Upstream from the busy port of Milford Haven lies a world of drowned wooded valleys with a wide expanse of salt marshes and mudflats. This scenic circular walk takes you through the steep-sided ancient oak woodland of Lawrenny, overlooking the main Daugleddau River and along the tidal creeks of Garron Pill and the Cresswell River. This is a great walk to do in any season.
- Bus stop
Start: Lawrenny Quay, grid ref: SN015065
From Lawrenny Quay turn left, passing the Quayside tea-room on your left. Follow footpath signs through the boat yard and into the trees, passing the caravan site on your right. Cross a National Trust stile into the ancient woodland. The path threads through the gnarled oak trees, with glimpses down to the river below.
In spring, see if you can spot or hear the redstart, a bird which breeds in old oak woodlands. A few small, scattered wild service trees grow in the shrub layer below the path, indicating that this is ancient woodland.
The ancient trees around Lawrenny provide plentiful nest sites for hole-nesting birds, from redstarts and blue tits to jackdaws and tawny owls. The waters of the Daugleddau may be seen far below you through gaps in the trees along the path.
The path swings to the right, passing a Scout hut. The point at the corner of the wood is a good place to scan the mudflats opposite. The village of Llangwm can be seen across the river to the north-west.
After 545yds (500m) the path descends to the shore of Garron Pill and continues along the high tide line. Ancient oak trees, their roots partly undercut by the tide, overhang the shore. At low tide deep channels in the mud are used by feeding shorebirds.
Garron Pill is a tidal creek notable for its estuary birds, including wigeon, greenshank, curlew and little egret.
Joining the road, walk uphill towards Lawrenny village. Pass a youth hostel on your right before descending to the centre of the village and the church.
Bear right through the village to rejoin the road to Lawrenny Quay. Alternative route: A footpath across the field below the church and site of Lawrenny Castle is signposted from point 6. Beyond the castle site (with fine views across the estuary) the path enters National Trust woodland and descends to the road near the hotel.
With woodland either side of the road once more, now mixed broadleaf, return to Lawrenny Quay.
Look across the mudflats (or water, depending on the state of the tide) to West Williamston in the east. A system of narrow rocky creeks give way to saltmarsh and mudflats.
The National Trust woodland and salt marsh at West Williamston may be seen from point 7 across the Cresswell River. Limestone was formerly quarried from the tidal channels here. The estuary is rich in wildfowl and shorebirds and in autumn you may even glimpse the occasional osprey hunting for grey mullet.
End: Lawrenny Quay, grid ref: SN015065
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 3 miles (5km)
- Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- OS Map: Landranger 157; Outdoor Leisure 36
Varied terrain with narrow woodland path, firm upper shore (can be slippery/muddy) and some road walking. High tide alternative route at Garron Pill. Dogs welcome under close control.
- How to get here:
By foot: Landsker Borderland Trail runs along walk route and joins Pembrokeshire Coast Path, 0.75 miles (1km) from start of walk
By bike: from A4075, follow back roads from Whitehill (SM054048) or Cresselly (SM064063), via Cresswell Quay
By bus: Bloomfield Walkers Bus, Tuesdays and Fridays only, not yet in operation. Go to www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk
By car: see 'By bike'
- Telephone: 01437 720385
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cleddau-woodlands/