Walk 3 - Manorbier to Bosherston
Distance: 10 miles.
Distance from Bluestone: 12.4 miles / 23 minute drive to Manorbier starting point.
Toilets: There are public toilets at Manorbier, Freshwater East, Stackpole Quay and Bosherston.
Parking: Paid National Park car park, plus additional spaces along the coast towards Freshwater East.
Food and drink: There are cafes along this route in Manorbier Village, Freshwater East, Stackpole Quay, and Bosherston.
Welcome back to part three of our voyage across the Pembrokeshire Coast Path! This leg of the journey sees us set out from scenic seaside village Manorbier and onto the 10-mile trek towards beautiful Bosherston.
Manorbier can be a hard place to leave behind however, with its proud Norman castle, with its public gardens and mill overlooking the sandy surf spot of Manorbier Beach – a sheltered bay popular with surfers due to its strong currents and ease of access from the coast path.
Overlooking the beach from the adjacent hilltop to the castle sits a site of even more ancient history. The neolithic burial chamber King’s Quoit sits dramatically peering down onto the scenery below. The chamber lies partially underground and is classed as a “scheduled monument” which marks it as a site of important archaeological significance. So, make sure to get your exploring in before setting off!
One last thing to check before starting this leg of the walk is to make coast path is open, as the MOD (Ministry of Defence) firing range occupies a section of the walk and when in use passing through is not permitted. If so, a slightly shorter alternative route will have to be taken.
Once this is all set, it’s time to head off! After leaving Manorbier the first stop on our journey is the secluded and scenic Swanlake Bay. Only accessible via the coast path, Swanlake Bay is a shingle beach flanked by squat red cliffs. When the tide recedes, golden sands are revealed as well as rockpools to be fished and explored. Make sure to check tide times to make sure you’ve got plenty of beach to enjoy when you’re passing by!
Moving on we made our way to another sandy hotspot, Freshwater East. Earning the Green Coast award in 2021, the beach here is wider and more open than Swanlake Bay, as it backs onto golden dunes that sweep out into lush green countryside. Not totally exposed, the beach is sheltered by the protruding headland of Trewint Point, which has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) since 1977 due to its biological and geological importance.
Freshwater East is also one of stops on the coast path that is now home to a water refill station. The stations implementation is part of a scheme to reduce the use of plastics along the coast path, encouraging people to bring along their own reusable bottles. This is a scheme we mirror here at Bluestone, as we announced our partnership with Refill Wales on July 16th 2021, removing the sales of plastic water bottles on resort and instead implementing refill stations for guests to fill up their own reusable bottles!
With our bottles freshly filled we headed onwards to the next stop in our journey, Stackpole Quay. Nestled amongst National Trust property, Stackpole Quay is a small harbour, popular with kayakers who can be seen weaving through the nooks and crannies of the surrounding water caves. Here we took a pit-stop and settled down at The Boathouse Café and enjoyed an ice cream whilst we took in the beautiful views of Stackpole Quay just below us. The café offers a range of locally sourced, homemade hot and cold food and drinks, making it a favoured spot for intrepid trail travellers to rest their legs and take in the scenery.
With our feet well rested and re-charged by ice cream, we headed on toward one of the must-see spots when walking this section of the coast path. Along this route you’ll have the chance to visit one of the most spectacular beaches Pembrokeshire has to offer, Barafundle Bay. Often referred to as Pembrokeshire’s own slice of the Caribbean, Barafundle Bay is home to bright golden sands, framed by luscious green countryside with cliffs to the north and to the south.
As testament to its beauty and popularity, Barafundle Bay has been the recipient of a number of awards and accolades. It holds status as one of Pembrokeshire’s Blue Flag Beaches as well as being awarded the Seaside Award and Green Coast Award in 2019. Country Life magazine declared in the best place for a picnic in the UK in 2006, whilst Passport Magazine included it amongst the best beaches in the world in 2017. The beach is only accessible via steps down from the cliff top and whilst there are no facilities on hand (so everything you take must go back with you) there is perfection in this isolation, as the Bay remains pristine and golden for all who visit.
Moving on as we approach the edge of the Stackpole Estate we’re treated to views of another sandy paradise, Broad Haven South. Another wide sandy expanse backing onto green and gold dunes, Broad Haven South is a popular destination for day-trippers and surfers. The pristine water quality attracts visitors just as much as the golden sands, and amongst the waves around 150 yards off the coast the proud figure of Church Rock juts out of the surf. Given its name due to its resemblance of a steeple rising from a church building, Church Rock is a key element of the iconography that paints the picture of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
Nearby Broad Haven South we came to the final stop on this leg of the journey, Bosherston. Bosherston is a small but scenic village built around the parish church of St. Michael and All Angels. Through here is access to one of Pembrokeshire’s most beautiful and unique beauty spots, the Bosherston Lily Ponds. The ponds are formed by three flooded limestone valleys, and as summer rolls around burst into life with the blooming of stunning waterlilies. We timed our trip well as we arrived just as the lilies were popping into bloom, sweeping across the calm waters. If you’re lucky, you’ll find some of the pond’s residents poking their heads up through the lilies, as the local otters peak out of the waters. Feeding on the ell, pike, and perch that can be found beneath the lilies, a healthy otter population call the ponds their home.
Next up, Bosherston to Fresh West…