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Looking across Carreg Onnen Bay to the lighthouse at Strumble Head
Looking across Carreg Onnen Bay to the lighthouse at Strumble Head

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Route No. 486 - Tuesday 11 September 2012
Strumble Head, Porthsychan, Garn Fechan,
Garn Fawr, Ynys Ddu, circuit - 10km
Pembrokeshire Coast . . .

(Note: Strumble Head is known as Pen-Caer in Welsh,
Garn Fechan means Little Rock, Garn Fawr means Great Rock and Ynys Ddu means Black Isle in English)

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL35 North Pembrokeshire


Looking out to Pwll Bach from the coast path
Looking out to Pwll Bach from the coast path

Looking back to the lighthouse on Strumble Head
Looking back to the lighthouse on Strumble Head

Heading east along the coast path from Strumble Head
Heading east along the coast path from Strumble Head

From the car park we walked east, back along the road for about 200m to a right hand bend in the road. Here we continued straight on, to follow the Pembrokeshire Coast Path through the heather along the cliff tops. The coastal scenery was wonderful and I was tempted to take far too many photographs. We walked along the coast path for a little over a kilometer to an inlet with a boulder strewn shingle beach, called Porthsychan.

This week my wife and I are staying in a holiday cottage on the Pembrokeshire Coast a couple of kilometers east of Fishguard. After a wet day yesterday when we visited St. Davids the weather forecast expected a bright day today. We drove through Fishguard and Goodwick to a little car park on Strumble Head about 5km west of Goodwick opposite the lighthouse at map ref. SM895412. Leaving the road on the coast path
Leaving the road on the coast path

Heading east along the coast path from Strumble Head
Heading east along the coast path from Strumble Head

The boulder srewn beach at Porthsychan
The boulder strewn beach at Porthsychan

Looking back to our turn off the coast path
Looking back to our turn off the coast path

The gate into a wet overgrown track
The gate into a wet overgrown track

At last the track dried out
At last the track dried out . . .

Closing the gate at the road by Tai-bach
Closing the gate at the road by Tai-bach

This was our route so much to my wife's dismay we went through the gate on our right and pushed our way through the undergrowth paddling along the sodden path for about 400m. At last we emerged into a sheep pasture and followed the path across the fields for another 300m to a road at map ref. SM907398 next to a farm called Tai-bach.

Here we turned away from the coastal path to follow a wet grassy track for about 200m up to a wet stony farm track at map ref. SM904405. At this track we turned left to paddle along it for about 150m. Here there was a gate across the track and another gate on our right to an overgrown track with a small stream running out of it.

We joined a wet stony farm track
We joined a wet stony farm track

Pushing our way along the wet overgrown track
Pushing our way along the wet overgrown track

. . . but the track was still overgrown in places
. . . but the track was still overgrown in places

Access road to North Pole farm
Access road to North Pole farm

Turning off the access road just before North Pole farm
Turning off the access road just before North Pole farm

Path across open access land above North Pole farm
Path across open access land above North Pole farm

Turning right at the track going east-west
Turning right at the track going east-west

Looking down to the lighthouse at Strumble Head
Looking down to the lighthouse at Strumble Head

Much of this ridge is open access land. About 400m from the North Pole access road we cam to a track going east-west at map ref. SM906392. Here we turned right to walk along the track for about 350m. Here there is a stile on the left leading into another block of open access land and there is a good path to follow beside a wall leading up to the top of the ridge to a crag called Garn Fechan or Little Rock.

At the road we turned left and walked along the road for about 150m. Here we turned right off the road to walk up the access road towards another farm charmingly called 'North Pole' on the map. Just before we reached the North Pole we turned right off the access road to follow a path around the farm heading generally south across some heather open access land. We were climbing up to a rocky ridge running on an east-west line.

Path going south on the edge of open access land
Path going south on the edge of open access land

The stile to the path over open access land to Garn Fechan
Stile to the path over open access land to Garn Fechan

Looking inland from Garn Fechan
Looking inland from Garn Fechan

The crag called Garn Fechan, Little Rock
The crag called Garn Fechan, Little Rock

Looking out to sea from the chairs below Garn Fechan
Looking out to sea from the chairs below Garn Fechan

Descending from Garn Fechan towards Garn Fawr
Descending from Garn Fechan towards Garn Fawr

Path around Garn Fawr looking down to the coast
Path around Garn Fawr looking down to the coast

Path around Garn Fawr
Path around Garn Fawr

We continued on around the crag to a road at map ref. SM898387. We crossed the road and took the path opposite next to a car park area. We followed the path towards another much larger crag called Garn Fawr, or Great Rock. There's a path to the top of the crag where there was a prehistoric fort. We followed the path around the base of the crag and out to a road at Tal-y-Gaer farm, map ref. SM892388.

Next to the crag on top of the ridge there were a few chairs turned upside down to keep the rain off and we turned a couple of them over to sit for a drink and to admire the view out to the sea. It was a very attractive spot. Below us to our right there were some teepee's which may have been holiday accommodation. I think the occupants were responsible for the chairs, so thanks for the use of them!

Approaching Garn Fawr next to the car park
Approaching Garn Fawr next to the car park

Path around Garn Fawr
Path around Garn Fawr

Approaching Tal-y-Gaer farm from Garn Fawr
Approaching Tal-y-Gaer farm from Garn Fawr

The path down from Garn Fechan heading for garn Fawr
The path down from Garn Fechan heading for garn Fawr
Rejoining the Pembrokeshire Coast Path below Tan-y-Gaer farm
Rejoining the Pembrokeshire Coast Path below Tal-y-Gaer farm

Coast path dropping down towards Ynys Ddu
Coast path dropping down towards Ynys Ddu

Just beyond it around the coast a small island called Ynys Ddu, the Black Isle. Near here we found a comfortable flat rock to sit on for our lunch. Quite a number of people came by whilst we sat there showing just how popular the coast path is.

Here we rejoined the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. We crossed the road and followed the coast path down to a small rocky peninsular where a couple were sitting for their lunch.

Approaching a little bay called Pwll Arian
Approaching a little bay called Pwll Arian

Looking back along the coast path to Garn Fawr
Looking back along the coast path to Garn Fawr

Seals on the beach at Pwll Arian
Seals on the beach at Pwll Arian

Following the coast path back towards Strumble Head
Following the coast path back towards Strumble Head

In this inaccessible cove there were about a dozen seals hauled up on the beach protected from any interference by the high sheer cliffs.

After our break we continued along the coast path for about a kilometer to an inlet called Pwll Arian where there is a single beach far below the cliff top path.

Following the coast path back towards Strumble Head
Following the coast path back towards Strumble Head

Typical splash of wild flower colour by the path
Typical splash of wild flower colour by the path

Craggy headland on the way back to Strumble Head
Craggy headland on the way back to Strumble Head

Almost back at Strumble Head
Almost back at Strumble Head

One more drop into a gulley . . .
One more drop into a gully . . .

It's a wonderful place to walk and I can't believe that I've never been here before. What an omission!

We walked along the coast path for another 1.5km back to the car park by the lighthouse. The whole way the coastal scenery is breathtaking.

Another deep gulley running out to the coast
Another deep gully running out to the coast

. . . and one more steep climb out
. . . and one more steep climb out

Approachig the car park on Strumble Head at the end of our walk
Approaching the car park on Strumble Head at the end of our walk