Whitesands Bay and St David's Head Coast Walk
Whitesands Bay is a beautiful Blue Flag beach that stretches for nearly four miles along the most western coast of Pembrokeshire. A trip up Carn Llidi is more testing and something of a scramble near the top.
It’s going to take you the best part of an hour to reach it, but it’s worth it for the unspoiled beauty, the magnificent sweep of the bay, and the relatively level conditions for walking with the family.
It’s best to build in a visit to the tiny city of St David’s (the smallest in Britain) as part of your day out to explore the cathedral and refuel at one of the many tea rooms, cafés, and pubs. There’s plenty to see at the beach as well. If you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll be in the official birthplace of coasteering, plus a multitude of watersports - or you can extend your walk by taking in the full stretch of sand and admiring the breathtaking scenery.
It’s steeped in legend as well, with the history books claiming St Patrick’s looked out at sea from the bay and decided to travel to Ireland to convert the country to Christianity. The headland is made up of volcanic rock thought to date back 500 million years and the coastline is dotted with rocky islands just off the shore. As you’re walking north from Whitesands, you’ll have Carn Llidi on your right, a jagged hilly mass made up of some of the oldest rock the earth has to offer. If you’re feeling fit, you can scramble up it for panoramic Pembrokeshire views.
Walk time: About an hour and a half
Difficulty: There’s some up and down but fairly simple.
Distance from Bluestone: It’ll take at least 50 minutes to drive the 26 miles. Take the A487 from Haverfordwest.
Toilets: At Whitesands Bay
Parking: The car park is run by St David’s City Council. There are private car parks nearby as well
Food and drink: There’s a cafe in the bay and plenty in the city of St David’s.
1. Start in the car park of Whitesands Bay and you’ll spot the coast path through a gap in a wall and up a sandy slope. Head north.
2. Follow the path around the coast, through the little cove of Porth Melgan. It’ll then veer to the left, around the spectacular headland, with Carn Llidi on your right and eventually behind you.
3. As you make your way around the headland you’ll notice plenty of paths on your right. These will all take you back to an earlier stage of the path so you can loop back around. Stick in front of Carn Llidi, otherwise, you’ll have a rather long walk around the back of it.
We’d recommend walking to the point shown on the map, before taking the path back that takes you in front of the rocky hill beside the stream that joins back up with the coast path near the start of the headland. Careful - it can get muddy and marshy! Alternatively, you can about-turn and follow the coast path home.
4. Find your way to Porth Melgan again before heading back to the car park.