Walks close to Bluestone: Canaston and Minwear Woods
At Bluestone we’re lucky to have beautiful National Park walks on our doorstep, so you don’t even have to get in the car to enjoy a walk in beautiful woodland. Get to know the wonderful Minwear and Canaston Woods that are close to the resort, and make plans to visit next time you come to stay.
Just in case: We’ve referenced Canaston Woods as east and west in this article to identify between the parts of the wood broken up by the A4075, west being the area on the resort side of the road. This isn’t their official name, and we don’t want to cause any confusion when looking at maps of the area, where it is just referred to as Canaston Woods!
Canaston Woods is perfect for an afternoon or evening stroll, as they’re the closest to Bluestone and there are lots of options depending on whether you want a long, short, hard, or easy walk. The woodland straddles the A4075 and is packed with history, as well as flora and fauna. The Knights’ Way, an ancient pilgrim’s route between St Davids Cathedral in the north of Pembrokeshire, and Amroth on the east coast runs straight through it, and also the medieval ruins of the 15th century Mounton Chapel in the west, and Blackpool Mill, a 19th-century watermill, in the east.
Canaston Woods, East
You can reach the western area of Canaston Woods via the walking trails on the resort, or you’ll find a wide walkway along the road from the resort northwards towards the Knights Way walk. This does require you to cross the A4075, which is a busy road with heavy traffic at all times of the day so please take care.
Once on the other side, you have a choice of different walking routes. If you want to visit the chapel, head south, and do proceed with caution as the ruins are in a state of decay.
Canaston Woods, West
This is the section of Woodland closest to Bluestone, and perfect for a quick outing or for little feet that might get tired. Blended seamlessly with our own Nature Trail, you may have already walked through Canaston Woods without realising it!
Minwear Woods is to the north-east of Bluestone and is sandwiched between us and the eastern branch of the Cleddau river. Part of the Slebech estate, it’s filled with a mix of native trees like oak and ash, alongside conifer trees which were planted in the 20th century.
It's a great place to see woodland birds such as treecreepers, and long-tailed tits, and on the mudbanks of the Cleddau you’ll often spot seabirds like herons and kingfishers feasting.
Just like Canaston Woods, Minwear has a rich heritage and there are many stories hiding beneath its canopy of trees. Blackpool Mill, a Victorian watermill sits between the two woodlands on the site of an old iron foundry and is a hint at the area’s industrial past. Thanks to its position on the river, Minwear was a source for local industry for centuries with its wood being used as part of shipbuilding and even to make charcoal for the iron foundry. These days it’s much quieter and known better as a place to enjoy a walk along the river.
There are a few different routes through Minwear woods, though if you’re only visiting once we recommend taking the route that follows the river. Along here you’ll get beautiful views of the Cleddau, as well as across the estates of Slebech and Picton.
You’ll also come across the medieval ruins of the Sisters’ House, which dates from when the parish was granted to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in 1150. There's some argument about what the main ruin was used for with some claiming it was a barn, or even a hostel for female pilgrims making their way to St Davids Cathedral along the Knights Way, an ancient route of pilgrimage that runs through Canaston Woods.
Closer inland, and you can visit the beautiful 12th-century Minwear Church. A Grade II listed building dating from the Norman era, much of the building is now covered by a 19th-century restoration but is still worth a visit.
Pembrokeshire is blessed with many beautiful walks, here are some of our favourites.