The Dale circular walk is a fascinating 7-miler with spectacular views, and stunning scenery. It’s also absolutely packed with things to see on the way.
With a couple of beautiful beaches, plenty of activity to see on the water, 2 lighthouses and some very interesting history stretching back 500 years you’re unlikely to get bored on this one.
So, if you’re looking for the convenience of a longer circular walk in Pembrokeshire where there’s never a dull moment this could well be the one for you.
The Dale Circular Walk
To start the walk turn right out of the car park on to the road. 100 yards along you will find public conveniences on your right.
Keep left on the road past Celtic Sea Watersports on your right and then the Griffin Inn. Once passed the Griffin Inn the road splits in to two – take the left hand turn up the hill.
Whilst this road is a very narrow one traffic does use it so keep you wits about you.
As you head up through the wood here you’re likely to hear the lapping of the ocean accompanied by beautiful bird song.
This road eventually leads to the Ocean Lab if you carry on and miss the coast path sign. Be sure to keep a look out for it on your right-hand side after aprroximately 1 mile. It is easy to miss which we’ve done on a couple of occasions.
You’ll be unlikely to resist looking down though the woods on your left as it feels like you are literally walking out to sea. This is probably why we’ve missed the sign a couple of times!
After approximately 1.25 miles (2km) you’ll arrive at Castlebeach Bay. The path splits a number of ways here, so be sure to follow the Acorn Signs. Approximately a mile along from here is Watwick Bay.
It’s a total detour of approximately 0.25 mile up and down (round trip) to Watwick Bay but totally worth it in our opinion. If you are looking for a place to pause for a coffee or snack for lunch you won’t go far wrong here. It is steep on the way back up. Watwick Bay comes at around the 2.5 mile point on this walk.
Close by is the Victorian era West Blockhouse. It’s now used as holiday accommodation and alongside are three navigation towers. Along with the one at Watwick Point they are used to guide tankers up the Haven.
Chances are the loud bangs you may hear are the firing of tanks from the Castlemartin range as opposed to some ghostly canon from days gone by.
After about 4.25 miles you will reach Mill Bay. Maybe not that well known, this place is of huge significance in British history. It was here that Henry Tudor (the father of Henry VIII) landed in 1485 with 55 ships and 4000 men. He was on his way to the great Battle of Bosworth where he defeated Richard III to become King (Henry VII). Just up the hill you’ll find a commemorative plaque.
Up ahead now you will see the two lighthouses and the former lighthouse cottages.
Also on the horizon you may well see a group of cows. When passing through the gate into their field you will probably think you have taken the wrong turn. You haven’t. This is a well-trodden path which you should be able to make out and you will probably find yourself walking almost right through them. This has happened every single time we have done this walk. While this can be unnerving these cows are more inquisitive than anything else in our experience. Handy to have poles though!
St Ann's Lighthouse
St. Ann’s Head Lighthouse with its cottages is approximately 5 miles into the walk if you have done it this way. This is the sunniest place in Wales with some of the lowest rainfall figures.
Once you’ve successfully negotiated the field of cows you’ll turn right on to the road and shortly after the former lighthouse turn left through a gate back on to the coast path. Do take care here firstly to actually turn on to the path and not to walk on down the road but also because the first 50 yards or so is very close to the cliff edge. If you are anything like us you’ll find yourself leaning to the right here!
Just around the corner you will get a fantastic view of Skokholm Island. Home to all sorts of birds, including puffins, as well as atracting dolphins, it’s widely recognised across the world for it’s wildlife.
West Dale Bay
The final part of this walk which is on the coast brings you to the magnificent beach that is West Dale Bay. Popular with surfers it’s also just a great place to chill and stare out to sea.
From West Dale Bay head through the gate which takes you across the field and on to the Castle.
When you get there you have two options to get back to the car park. Either straight on and follow the road right down to the front and turn right. Or, turn right and then follow the road straight back to the front.
How to get to the Dale Circular Walk
Getting to Dale is not easy, the village is a good 20 minutes beyond Haverfordwest, and the closer you get the narrower the roads become. So it will take some time. Slow down and enjoy the ride.
To get to Haverfordwest take the A40 from the North (Fishguard) or the East (Carmarthen) and when you get to Haverfordwest your best bet is to head up High Street and take a right at the traffic lights in the middle lane. Once through the lights you’ll be in the left hand lane. Stay in it and then on this road through the mini roundabout at Tesco.
Take a left at the Belle Vue onto the Dale Road (B4327) and stay on it. Dale is approximately 12 miles from Haverfordwest.
Where to park for the Dale Circular Walk
Thoughts on the Dale Circular Walk
This walk should take around 2 ½ hours walking time, but it may take you longer because there is plenty that will make you want to stop and admire or explore. And no doubt you will meet some very pleasant and like minded individuals like we did that you’ll enjoy passing the time of day with.
We love a good circular walk. And this is one of the best. You finish where you start without covering the same ground twice and there are no headaches over the logistics.
We hope this post will help you with that. If it has then check out our others on circular walks in Pembrokeshire including:
- Pembroke Castle Walk
- Carew Castle Circular Walk
- Dinas Head Walk
- Bosherston Lilyponds walk, and
- Marloes circular walk
We would always recommend wearing at least mid-ankle boots as a minimum on any Pembrokeshire walk as they can all be muddy, wet and/or rocky. You don’t want wet feet on a long hike and you certainly don’t want to be twisting an ankle. We’re on our second pair of these by Salomon which says a lot about how good we thought the first pair was.
Whatever the length of your walk remember to carry the right gear and perhaps most importantly a map and compass.
If you’re looking for a great book on the Pembrokeshire Coast path walks we thoroughly recommend this one. We’ve got the older version and found it brilliant when we walked the whole thing. It’s battered, bruised and well thumbed but we still use it today!
Where to stay near Dale
There are lots of places to stay near the Dale Circular Walk. Some of of which is on the walk itself. Which is handy. As well as a few B&Bs in Dale there are plenty of independants and guesthouses fairly locally. We always use Booking.com to check what’s available where.
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