Trefin to Pwll Deritop
- Location: Trefin
- Distance: 10.5 miles
- Description of this walk: A linear trek along a quieter section of the stunning Pembrokeshire coastal path.
- Map: O/S Explorer Map OL35
- Download a map of this walk to print off and follow in Derek's footsteps. (PDF 1.7MB) Having trouble with the map? Download the latest version of Adobe Reader.
This walk was done using a GPS device. We've included GPS marker points with the route directions, should you wish to follow them.
An epic coastal trek starting at the picturesque coastal village of Trefin, passing through Abercastle, finishing up at the hostel in Pwll Deri.
This lengthy linear walk begins in the pretty coastal village of Trefin, situated in north Pembrokeshire - roughly half way between St David's in the south and Fishguard to the north.
The word Trefin comes from the Welsh name 'Trefaen' which translates as 'village on the rock outcrop' which can be seen as you walk around the village.
Our guide for this walk was the larger than life author, actress and singer, Gwenno Dafydd who grew up in the nearby village of Harmony.
1. Start of the walk: The Ship Inn
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From the Ship Inn head west, down Ffordd y Felin road towards the coast, passing colourful painted cottages as you go.
This route is well sign posted so you shouldn't have any trouble following it. As you leave the village and head down the hill, turn right - off the main road and follow sign posts towards the coastal path.
The track here can get a little boggy but is only a slight detour off the main road and brings you out at the old ruined mill.
2. Trefin Mill
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There isn't much left of the mill these days, situated above a pretty little cove, with a small stream trickling through it which once powered a large mill wheel here.
The Archdruid Crwys' most famous poem, Melin Trefin features the historic mill at Aberfelin.
Less than a hundred years ago, this mill was a hive of activity with fishermen living in the nearby cottages, and boats toing and froing with wheat to be milled into flour.
Leave the mill, and follow the path left, over a wooden footbridge and up a steep muddy track. On the hillside opposite is a modern stone circle, sat in a farmer's field.
3. Old ruined house
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After a while the track levels out and you'll arrive at another hill with loose shale underfoot. Pass through a wooden gate towards an old ruined house on the top of the headland.
From up here you'll begin to get a taster of the views and terrain that lies ahead in this very special part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
Keep right and continue up the hill, passing farmer's fields full of rape seed crop in early July.
Down below and to your left is Pwll Olfa, a pristine cove with some of the most translucent, blue water you'll ever see.
Continue along the path, enjoying the coastline as well as the vibrant coastal plants scattered in amongst the gorse banks and dry-stone walls.
Passing Pwll Llong, head up a steep section of trail towards a sign post for Longhouse Farm.
4. Longhouse Farm
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This farm was once a hotspot for daffodil production in the area but is now managed the National Trust. From here, head down into a sheltered grassy valley complete with badgers sets (so watch where you're treading).
Head up to a wooden gate and admire the stunning views below - including sculpted sea caves on the left hand side of the bay.
Pass through the gate and follow the bay around to Castell Coch (one of two forts on this route) and a great place to have a bite to eat and escape the wind. Take care along this section as the cliffs are steep with big drops.
The cliff tops provide excellent views of the coast to the south west, with Penberry and Carn Llidi in the distance and on clear days, you can make out the white marker stones at the entrance to Porthgain harbour.
The path steers you well away from danger but the temptation is always there to take a closer look at the coves below - resist, as you can never be sure how safe the cliff edges are underneath.
5. Views across to a sea arch
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Just north of here, you'll cross over into farmland and to your left, is a wonderful example of a natural sea arch.
Keep heading east across farm fields towards Abercastle with Ynys Deullyn to the north.
As you head down a grassy track towards Abercastle you'll spot signposts for Carreg Samson, a Neolithic burial chamber and a must see on this walk.
6. Carreg Samson
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This 5,000 year old Neolithic burial chamber or cromlech stands in splendid isolation overlooking the bay towards Abercastle.
The large capstone, measuring 15 feet x 9 feet rests on three of the seven upright stones underneath, and the whole structure was once covered by a mound of earth.
Legend tells of how Saint Samson once lifted the 15 foot long capstone into place using just one finger.
Whatever you believe, this site was of great significance to the ancient people who gathered here to bury their dead.
Trace your steps back to the path and turn right towards Abercastle. Head down the steps, taking care, as some of the rocks are slippery and follow the trail along to the harbour.
Keep an eye out for old canons which have been placed along the route before you pass an old lime kiln.
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Abercastle is an old trading harbour which exported local slate and grain, lime, butter, honey, corn, and some coal. These days the working harbour is mainly used by local fisherman and leisure craft.
The harbour was also the landing site of the first single handed Atlantic sailing west to east in 1876 by the Danish born fisherman, Alfred "Centennial" Johnson.
It took Alfred an incredible 66 days to complete and you'll find a commemorative plaque near the slipway.
From here, cross over the road and follow the track running past a grassy area and stream and walk up the steps: N 51.96014, W -5.12638.
Follow the track up behind the pretty cottages you saw from the opposite side of the bay and continue along the coastal path.
The views along this stretch are some of the prettiest you'll see as you look back towards Abercastle and the small island, Ynys y Castell guarding the harbour entrance.
Ahead of you to the east are literally hundreds of small islands and rocky crags disconnected from the mainland - Pembrokeshire's version of tropical atolls, surrounded by a turquoise sea.
The track takes you past more pristine coves and wild flowers and heather abound.
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As the track takes you down to Pwllstrodur you'll quickly realise that what goes down must also go back up! So prepare yourself for a steep climb up the other side of the bracken covered hillside.
This dark, pebble strewn cove is best visited from mid to low tide and a popular haunt with local naturists, so be prepared to see some naked flesh if you venture here in summer.
Cross over a small wooden footbridge, and climb up the steep hillside onto the next headland.
Passing Aber Mochyn another cove with black sand and Porth Glastwr you'll arrive at Castell Coch - one of many ancient forts along this coast, overlooking the pebbled beaches of Abermawr and Aberbach.
9. Castell Coch promontory fort
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In summer the Iron Age promontory fort is difficult to spot when it's engulfed by greenery but as you walk past, you should be able to spot signs of a defensive, double embankment.
The fort also had an unusual zigzagging pathway leading to the heart of the fort, making it difficult to attack.
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Follow your nose along the coast and down a steep and narrow track to the pebbled beach at Abermawr.
As you make your way down, keep an eye out for an old mining storage tunnel under the steps - left over from the area's quarrying days.
Believe it or not, the famous engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel once proposed this sheltered bay as the main harbour and railway terminus for transport to Ireland but thankfully plans were abandoned and Neyland was chosen instead.
This beach was also home to a cable station and in 1862, the cable ship, Bewick ran over 60 miles of cable from Abermawr to Wexford. A second cable was laid in 1880 from Abermawr to Blackwater in Ireland.
11. Melin Tregwynt Mill
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At the end of the beach, take the pathway to your right, leading up to the road and follow it for just under a mile to the mill.
A white-washed woollen mill has stood on this site since the 17th century.
Originally local farmers used to bring their fleeces to be spun into yarn and woven into fine Welsh wool blankets. Nowadays, the mill supplies top end, luxury goods to shops all over the world and is open to the public with a nice cafe and toilets.
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Walk back towards Abermawr but around 200m before the end of the road, turn right onto a track through fields and rejoin the coastal path down to the next bay, Aberbach.
Local folklore has it that a farmer once caught a mermaid here and kept her in his house which became cursed until she was released.
At the far end of this pebbly bay is a stream trickling down into the sea. Pass this and turn left up a relatively steep, winding track to more level ground, about 300 metres on, where you'll pass over another stream: N 51.97411, W -5.08157
From up here you'll get a nice view back over the two beaches you've just walked across.
Stay on the coastal path now for around a mile enjoying the cliffs and sea views as you go.
If you're walking this section in the autumn, keep an eye out for grey seal pups in the coves and porpoises are often spotted feeding along this stretch of coast.
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Our next stop on the walk were the jagged sea cliffs at Pwllcrochan.
Take care along this section as some of the path cuts in close to the cliff edge. The path is steep and uneven, so keep children and pets under control here.
Access to the small beach below is not advisable.
The cliffs along this coast were formed by volcanic action throwing out molten lava which subsequently cooled and hardened.
The softer areas in between, like Pwllcrochan then eroded leaving large, rocky crags jutting out into the sea to form these jagged cliffs.
Head over a wooden stile, down the steps and up into a sheltered, fern ridden valley with a stream running down one side.
At the top follow the signposts left. Turning right here would take you on a circular route back to Aberbach via Velindre and Tresissllt should you wish to do a shorter walk
Walk over the cliff tops for 200m, and stay inside of the stone wall (away from the cliff edge) that has been placed here for your safety.
Pass through a wooden gate and follow a stony track down into a sheltered valley, full of ferns and golden, flowering gorse during summer.
Cross over the wooden footbridge at the bottom and make your way up a steep and winding muddy track.
Trek along the cliff tops passing Pwlldawnau, Aber Cerrig-gwynion and Penbwchdy.
14. Round stone shelter
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Around 300 metres on from Trwyn Llwyd you'll arrive at a circular, roofless, dry stone enclosure, that used to house livestock but now provides a great wind shelter and spot to have a rest.
Walk north east, following the track up and over a steep rocky ridge and follow the rocky track down on the other side.
15. Coastal views
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From up here you'll get some of the best views along this walk with Garn Fawr to the north east and a sprinkling of tiny islands and rocky outcrops below.
You can also see the finishing point - a large, white-washed house, now a hostel, balanced precariously above the cliffs at Pwlll Deri.
The views open even more now, as Strumble Head lighthouse pokes its head up between the cliffs in the distance.
Follow the path for around one mile and follow a track up a steep narrow pathway to the road.
At the end of the track, turn left onto a minor road. It's a quiet road but cars do use it to access the hostel and a scattering of local houses nearby, so take care.
16. A memorial stone to Dewi Emrys
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A short distance on and you'll come across a path leading to a memorial stone for Dewi Emrys (1879-1952), whose poem, Pwll Deri celebrates the area and its characters.
Dewi won the Chair at the National Eisteddfod and infamously pawned his 1926 Eisteddfod crown in Swansea.
17. End of the walk: Pwll Deri Hostel
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Return to the main road, turn left and continue on towards the hostel, which is perched in an idyllic cliff-top setting with spectacular views and glorious sunsets.
It's also a great spot for bird and seal watching and a good spot to base yourself for walking along this stretch of the coast.
Turn left into the driveway you'll see the hostel in front of you with amazing views over open ocean and the impressive Garn Fawr hillfort behind, which covers the highest point of the Pen Caer/ Strumble Head peninsula.
Time your walk right and you can catch the Strumble Shuttle bus service back to the start.
The shuttle bus runs from Fishguard to St David's, 7 days a week during the summer and the nearest bus stop to Pwll Deri is at Trefasser Cross, (around 1km away) which will take you back to Trefin.
During the winter months, there is a reduced service so you might want to hop in a taxi to Goodwick instead (4 miles away) and catch a bus back from there.
Follow in Derek's footsteps as he walks through stunning locations in Wales.
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