Best autumn walks in Pembrokeshire for families

Walking ling di long

Is there a better feeling than scuffing your feet through the piles of colourful leaves on an autumn walk?

The autumn is a wonderful time to visit Pembrokeshire as the seasons change - and there's few more rewarding ways to explore than getting out in the crisp air and crunching through one of the county's many beauty spots.

Here's a collection of some our favourite walks together with a few recommendations of places to warm up.

Canaston Woods

Canaston Woods

Distance: Anything up to three hours

Start/finish: You can walk from the Bluestone resort or from Blackpool Mill

Refreshments: Pop back to Bluestone!

Canaston Woods is full of ancient routes, spectacular views, forts and chapels - and it’s right on our doorstep here at Bluestone.

During autumn the thick woodland becomes a sea of colours in the crisp air, with satisfying sound of leaves crunching underfoot.

You can walk to Canaston Woods from the Bluestone resort by taking the path from Bartholemew Rise. You’ll spot it on your right hand side, walk along it until it finishes at a T junction with another path.

From here turn right, and then left a short while later - this path will take you into the woods until it reaches the Knight’s Way, a large path which runs through the heart of the woods.

The Knight’s Way is an ancient Pilgrim’s path which actually runs all the way to St David’s Cathedral in north west Pembrokeshire and to Amroth on the south east cost.

If you turn right onto the Knight’s Way you can follow it into Canaston Woods - carefully cross the road over Canaston Bridge and you can explore the network of paths in the lush mixed woodland on the other side, where you’ll come across the remains of Mounton Chapel near the most southerly point of the woods.

Many of the paths have undergone upgrading recently and underfoot surfaces are generally firm.

If you have a couple of hours to while away in the autumn air Canaston Woods is one of the most satisfying strolls in Pembrokeshire, as you trace the steps of Pilgrims who took the same route hundreds of years ago.

Minwear and Sisters’ House

Minwear woods


Distance: 3-4 miles, about two hours.

Start/finish: You can walk from the Bluestone resort or from Blackpool Mill

Refreshments: Pop back to Bluestone!

Minwear Wood is another autumn walk on our doorstep, just to the west of the Bluestone resort.

Like Canaston Wood, you can walk to Minwear Woods from Bluestone - take the same route from Bartholomew Rise, turning right when you met the bigger path and then turning left onto the path into the woods.

From there you’ll meet the Knight’s Way, but this time turn left and it will take you to beautiful Blackpool Mill, which dates back more than 200 years. Head left, to the south of the banks of the picturesque Eastern Cleddau, and you’ll be walking into Minwear Woods - a mix of conifers and broad-leaved trees - oak, ash and hazel. It is a great place to see woodland birds, including tiny long-tailed tits, great spotted woodpeckers and treecreepers.

There’s a choice of paths to take, but the main one will take you in a loop of the woods and back to Blackpool Mill - you can download a map of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s official walk here - but it’s a simple circle to follow.

The main path will take you near Minwear Farm and the 12th century Minwear Church, once controlled by the Knight’s of St John - who created the Knight’s Way. Keep an eye out for the medieval ruins of Sisters’ House (not open to the public) which is thought to have housed women pilgrims once upon a time.

Preseli Hills - Foel Eryr

Foel Eryr

Distance: About one and a half miles - taking around an hour

Start/finish: There’s a car park by the B4329 as you drive towards Foel Eryr

Distance from Bluestone: The car park is about an half an hour drive

Refreshments: You’re in the middle of the Preseli Hills, which is a bit remote. You’ll pass through the pretty little village of Rosebush on the way so a stop in the pub there would be convenient

Foel Eryr is the second highest peak of the rolling Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, translating as the ‘Hill of the Eagle’ in English. While you’re unlikely to see an eagle, its worth keeping your eyes on the skies for the buzzards, kestrels, ravens, skylarks and kites that swoop overhead.

This walk isn’t as wooded as others on this list - so there will be fewer leaves crunching underfoot - but in the crisp autumn air there aren’t many places on earth that can compare to the summits of the Preseli Hills.

This is often something of a windy walk but the view from the top is utterly spectacular, the 360 panoramic taking in views that stretch out to sea and miles and miles of glorious open countryside.

Start in the car park and just off the B4329, which cuts over the Preseli Hills. Cross over the road to follow the grassy footpath.

Follow the path up to Foel Eryr, which is clearly marked, so its fairly simple to find your way. You won’t be able to take in those panoramic views right away - you’ll need to stick with it but on the way up you’ll pass through Bronze Age cairns on the hillside.

As you make your way up the views gradually become broader and broader until you reach a National Park observation point, from which you can see as far as Ireland on a clear day. It also marks where all the various landmarks are on the horizon - which is great fun pointing them out with the children. Also at the summit is a Bronze Age burial site marked out by a stone enclosure. 

Make you’re way back down again the way you came once you’ve taken in the views.

Bosherton lakes

Bosherton Lily Ponds

Distance: About one and a half miles - taking around an hour

Start/finish: From the car park in Bosherton

Distance from Bluestone: Bosherton is just under a half an hour drive

Refreshments: There’s a choice of food and drink options in Bosherton village

Bosherton’s beautiful lily ponds are famed for their tranquil atmosphere and carpets of lilies any day of the year - particularly when the flowers bloom in June.

Those blooms will be gone by autumn but as the seasons change the leaves of the woods that surround the water burst into colour. September and October brings an abundance of birdlife and if you get there early enough in the water you might spot some of Bosherton’s otters.

When you arrive at Bosherton follow the path from the car park until you get to a causeway crossing the first pond you see. You can follow this path in a circular walk around the ponds, or take a left turn after you cross the second causeway to stroll to the picturesque Eight-Arched Bridge that crosses one of the mains - reputed to be one the most romantic spots in Pembrokeshire!

Lawrenny

Leaves in autumn

Distance: One hour and 45 minutes - about three miles of walking

Start/finish: Start from Lawrenny Quay

Distance from Bluestone: Lawrenny is a short 15-minute drive from Bluestone

Refreshments: Some lovely places to stop at the Quay or in Lawrenny village

As the Rivers Cleddeau, Cresswell and Carew wend their way down to the estuary of Milford Haven, they pass Lawrenny, with wooded valleys, salt marshes and ancient forest.

This circular National Trust walk is well signposted, starting at Lawrenny Quay and the combination of autumn woodland and placid rivers makes for a stunning walk. The old trees are inhabited by lots of chirpy birds including jackdaws, tawny owls, blue tits and redstarts.

Start by passing the tea room on your left, noting it for a warming drink later. The footpath signs through the boat yard and into the trees, crossing a stile into the forest.

The path swings to the right, passing a Scout hut, with views of the mudflats opposite.  The path descends to the shore where you’ll see the roots of the old oak tress exploded by the shoreline. This is Garron Pill, a tidal creek where you’ll be able to spot 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.

Bluestone’s nature trails

Camp Smokey through the forest

If you’re staying at Bluestone and don’t want to venture far, the resort’s nature trails are suitable for all levels of ability whether you’re a marathon runner or hoping for an afternoon stroll. The step by step signs on the way are easy to follow and there are two main trails - one taking you up to the remains of an Iron Age fort.

The trails are marked on the resort map you’ll be given at check-in - or pick up one at the Booking Office in the Village.

Cwm yr Eglwys to Pwllgwaelod

The church at Cwm yr Eglwys

Distance: About a mile and a half both ways

Start/finish: Start either at Cwm yr Eglwys or Pwllgwaelod - the walk takes you between the two

Distance from Bluestone: Either destination is about a 45-minute drive from Bluestone

Refreshments: There’s a nice restaurant at Pwllgwaelod (with very good hot chocolate) to stop in and places to stop for food and drink at either end

This walk is ideal for little ones as it's nice and level, with a purpose-built tarmac surface for almost the whole route. Both Cwm yr Eglwys and Pwllgwaelod have little beach coves to welcome you with and in-between is a lovely wooded walk that’s best explored in autumn when there’s plenty of piles of leaves to jump in en route.

We won’t provide you with directions as you basically get on the path that’s signposted at both ends and follow it to the other end and back again!

Colby Woodland Garden

Colby Woodland Garden

Distance: As long as you’d like to make it - ramble around these lovely gardens to your heart’s content

Distance from Bluestone: About a 20-minute drive

Refreshments: There’s a tea rooms and a shop to indulge in.

These National Trust gardens are as beautifully kept as you would expect with picnic spots, stepping stones and rope swings galore.

As well as the network of woodland walks to enjoy in the autumn, there’s a nice wide open meadow for little legs to buzz about it - where the stream and log bridges are joined by a buzz of butterflies and dragonflies. Wander around or relax in the walled garden while the children take part in some of the free daily activities such as pond dipping and family games.

Make Bluestone the perfect place to base your autumn adventures, check out our autumn breaks here

Categories:Pembrokeshire, Autumn

Tags:Wales

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