Hiking + Wild Camping the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (+ Kit List)

Rocks, sea and flowers on the trail

The Pembrokeshire Coast path had been a trail I’d wanted to do for a few years. In May 2023, I finally set off on the trail with my friend Chrissy. If I’m honest, we’d done little planning for the walk, with a wing-it approach (this worked out well for some things, but not everything!)

It’s a beautiful trail, and I’d held off hiking it earlier because I wanted to save for May, but that only comes around once a year. Firstly, because my birthday is that month it’s great to be hiking on a trail but also, from my research, I wanted to see all the pretty wildflowers so I’d settled for May being the best month to see them all in bloom.

Here I’ll share our route, how far we hiked each day, where we stayed including wild camp spots plus the all-important where to refuel on the trail. I’ve also added an FAQ section at the bottom, with useful questions about cows on the trail, which are the most beautiful beaches on the Pembrokeshire Coast, what spots not to miss and information about the high tides (definitely read this bit!)

You can also find my full kit list, so you have everything you need right here to plan your trip. This is a detailed guide so either bookmark this post for later, or act now, grab a cuppa and a notebook and get stuck in planning a wonderful long-distance trail.

If you have any questions about the Pembrokeshire Coast path, hopefully, I’ll be answering them here but if not then pop them in the comments and I’ll answer them.

About the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Day 6 on the trail

The Pembrokeshire Coast path is one of the 15 National Parks in the UK, but only one of three in Wales, the other two being Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons National Park, which I hiked the year before. Read my guide about the Beacons Way here.

This National Park, is solely made up from the coastline trail along the Pembrokeshire Coast, hence the name! It’s located in the southwest of Wales, a hidden gem, tucked away

The trail is 186 miles long or 299 km, but if you’re like me then you’ll easily go over the 200 miles with some wiggly walking! On our trip, we hiked 211 miles/339 km. You’ll also need to remember all those little coastal hills. They all add up! We hiked 7,905 metres ascent, that’s not far off the height of Everest in Nepal!

A few fun facts that were on the signpost at the start of the trail were:

  • The vegetation grows so fast that it needs cutting 4 times a year.
  • There are 537 stiles and 56 gates* 
  • The route has 126 footbridges and 12 causeways*
  • There are 561 signposts on the trail
  • And 4,257 steps!

*I’ve no idea who counted all those stats, I don’t remember climbing over 537 stiles so I’m hoping that’s an old stat and many of them have been replaced with gates now. Also, I have no clue how you keep count of the number of steps, maybe they had one of those clickers. The sign also mentions only 11 National Trails and there are now 16 so that might make sense why the stats are out of date (but still interesting).

Our plan + route

Hiking on the trail

Here you can find our breakdown of mileage and ascent, plus roughly where we started and finished each day. *These stats are based on what my watch calculated (Suunto 9) so they might be more due to wandering and exploring on the way!

  • Day 1 – Amroth to Penally – 16 km + 400 m (Campsite)
  • Day 2 – Penally to near Barafundle Bay – 28 km + 748 m (Wild camp) 
  • Day 3 – Barafundle Bay to Angle – 35 km + 452 m (Campsite)
  • Day 4 – Angle to Pembroke – 21 km + 378 m (Apartment)
  • Day 5 – Pembroke to Sandy Haven – 31 km + 510 m (Campsite)
  • Day 6 – Sandy Haven to near Westdale Bay – 28 km + 532 m (Wild camp)
  • Day 7 – Westdale Bay to Broad Haven 26 km + 478 m (YHA)
  • Day 8 – Broad Haven to near Solva 25 km + 766 m (Wild camp)
  • Day 9 – Solva to Penberry 29 km + 681 m (Wild camp)
  • Day 10 – Penberry to Pwll Deri 29 km + 834 m (Wild camp)
  • Day 11- Pwll Deri to Dinas Point 33 km + 969 m (Wild camp)
  • Day 12 – Dinas Point to nr Poppet Sands 31 km + 943 m (Wild camp)
  • Day 13 – Nr. Poppet Sands to St Dogmaels 8 km + 106 m (then onwards to Cardigan)

How to get to the start of the trail (and get back)?

The Pembrokeshire Coast, like many long-distance trails, is a linear route, with a different start and finish point. The interesting thing about this trail is that because the route is so wiggly, the distance from the start to the finish (driving) isn’t that far!

The total length of the trail is 186 miles and the distance to drive between the 2 places is only 29 miles, approximately 1 hour’s drive. 

From Nottingham, we looked at options to catch the train, but firstly, it took hours longer and it was expensive so as there were 2 of us, we opted to drive, park up and use public transport and taxis.

Getting to Amroth – The original plan was to park at Kilgetty and catch a taxi to the start. The taxi companies didn’t work the same as in Nottingham. There were 5 companies on the website, however, they either didn’t answer the phone, declined, or gave a huge wait time. I’d recommend booking one in advance if you’re planning a taxi. In the end, I asked a lovely lady at the supermarket if she’d give us a lift to the start and thankfully, she said yes 🙂

Getting back from St Dogmaels – We first walked the 2 km into the city of Cardigan, from there we caught a bus to Narberth and hopped on a train back to Kilgetty where we parked.

This is the reason we set off early hiking on the last day, even though we only had 8 km to walk, we wanted to travel back to Nottingham on the same day and there were limited options for buses and trains so we wanted to allow extra time. 

Where we stayed on the Pembrokeshire Coast Trail?

Going for a paddle in the sea at Broad Haven Beach

Our plan had initially been to wild camp the entire trail; however, we ended up doing a mix of accommodation and wild camping.

In total, we camped 10 nights, 3 nights at campsites and 7 nights wild camping. We also stayed at one apartment, booked via Booking.com and the YHA at Broad Haven. We’d always planned to stay at the YHA, as this marked the approximate halfway point so it allowed us to sort our kit out and have warm showers before the final section which was all wild camps.

The apartment in Pembroke was booked partly because it was my birthday and secondly because we couldn’t find either a campsite or a suitable wild camp spot near where we were going to finish the day! Plus, we got a good price for booking it last minute!

Here are the places we stayed on the trail:

  • Penally Court Farm Campsite (Day 1) – This was our first night so we’d decided having peace of mind knowing where to stay would be a good idea. This is a huge campsite and more suited to families, however, we were made very welcome and even given a spot between 2 empty Shepherd’s Huts (to shelter us from the wind in our little tents!) View other accommodation options (17 places) via Booking.com in Penally here.
  • Angle Castle Farm Campsite (Day 3) – This was a small basic campsite, which suited us, there were a few caravans so we found a small patch of grass near the entrance. View the other accommodation option (1 place) via Booking.com in Angle here.
  • Pembroke Self-Catering Apartment (Day 4) – We booked a last-minute self-catering apartment via Booking.com. It was perfect for a re-plan day and to work out where subsequent food stops were. We also went shopping and enjoyed a home-cooked meal and a huge dessert! View more accommodation options (63 places) via Booking.com in Pembroke here.
  • YHA Broad Haven (Day 6) – A perfect place to stop on a budget, you can book a dorm or private room if you want to spread your gear out! View more accommodation options (9 places) via Booking.com in Broad Haven here.

For the other nights, we found wild camp spots; however, there are some alternative accommodation options slightly off our route. I was unable to find options near Barafundle Bay, Westdale Bay, Pwll Deri, Dinas Point and St Dogmaels. You can check out the options I found here:

Wild camping on the Pembrokeshire Coast

Tent on grass with sea in background
Wild camping spot on the trail

After looking into the route, we opted to stay at campsites instead of wild camp at certain points. Firstly, because it’s nice to be able to support the independent campsites and secondly, there wasn’t another option!

The wild camping rules are the same here as in the rest of the UK, except in Scotland and Dartmoor. If you’re new to wild camping then check out my detailed guide here on the do’s and don’t’s of wild camping in the UK.

The main rules I follow are:

  • Leave No Trace – that means rubbish, toilet waste, food waste and ideally, leave it looking better than when you arrived!
  • Pitch late and leave early – in summer this becomes later, based on the sunrise/sunset times but if there are still people out walking then it’s not ok to start pitching your tent. My only exception here is if it’s chucking it down and shelter is essential to keep you warm and dry. 
  • Do not pitch on Private land (on an OS map the white shaded areas are all private). Instead, find Access Land (shaded beige).
  • In addition, if I was ever asked to move, I would (so far I’ve never been asked).

What refuel stops are there on the trail?

Firepot meal I packed for the trip

As I mentioned, our planning for this trip was lacking in some areas, the refuel stops was one of them! I’d hiked coastal trails before, the Jurassic Coast on the south coast, being my first and there were loads of places, cafes and restaurants to stop to get food. Naturally, I expected the Pembrokeshire Coast to be the same, but it wasn’t!

Here are the places we stopped for meals or refuelling stops

  • Day 1 – Tenby for fish and chips – This was always the plan, but Tenby also had other shops in case you’ve forgotten any essentials or want to stock up on food. There’s a Co-op food store and a Poundland which has an abundance of useful (or what you think is useful) things!
  • Day 2 – There’s a farm shop and cafe called Bubbleton, not far from Penally but we didn’t stop there. We detoured to ‘Beach Break’ tearoom for lunch near Manorbier Castle
  • Day 3 – Angle for a Sunday Roast – This was a well-timed arrival at the end of the day. They had no tables, but we negotiated a takeaway, and then ate it in their pub garden! Before this, there wasn’t anywhere else to buy food or eat, so we were hungry. Luckily, we had both packed snacks for the trip and camp meals so we didn’t starve.
  • Day 4 – Pembroke – There are loads of cafes and restaurants here, including a Tesco Supermarket, where you can restock your supplies!
  • Day 5 – Milford Haven – ‘The Bar‘ a perfectly placed pub for a lunch stop. It was rather posh with a carpeted floor so we were asked to take our muddy shoes off (which was a bonus)
  • Day 6 – No options for food on route.
  • Day 7 – Broad Haven – This is a small seaside town, with a shop, restaurants and cafe so a few options for food. We also stopped off in the pub at Little Haven for a cold drink about 2 km beforehand, then had pizza for dinner in Broad Haven at Sunshine Italian, which was delicious!
  • Day 8 – Solva – Pub stop for some cold drinks
  • Day 9 – Porthclais (Food kiosk however, it didn’t open until 10 am) but there were water refill stations
  • Day 10 – Porthgain a stop at the Sloop Inn for breakfast.


Pembrokeshire Coast Kit List

Here you can find my kit list that we took with us on the trail. I used my Atom Pack – Mo 50, which also had a 5-litre expandable pouch, plus 2 hip pockets, which was plenty of room for all my kit.

I’ll start with my camping kit and then will also share my hiking gear, including what I wore and other clothes I packed for the trail.

Camping gear

  • One-person tent – MSR Hubba NX (Read my detailed review here)
  • Sleeping mat – Therm-a-rest X-Therm (their warmest option)
  • Sleeping quilt – Therm-a-rest Corus Quilt
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Pillow – Therm-a-rest Air Head

Cooking set up

  • Small stove – MSR Pocket Rocket
  • Small pan
  • Gas canister (medium size)
  • Spork
  • Lighter 
  • Small dishcloth
Cooking on my camping stove

Clothing + footwear list

  • Hiking shoes – Salomon X-Ultra 4 (non-Goretex version)
  • Waterproof jacket – Salomon
  • Waterproof trousers – Salomon Bonatti (didn’t end up wearing)
  • Warm jacket – Salomon lightweight down jacket
  • Lightweight jacket – Salomon orange top
  • Long-sleeved top (for sleeping/second outfit)
  • Leggings (for sleeping/second outfit)
  • T-shirt
  • Shorts
  • Hiking socks x 3
  • Underwear x 4
  • Sports bra
  • Sunglasses
  • Cap
  • Headband
  • Bikini
  • Gloves
Hiking in shorts and t-shirt almost every day!

Hiking kit

  • Hiking poles – Leki
  • Sit mat
  • Small first aid kit
  • Talcum powder (in a ziplock bag)
  • Water flasks
  • Water bladder (1-litre) + water filter – Platypus
  • Toilet kit including my pee cloth

Other items

  • Power banks x 2 + charger (and a mains plug)
  • Phone + 2 x charging cables
  • Watch + charging cable
  • Headphones + charging cable
  • Travel towel
  • Suncream factor 50 + lip balm with SPF
  • Toiletries – Travel toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo (travel size), soap, vaseline, small brush and hair ties
  • Hankies + tissues
  • Ear plugs
  • Dry bags
  • Small penknife
  • Purse – Driving licence, cards, cash (you need ID to stay at YHA)
  • Dehydrated camp meals x 4

FAQs about the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

I’m including this section to cover a few common questions and also to write about a few topics that you might find useful when hiking the trail.

How did you keep your phone charged?

I used my phone for planning, research and photos on my trip. I re-charged both my power banks twice when we stayed at the accommodation with mains plugs ie at the Pembroke accommodation and the YHA Broad Haven. This lastly me perfectly for the entire trip. I also used Flight mode and turned Wi-Fi off to help preserve my battery life.

How much did your backpack weigh?

My Atom Packs backpack

My base weight for my backpack was 7-8 kg, then with food and water, it varied up to 10-12 kg, depending on how much water I was carrying.

Are there cows on the trail?

Cows on the path near Pembroke


Of course, cows can come and go, depending on when you hike the trail but we came across two herds that almost caused us to divert. If you have experience hiking in fields with cows then you might know these are ‘curious cows’ or ‘over-friendly cows’ but if not then understandably you might feel intimidated by them. The ones we met were both on the day between Angle and Pembroke, one was a field of bullocks in the same field next to the sea, with a small 1-metre drop and an electric fence. The second was a herd of dairy cows which refused to budge! Please pop any further questions below if you have concerns. We successfully navigated past both sets of cows!

What other animals and birds are on the trail?

Ponies near St David’s Head

The animals we saw the most were wild ponies on the coastal path, we saw a few at the beginning of the trail, but later parts we saw loads! After the section from  St David’s, there was a huge herd all hanging out on the clifftops.

We also saw plenty of seals in the water, most of them come on land later in the year to give birth, and you do have a chance to see whales and dolphins, although we didn’t spot any on our trip.

In terms of wildlife on the trail, there are plenty of beetles, snails and caterpillars, haha! But my favourite wildlife spot was the slow worm, although known as the legless lizard. It’s easy to mistake these for snakes but they are reptiles. We saw 3 on our trip.

How much fresh water is there on the trail?

There was a water refill station at Porthclais on the route from Solva to St David’s

What wildflowers are on the trail?

Sea Thrift wildflowers on the trail

There were two types of wildflowers that we saw every single day on the trail. They were the pink Sea Thrift flowers and bluebells which seemed to appear at some point every single day!

Also, in early May there were lots of wild garlic flowers which smelled beautiful

Are there any toilets on the trail?

We did find quite a few public toilets on the route, here are the ones we visited 🙂

  • Broad Haven Beach (building in the car park). This was shortly after Barafundle Bay on the morning of day 3
  • Porthclais
  • Abereiddi

What are the best beaches on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?

Barafundle Bay on Pembrokeshire Coast

Here I’ll include all the beaches on the trail so that you can pick your favourites, but I’ll also share which ones I liked the best are too!

At the start of the trail on day 1, you’ll go past several beaches, including Amroth (right at the start), Coppet Hall Beach, Saundersfoot Beach, Monkstone Beach, then there are three beaches at Tenby (Tenby North Beach, Castle Beach and Tenby South Beach – where we ate our fish and chips!) If you fancy a dip in the sea on day one then Tenby South Beach is probably the best one to swim in.

On day 2, there’s Lydstep Beach, Skrinkle Haven Beach, Freshwater East and Barafundle Bay. On this day, my favourite was Barafundle Bay, it was a small cove with luscious green trees surrounding it, and yes, we did stop here for a break.

Day 3 we walked past two beaches, Broad Haven South Beach and Freshwater West, just before you reach the little peninsular of Angle, which is where we stopped that night.

Day 9 there are some stunning beaches on the trail. Whitesands is a classic one, but it’s pretty big so if you like something quieter there are a few options before and after you reach it. 

From St David’s onwards there are fewer beaches that you can access as the trail heads up along the cliff tops and doesn’t descend to beaches along the final section

What spots should you not miss on the trail?

Blue Lagoon at Abereiddi

I’m including a few places here, one that we missed, and I’ll need to revisit so hopefully, you don’t do the same!

Saint Govan’s Chapel – Day 3 between Barafundle Bay and Angle, there’s a small chapel on the edge of the cliff, called Saint Govan’s Chapel, which is down a few steps from the path. And yes, we’d not researched this and missed it! Look out for it shortly after Broad Haven South Beach – Google location here.

Elegug Stacks – Another spot on day 3, that I did see! These impressive sea stacks were home to hundreds of Razorbills (the bird of the National Park logo), of course, they aren’t there all year round but in May, those rocks were covered in them! 

Green Bridge of Wales – A little further down from the Elegug Stacks you can find the Green Bridge of Wales, an impressive rock formation. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path doesn’t go past, as it turns inland here, so you need to add a mini detour to visit.

St Justinian’s RNLI Lifeboat Stations – On route on day 9, heading towards St David’s. Here you can see both the old and new lifeboat station, when I visited in 2017, I went inside and it was great to see the lifeboat. It was closed when we walked past but you can check out photos from my 2017 visit here.

Blue Lagoon at Abereiddi – Unlike the warm Blue Lagoon in Iceland this looks inviting but it’s cold water from the sea. But it does make for quite a sight. You can opt to do Coasterting here if you wish or pop in for a dip! Google location here.

Strumble Head Lighthouse – This was on day 11 and a great little detour, you can’t go right up to the lighthouse but you can go close. On my 2017 visit, this is where I saw several seals hanging about, but there were none on this visit.

Trig point – There is only one trig point on the trail, and it’s not to be missed, mostly because it’s right on the trail. This was also on day 11.

Do I need to worry about tide times?

Crossing one of the tidal sections at low-tide

For the majority of the trail, the tide times are useful to know but not essential as the diversions are close by and don’t massively impact your walk.

However, there are two that will catch you out if you’ve not planned! At Sandy Haven, there are lovely stepping stones pictured that you can cross, but only at low tide (and 2 hours before). If you miss it, then it’s a 4-mile/6 km diversion around the estuary, on roads.

View the tide times for Sandy Haven here.

Then a few miles later there’s another crossing at Butts Bay and Longoar Bay, which has a 3-mile/5 km detour.

After staying at Sandy Haven Campsite, we woke early and set off, within 15 minutes we’d come across the problem and since the tide was still coming in, the only option was to do the detour. Afterwards, we’d realised the only way we’d have crossed would have been about 4 am so that did make us feel better but maybe we’d planned our days differently had we known about it!

And the bonus was that because we took longer to reach the second crossing it was now low tide so we didn’t need to do this detour.

How well-signposted is the trail? 

Pembrokeshire Coast Path + Wales Coast Path signpost

As the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is one of the 16 National Trails in the UK, it’s very well signposted. The iconic National Trail sign, which is the acorn symbol can be found throughout the majority of the trail. And the other big clue is keeping the sea on your left, if you do that then you shouldn’t go wrong and it’s a great national trail to do as one of your first long-distance hikes.

There is another trail that follows the same path and that’s the Wales Coastal Path, if you see the seashell signs then those are associated with that trail. Be sure to look out for fellow hikers, many people that do the Wales Coast Path start their journey in the north of Wales so it’s likely you’ll pass them en route.

What is the weather like in Pembrokeshire?

This is a difficult one to answer since the UK weather can be very unpredictable. We hiked the trail in May and were lucky enough to only have one day with torrential rain, which resulted in a full soaking and an early finish that day to pitch our tents. The temperatures varied from highs of 18 degrees to lows in the night of 7 degrees, a lovely temperature for hiking and perfect for swimming in the sea too!

Another thing to factor in is how windy it can be on a coastal path, we were lucky and didn’t experience too many strong winds but in bad weather you need to be careful.

If you’re planning your trip for a different month then I’d recommend checking out different weather forecast Apps, these are the main ones I use:

If you have any more questions about the Pembrokeshire Coast Path then pop them in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Hiking + Wild Camping the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (+ Kit List)

  1. Erica says:

    Planning to hike part of the Pembrokeshire coastal path in July for 5 days. Planning to wild camp for most nights and find a campsite for 1/2 nights.

    How easy is to find wild camp spots that are not too far out from the path? Is it risky to wild camp if not allowed?

    • Becky the Traveller says:

      Hi Erica, if you’ve wild camped before and know which areas to look for on the map then you should be ok. As mentioned in my post you will struggle in some places, which is why I stayed at the campsites. I’d recommend looking for spots and planning roughly where you will stay so you can make sure you’re not on private/farmers land on the trail. Have a fun time. The main risk is that you will be asked to move if you don’t find a suitable place, so not ideal if you’ve pitched up for the night.

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