Distance: 13.7 miles
Max Altitude: 63 m
Min Altitude: 3 m
Height Gain: 354 m
Height Loss: 364 m
It was a windy day on the Wales Coast Path. My walk began in front of the memorial to a plane crash which happened during the Second World War. The memorial overlooks the site where Wellington IC, N2749, of 27 OTU, RAF Lichfield, crashed in the early hours of the 19th July 1942. There were no survivors.
I continued down Hamilton Terrace.
The sculpture is made from bronze and stainless steel, with fossils embedded around the base.
A few metres further along the Wales Coast Path was a third memorial. This was a tribute to the fishermen of the area. The inscription read ‘thanks to them Milford Haven flourished’, which I thought was lovely.
I’ve heard many people complain about this stretch of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, saying that it’s ugly and too industrial and so forth. And yes, maybe that’s true in many ways. However, today, to me, it looked glorious.
In another few metres I came to my fourth memorial of the day so far, and I had barely walked a couple of kilometres. This was dedicated to wartime mine laying operations and the port of Milford Haven.
I took a wrong turn and thought I’d found a fifth memorial. I hadn’t. It was a Celtic cross.
After rediscovering the correct route, I ended up at Black Bridge, crossing the tidal estuary.
From then it was a pretty dull trudge around the Dragon LNG terminal, which used to be an oil refinery. When I got to Llanstadwell I sat down and ate.
I found this sorry looking pair of discarded shoes. Would they ever be reunited with their owner?
I walked past houses along the side of the estuary until I got to the outskirts of Neyland at Brunel Quay.
in 1856 this place became the site for the western terminus of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Great Western Railway, hence the name. This whole area is dotted with information about the man himself and his most famous engineering projects.
Who knew that Brunel modelled himself on Willy Wonka though? Uncanny.
On the waterfront was this helpful plaque with all the various surrounding locations.
And I got my first glimpse of Pont Cleddau.
Prior to building of the bridge, the river Cleddau divided the area. The towns of Pembroke Dock on the south side and Neyland on the north side were less than 1 mile apart across the water but a 28 mile journey apart via road. Incidentally, the people of Aberdyfi and Borth still feel this pain (as do certain walkers who recently had to travel up and down the Dyfi estuary for two days!). The Pont Cleddau was opened in 1975 and these days costs a princely 75p to cross in a car. However, people on foot like me get to go over for free, which is marvellous.
First up though I had to walk across the smaller Westfield Pill bridge.
I arrived at the Pont Cleddau but started to wonder if someone was trying to tell me something with this omen hanging from a lamppost. I mean, it was a gusty day….
Across I went.
I got to the other side and carried on along the side of the water.
I was rather thrilled not only to reach this gun tower but also this multicoloured bench.
This is known as a Cambridge Gun Tower and was built in 1851 to protect the Royal Dockyard. It’s one of a chain of forts known as ‘Palmerston’s Follies’ built to encircle the Milford Haven waterway during the Napoleonic Wars. It’s now a museum, but it was shut when I walked past.
Passing through the town I spotted this rather timely piece of street art.
My stopping point for the evening was Penfro (Pembroke). In 1093 Roger of Montgomery built the first castle at the site when he fortified the promontory during the Norman invasion of Wales. I considered going in but it was too late in the day. Another for the return list.
Henry Tudor (the future Henry VII of England) was born here in Pembroke Castle in 1457.
I’ve seen many many memorials on my travels (not least today), and I’ve walked past hundreds of memorial benches in particular. However, I hadn’t seen a memorial bench dedicated to an English monarch until today.
My day was at an end. It wouldn’t be long until I was leaving the industrial parts of the Pembrokeshire coast. Barafundle, Manorbier, Tenby and Saundersfoot beckon….