Conigar Pit Beach
Conigar Pit is a little known rocky and sandy cove tucked behind Old Castle Head near Manorbier.
At low tide it is a wide stretch of beach at the western end of which is situated the little cove called Presipe, which has become a happy hunting ground for people who collect fossils. Children find great fascination in a hunt for fossils, such as trilobites and ferns, attractive coloured semi-precious mineral stones and crystals. And if they tire of fossil finding they can explore the rock pools or enjoy a pleasant bathe, if the tide is right and the sun warm. The views from the cliffs are also stunning, with Lundy and the Devon and Somerset coasts often visible.
Conigar Pit derives its name from the fact that it was once a rabbit warren, a ‘coneygarth,’ where this valuable food source introduced by the Romans was ‘farmed’ for consumption at the local castle, in this case magnificent Manorbier Castle, half a mile inland.
The twin coves are a feature of the 11-mile walk along the National Park Coastal footpath from Broad Haven South to Skrinkle Haven, a route which passes beautiful Barrafundle Beach, recently voted one of the top ten beaches in the world.
It is a walk for the seasoned path enthusiast for the three-mile stretch between Broad Haven South and Stackpole Quay alone has a total of 173 steps, as well as four kissing gates and one wicket gate to negotiate. The walk is very rewarding as it gives the opportunity of seeing the cliff ledge nests of kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots at Old Castle Head and also the strong likelihood of spotting a chough, a puffin or a peregrine falcon. There is a Coastal Cruiser bus return service three times a day and you are never far from a beach, a village pub or toilets.
There is a National Trust car park for which a charge is made in the summer season and also a toilet. There is a Danger Area marked on maps of Old Castle Head and visitors have to be aware of the potential hazards presented by crumbling cliff edges, steep steps and tidal conditions.
At Presipe (Grid Reference SS078098 96938) fossils are abundant. The beach between the two coves is sandy and very pleasant for children, but supervision on the steps down is advised. To reach the spot, follow the coastal path from Manorbier camp and the way to the beach becomes obvious as you reach the headland. Access is best at low tide otherwise only the western end can be reached. If venturing into the coves on the eastern end at Presipe, it is a crucial precaution to keep a very careful eye on the tide as it is so easy to be cut off here. It is also advisable to inform someone where you are going and what time you expect to return as mobile phone signals are often weak or non-existent in these sheltered coves.