St David’s Head coastal walk

Walking trail

Explore Pembrokeshire’s most spectacular coastal headland just a few miles away from Wales’ smallest city, St David’s.

Visit the 4000-year-old Neolithic burial chamber

Look out across an island-dotted seascape from a wild landscape full of rocky outcrops, prehistoric monuments and a fantastic array of coastal wildlife on this rugged circular walk.

The view from Carn Llidi


Map route for St David's Head coastal walk


Whitesands beach car park, grid ref: SM734272


From Whitesands car park, go through a gap in the wall on passing the site of St Patrick's Chapel. Climb a sandy slope up on to the cliff path. After about ½ mile (0.8km) you reach a kissing gate and National Trust sign. Continue to the crest of the hill.


From here, see Coetan Arthur silhouetted against the sky. St David's Head is forged of very old volcanic rock, some of it dates back almost 500 million years. This geology is best represented by Carn Llidi, the towering jagged outcrop, or tor, and in the rocky islands of Ramsey, Bishops and Clerks several miles out to sea. Our main route sticks to the coast, descending into the valley ahead via broad steps to a spring above the tiny cove of Porth Melgan. An alternative route heads gently uphill round the back of Carn Llidi with fine views to the east, or adventurous souls can scramble to the summit of this peak. PLEASE BE AWARE. As you descend towards the coast remain on the marked footpath, there is no need to cross any wall or fence boundary not indicated.


Cross the stream by a bridge and turn right or north-east to walk up this valley. This area can be slippery and muddy in winter.


To your right is a marshy area with the typical 'dinosaur egg' shapes of purple moor grass or 'rhos pasture', green in summer and earthy coloured in winter. Higher up, on the flanks of Carn Llidi, you can see ancient field patterns. Look out for birds like stonechat, meadow pipit and skylark in clumps of reedbed and willow. The rare Dartford warbler has also been seen in recent years.


At the highest point here, the peak of Pen Beri and the expanse of Cardigan Bay appears in the distance. Two headlands away is the winking lighthouse of Strumble Head with the peak of Garn Fawr above it. Descend to rejoin the coast path and turn left towards St David's Head.

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On the plateau a remarkable rockscape opens up. Jagged erratic rocks are mirrored by the rugged profile of Ramsey Island out to sea. North of Ramsey are the 'Bishops and Clerks', little islets, one of which is home to a big lighthouse. Offshore, you might be lucky enough to spot porpoise or dolphin playing in the waves.

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The route eventually passes Coetan Arthur and descends to an Iron Age coastal fort at the end of the peninsula. Continue on the coast path, returning to Porth Melgan. Retrace your route from here back to Whitesands beach.

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Whitesands beach car park, grid ref: SM734272

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St David’s Head coastal walk


Clear route on rugged coastal paths, with some rocky bits, slopes and 70 steps. Why not explore further on minor paths, fire breaks and animal tracks as you go?

Dogs welcome, but please keep them on leads where livestock are grazing and take dog mess home.

St David’s Head coastal walk

Contact us

St David’s Head coastal walk

How to get here

Whitesands, near St David's, Pembrokeshire, Wales
By road

2 miles (3.2km) north-west of St David’s city, at end of B4583.

By foot

On Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

By bus

Celtic Coaster shuttle bus, St David's to Whitesands beach, April to September.

By bicycle

Easy detour off the Celtic Trail, National Cycle Network Route 4, which passes 1 mile (1.6km) from start of walk.

St David’s Head coastal walk

Facilities and access

  • Dogs welcome, but please keep them on leads where livestock are grazing