Date Walked: 29th April 2013
Approximate Distance: 11.5 miles
Map required: OL36- South Pembrokeshire
Suggested walking guide book: Pembrokeshire Coast Path by Jim Manthorpe
This section of the path is within Pembrokeshire. Their Coast path Officer is Dave MacLachlan. His email is DaveMac@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk
The Pembrokeshire Coast is also a National Park who are responsible for planning decisions.
My third night in my new little Terra Nova Laser Competition 1 tent went without incident which might have had something to do with the amount of alcohol I had consumed the night before, but as with all camping I woke early and was up and packed by 7.45am. Looking at the map I could see that today’s walk was unchallenging. The dramatic cliffs being substituted by gentle undulations of the low lying coast of Milford Haven.
I wasn’t unhappy about that as yesterday had been exhausting and I have to admit to being a bit hung over after last night’s festivities at the old Point House.
The path starts from the harbour at Angle on a very pleasant metalled road and then takes a grassy track that closely followed the edge of Angle bay for about two miles.
This was mostly sheep country but I also passed a few fields of the famous Pembrokeshire potatoes.
Ahead was the ever more present oil refinery and on the far side of the Haven tankers were moored or passing by.
On the far side of the bay the hedgerow of sloe and gorse was stunning but my attention kept being drawn to the tall stacks of the refinery on the horizon. It’s a massive site, most of it out of sight at this point.
On the eastmost side of Angle Bay the path is diverted up a road past Fort Popton- a place with no charm or redeeming features that I could see.
For half a mile the view out is to the jetties and the tankers until I passed under the jetty itself.
This was a good spot to have the supper that I had not eaten that had been prepared for me by the kind owner of The Old Smithy at Merrion. I don’t think that I had had a pork pie for breakfast before but I enjoyed it and followed it by half my cheese and pickle sandwich.
I passed close by the back of the refinery…..
……and then joined a short section of a minor road that led past one of the churches at Pwllcrochan.
I must take issue with Manthorpe’s guide about this stretch. He encourages the reader to skip the 30 miles from Angle to Sandy Haven and take the bus. Readers of my blog will know that I am not against having a rant about the despoliation of the coast by the many ugly caravan parks that planners have thought fit to allow. But industry has to go somewhere and the oil and liquid gas we need to import has to be landed, stored and processed. Personally I find the sight of ships, refineries and power stations more inspiring than most other buildings I had passed on the path to date. I do not begrudge their company for a couple of days.
Leaving the lane behind the path then skirts the boundary of the NPower Pembroke gas power station which was opened in September 2012 and is said to be the largest in Europe. A pleasant little stretch through a wood was followed by skirting the muddy banks of the edge the estuary of the River Pembroke.
Here the path takes a metalled road and climbs up for half a mile towards Hundleton before taking the tarmac drive down to a farm called Brownslate.
After Brownslate, the path returns to a pleasant enough stretch through woods and fields and passes a modern hamlet called Bentclass before joining the road out of Hundleton that leads through Monkton into Pembroke.
Monkton struck me as a bit of a dump and I was clearly not alone in this as I watched a white van unload a load of rubbish on the side of the pavement and drive swiftly on. But the Church of St Nicholas and St John was nice enough.
The approach to Pembroke was hardly auspicious either.
But in the main street a friendly local told me which buses I need to catch to take me back to my car, which I had left 4 days ago at Saundersfoot. I had time for a sit and buy a drink and an ice cream and to quietly congratulate myself on having achieved a 4 day walk to have done so whilst camping.