Little Haven to Martin’s Haven.
As you come to the southern end of St Brides Bay the coastal scenery changes and the astonishingly red sandstone cliffs peppered with yellow algae come into view. Much lower and covered in wild flowers in late Spring and early Summer, this is a real contrast to the path to the north. High crumbly cliffs and steep hills lead you out of Little Haven and then you enter some woodland along Borough Head. The top branches are stunted and bare from exposure to the westerly winds and sea spray. There are some inlets with captivating names like Brandy Bay and Dutch Gin – harkening back to the dodgy historical activities that took place .
Mill Haven is attractive and the views back across the whole of St Brides bay are breathtaking. St. Brides Haven is very picturesque with its bright red cliffs, Victorian church, walled gardens and lime kiln. On a more practical note, there is some parking and a toilet block – reached down a long winding lane, it can be a surprise to find quite a few people here, but it is popular with divers and sub-aqua fans. There are grassy banks to picnics, an interesting beach and pools to explore and partly exposed stone coffins uncovered by the winter winds in the pretty churchyard, if you time to take a break here.
Another unexpected sight may be the castle of St Brides – once part of the Kensington Estate, it has park lands and an extensive and impressive wall despite being on the clifftops. The coast path trail will lead you around the walls – the ramparts are substantial and the path in May, when we walked it, an abundance of bluebells, meadowsweet and thrift to mention just a few of the glorious wild flowers to be marvelled at. The heady scent of gorse in flower and the sounds of skylarks and swallows add to the pleasures of this stretch of the path.
As the path turns south you come to Nabs Head – named for its flint-napping past and the path here is not strenuous so you can stroll along enjoying the views and rocky outcrops. Cwtch Collie was a little disappointed that we could not go down onto Musselwick Sands as the tide was in, but this is a beautiful beach enclosed by high dark crumbly cliffs – beware not to get cut off by the tide – and accessed down a steep gully.
Unlike some of the more northern stretches I met several other walkers and it is always good to exchange a cheery hello or to talk over routes, favourite parts of the path and to find out where people have come from – regular coast path walkers or tourists only just discovering the wonders of our coastal national park! These lovely gentlemen taking a break had explored most sections of the path and mentioned the beauty of Barafundle and the fascinating manner in which the oil industry has been screened from the path further south as highlights for me to look forward to.
Ahead lies West Hook Farm – highly recommended campsite with sunset views to die for – and then Martins Haven – a rocky cove which is the departure point for boats to Skomer. Here there is some parking, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales information centre and booking centre for boat tickets. The Old Red Sandstone has now given way to intrusive igneous rocks and you can see the shapes of volcanic magma in the cliffs.