’t sure about what the schedule meant, so I send them an email. Within 2 days, they replied with unfortunately bad news for us. If they operate from 9 am, the path is closed from 7 am onwards.
On weekends and public holidays, as well as the months of July and August, the range is usually open.
At St. Govan’s Church there is also an entry point, so check if you can walk the whole path or have to cut inland to Bosherston.
Walking from Manorbier to Bosherston
Overall, looking back, it was quite an interesting walk. From Manorbier to Bosherston, the path offers you a typical Pembrokeshire Coastal Path experience with going up and down and the small path, opening up again over the headland and dropping into some woodland area too.
From the red sandstone cliffs to the crumbling limestone rocks, you really see a change of scenery in the middle of the route. It also holds some of the best beaches of Pembrokeshire, so it also makes for a great day out or a section walk.
Short walks between Bosherston and Manorbier
If you don’t feel like hiking the whole stretch or the entire Pembrokeshire Coast Path, I offer some tips on short day walks you can do and still see the most amazing scenery.
- Manorbier to Freshwater East: These 4 miles are not a long walk, but they are intense. Up and down, out and back in again. Crumbing rock formations, secluded sandy beaches, small paths winding their way around the coastline. It was a beautiful stretch. The bus 349 connects Manorbier Bay and the 388/387 go to Freshwater East. Take the bus to Lamphey to connect between them or take the train back to Pembroke.
- From The Boathouse Tea Room in Stackpole to Broadhaven Beach or the Bosherston Lily ponds also makes for a beautiful shorter day walk. Mostly flat but with intense views, you can easily park at either end and take bus 387 or 388. They don’t run that often, so make sure to check the schedule.
Tips for walking from Manorbier to Bosherston
Each stretch of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is different so I try to provide you with practical tips for walking this part.
- Between Manorbier and Bosherston several busses connect part of the path. Unfortunately, they don’t really connect well with each other so make sure to research the schedule for bus 349 and 387 and 388.
- Eat enough and bring enough water. From Manorbier to Freshwater East you’ll not find any facilities for food or drinks until you arrive at Freshwater East beach. There are toilets and a water tap there.
- From Freshwater East, there are several lunch options or time for a snack. We had lunch at The Longhouse in Freshwater East/ Trewent. Another option is the Boathouse Tea Room from Stackpole. Or last minute snacks at the Slow Pig Food Van past Broadhaven Beach.
- I made good use of my Life Straw Drink bottle. As my water bladder was empty at some point and I couldn’t easily refill it.
- On this stretch, I said several times: OMG, I’m so happy with my walking sticks! I can’t imagine having done this without trekking poles. Especially the first part, from Manorbier to Freshwater East, they were a lifesaver! I have the Black Diamond trekking poles with adjustable height which are super easy to bring with you on holiday. If you prefer the same trekking poles as me, but with cork handles, then check the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Poles here. You can easily store them away from the second stretch, which is mostly flat. My boyfriend uses the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z trekking poles which are 1 size but can be folded and are ultra-lightweight.
- Take breaks to enjoy the view and to air your feet. A good stop would be Freshwater East beach and the other previously mentioned facilities. We took a half hour break at Greenala Point, which was beautiful. Barafundle Beach is also a good place to rest your feet. Take good care of them by changing your socks often, air them out and if necessary, take care of any blisters with Compeed Blister Cushions. I never go walking without it.
Where to stay in Bosherston?
Once you leave Manorbier, good facilities to stay overnight are hard to come by. I’d certainly recommend booking ahead on this stretch.
St. Govan’s Country Inn
One of the very few places to stay in Bosherston and this part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, I happily booked our stay months in advance. And it was a good thing. The pub and the Inn were fully booked! As we arrived at the Inn, we checked in and luckily, the lovely girl’s could secure us a table.
On the trail, we talked with some people walking from Bosherston to Manorbier, and they recommended us the cawl at St. Govan’s Country Inn. Who am I to turn down a good traveler’s tip? Obviously, we had the cawl as a started that evening and it was heavenly divine. Thick, comforting stew-soup with pieces of lamb in it and a hearty potato flavor. I devoured it like I haven’t eaten all week. If you don’t stay in Bosherston, at least visit the town and stop at the Inn for their cawl or one of many other specialties.
Other options for staying overnight
As mentioned before, accommodations for 1 night in this part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path are sparse. Another option that offers 1-night stays is the East Trewent Farm. They offer farm converted B&B style accommodation in Trewent, so perfectly suitable for people who have a different day-to-day walk. Book your stay here.
More Pembrokeshire Coast Path
This blog is part of my Pembrokeshire Coast Path series. I will write about my experiences hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. This was our third day of walking. Feel free to check out the other stretches below:
Are you planning to walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path? Have you been to Bosherston? Was the firing range open or not? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.
In case you have any questions about walking from Manorbier to Bosherston, let me know!