Monday, 11 March 2002

Coastwalk , Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Angle → Bosherston

[Thorn Island][Castlemartin Ranges]

Distance: 15.7 miles
Ascent: 601 metres
Duration: 5 hours 16 minutes

Tanks and detours
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The weather's still not improved, so in a way I was glad that the Castlemartin Tank Ranges were closed to the public today, forcing me to use the much more weatherproof road surface rather than muddy paths.

From Angle to Freshwater West the path is very plesant, along the clifftops round the end of the peninsula and past the isolated hotel on Thorn Island. Once at the beach though, the red flags and barbed wire begin and it's clear you'll not be seeing the sea again for a while.

As I headed up towards Castlemartin, muttering to myself about how I should be allowed access to the ranges, I heard a loud whoosh to my right, just in the next field, starting behind me and finishing well ahead. At that point I shut up and made content with following the road.

[The Green Bridge of Wales]At Castlemartin, the road to the south was closed so I continued east towards Warren. Just west of Warren is an observation tower for the firing range. As I stepped into the car park it began to rain. Squinting to the south I couldn't see anything happening, but just as I was about to give up the old man in the nearest car wound down the window. "Hop in, then," he said. Sitting in the warmth of his car - and with the help of his binoculars - I was shown the tanks and targets, and given a brief history of the area. It seems there are few ways to pass the time in this part of the country, so watching tanks in the rain is a real treat.

[St Govan's Chapel]Back on the road, I walked on through Warren village, past the camp at Merrion to Sampson Cross where I turned southwards towards the sea again. The tank ranges prevented me from reaching the coast again, so I stopped at Bosherston for a taxi back to the car.

By the time I'd collected the car, the ranges were open once more so I took the opportunity to drive down to Stack Rocks to see the Green Bridge, then drive on again to the coast at St Govan's Head and climb down to St Govan's Chapel, hidden from view half-way down the cliff face.

Posted by pab at 22:15