There are 15 National Parks in the UK where you can enjoy some of the most breath-taking and treasured landscapes in the country. Each National Park is unique and that certainly applies to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
In Wales there are three National Parks. They are the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog), the Snowdonia (Eryri) and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Parks (Parc Cenedlaethol Arfordir Penfro). These three parks contain very different landscapes; the Brecon Beacons is an inland National Park containing rolling hills with Pen y Fan being the highest point at 886m / 2907feet. Snowdonia has most of the highest peaks in Wales and is mountainous, with Snowdon itself being the highest point at 1085m or 3560 feet.
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Purpose of the Pembrokeshire National Park Authority (PCNPA)
The Environment Act (1995), which outlines that the purpose of the National Park is to:
“To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park area
To promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the area by the public”.
The Park is managed by the PCNPA, which has around 130 staff and a committee of 18 members. In pursuing these purposes, the Authority should seek to foster the social and economic well-being of the communities within its boundaries. The Authority also manages the entire length of the Pembrokeshire coastal path, a 186-mile (299 km) national trail which lies almost entirely within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
About the National Park
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is the only one in the UK to have been designated primarily because of its spectacular coastline.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path was established in 1970, and is 186 miles (299 km) long, much of it at cliff-top level, with a total of 35,000 feet (11,000 m) of ascent and descent - more than Everest! The Pembrokeshire Coast Path twists and turns its way for the 186 miles from Amroth in the south to St Dogmaels in the north. During the 186 miles walk are some of the most breath-taking coastline views and landscapes in Britain. It covers almost every kind of maritime landscape from rugged cliff tops and sheltered coves to wide-open beaches and winding estuaries.
Pembrokeshire National Park is one of the smallest parks within the UK. As a result of this, where ever you are in the national park, you are never further than ten miles away from the coast. It is estimated that 33% of Britain’s nesting choughs can be found in Pembrokeshire and that Grassholm is the home to one of the largest gannet colonies in the world.
Beaches of the National Park
There are stunning beaches in every part of the National Park. A total of 39 beaches have been recognised winning Blue Flag, Green Coast or Seaside awards.
Due to this, there is also beautiful wildlife! In 2019, eleven beaches achieved the Blue Flag:
Also, twelve of the beaches within the national park were awarded Green Coast Awards, whilst 16 received Seaside Awards; eight of the beaches were awards both of these honours. Consequently, during the summer months some of these beaches may not welcome dogs, it is also worth checking in advance.
The Seaside Award is the national standard for the best beaches across the UK. While Seaside Award beaches can be vastly different, the flag is a symbol of quality which ensures visitors are guaranteed to find a clean, attractive and well managed coastal stretch. Green Coast Awards celebrate ‘hidden gems’ along the coastline and recognise excellent water quality and unspoiled environment.
No fewer than 13 of the 18 Welsh Green Coast winners are in Pembrokeshire.
Eight beaches completed the ‘double’, winning both Seaside and Green Coast awards. They were: Abereiddy, Barafundle, Broadhaven (south), Freshwater East, Manorbier, Marloes, Martins Haven and Penally.
The following beaches also won Seaside awards: Broad Haven (north), Cwm yr Eglwys,Goodwick, Little Haven. Newport, Nolton Haven and Wisemans Bridge.
A further five beaches also picked up Green Coast awards: Caerfai, Druidstone, Priory Bay on Caldey Island, West Angle Bay and West Dale.
Walking the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
A map of the Pembrokeshire National Park is available here.
Amroth to Lydstep: 11.5miles
Lydstep to St Govans: 14.5miles
St Govans to Angle: 17miles
Angle to Pembroke: 11miles
Pembroke to Milford Haves: 14miles
Milford Haven to Dale: 9miles
Dale to Martins Haven: 10.5miles
Martins Haven to Nolton Haven: 14miles
Nolton Haven to Caerfai: 12miles
Caerfai to Whitesands: 9.5miles
Whitesands to Trefin: 11miles
Trefin to Strumble: 12.5miles
Strumble to Pwllgwaelod: 13miles
Pwllgwaelod to Newport: 7miles
Newport to St Dogmaels: 14miles
FelinFach’s National Park Favourites?
There are so many stunning parts to the is National Park that trying to find some favourites is very difficult, but after much deliberation, here are three to consider a visit…
The river Nevern (Nyfer) is part of our garden near to its source but some 11 miles away the estuary at Newport is stunning. A spectacular wild area for birds, a huge beach (Newport Sands) for families and a small harbour for sailing. And when all is done, there are many pubs and restaurants in Newport to finish your day in style.
St David’s is the smallest city in the UK. The home of the Patron Saint of Wales, the spectacular St David’s Cathedral and with beaches nearby at Whitesands, it is a highlight of the coastal path.
Abereiddi and the Pembrokeshire Blue Lagoon. A small cove on the north Pembrokeshire coast, between St David’s and Porthgain, it is remote, rugged and beautiful.