Exploring the Pembrokeshire coastal path at Moylgrove

View from Banc Cottage in Moylgrove

It’s day one and we’re staying at Banc Cottage in a little village called Moylgrove in the Pembrokeshire National Park, only a mile from the sea at Ceibwr Bay. When we arrive at any holiday location, we are keen to find quickly find our feet, getting to know what’s available in our immediate proximity.

With the sea so close it’s hard resisting that draw of the ocean and the temptation to explore the beach, especially when it’s only a mile away from you and you can see it from your cottage. 

Not a jiffy in our walking guide books for Ceibwr bay

Without any guide books or maps we packed our bags and set off downhill towards Ceibwr Bay, with only the knowledge that the Pembrokshire Coastal path stretches all the way along the coast from Poppit Sands for 186 miles (299km) down to Amroth in the South.

Quite honestly we did not know what to expect or where we were going, but you cannot go far wrong (in theory) following a coastal path.

Ceibwr Bay is both wild and unspoilt

When we arrived, after passing the National Trust sign, we walked over this little stone bridge crossing the Ceibwr river, which has another alluring footpath, that runs parallel to the river, back up through the valley to Moylgrove.

First impressions were, it’s unspoilt, quiet and very wild! What a stunning little bay, we both really enjoyed exploring the beach and the rock pools, though unfortunately for us there was nothing much to find. The beach is very rough, littered with varying sizes of stones and small boulders, but is full of interesting wildlife.

The geological formations along the cliffs are spectacular, they have been folded and contorted due to shifting earth movements for the last 450 million years, apparently during the Caledonian era. Some of them so much so, we spotted what looks like a giant white ‘S’ on it’s side on one of the cliff peninsulas, which really highlights the extent of these movements.

Ceibwr Bay - National Trust

Arriving at Ceibwr Bay, near Moylgrove

Did you know

In the 19th century before the railways, limestone and culm used to be transported to Moylgrove by flat bottomed vessels, picked up by horse and cart and taken to a local kiln. It would then be converted into burnt lime for reducing the acidity on the soil in the local fields.

To get a better look of the coastline we set our bearings South

Part curiosity, part chance we decided to head further South down the Pembrokeshire Coastal path, we passed plenty of local fauna, beautiful wild flowers, Yellow Wagtail (on the RSPB Red list) and to top it off a Kestrel hovering in the wind above its prey.

We had read that the coastline along this stretch of the coastal path at Moylgrove was dramatic and indeed it was true. Amongst the jagged rocks, there were countless caves, huge arches, blow holes and plenty of small secluded beaches that make up this wild and lonely coastline.

Yellow Wagtail sitting on a rock

Friendly little Yellow Wagtail spotted in Ceibwr Bay

Further to the south lies The Witches Cauldron

It’s known as the Witches Cauldron (Pwll-y-Wrach), once a cave that’s roof collapsed during the Quaternary Period approximately 2 million years ago. On its South Easterly side, a stream disappears into the cauldron, whilst on the other there are a series of narrow underground passages connecting it to the sea. During high tide and stormy weather, the waves rushing through these tunnels then bubble and ‘boil’, acting as a blowhole, which I believe is why it is so aptly named. This is a sight I would love to see, though walking those cliffs in a storm might not be everyones cup of tea.

I understand that the Witches Cauldron draws a lot of attention during the summer from Wild Swimmers and Sea Kayakers making their way through during low tide. This video clearly shows a pair of young lad’s exploring the tunnels in their Kayaks, discovering a small waterfall within the tunnels which i believe to be where the stream enters.

Top down shot into the Witches Cauldron

Looking down into the Witches Cauldron (Pwll-y-Wrach) near Moylgrove

Did you know

The Witches Cauldron is overlooked by an Iron Age promontory fort (300 BC) called Castell Treriffith (or Treruffydd).

Though you cannot clearly see where the sea enters from upon high, you can immediately appreciate its potential for a small sheltered wildlife sanctuary for any species able to call this place home. We later found out that during September and October Atlantic grey seals can sometimes be found with their young on the beach below. Oh the photo opportunities here are exciting, if disruption is kept to a minimum.

Walk review: Pembrokeshire coastal path at Moylgrove & Ceibwr Bay

As I am sure you can tell, we really enjoyed exploring the Pembrokeshire coastal path at Moylgrove for our first day’s adventure. What more can you ask for, on your first walk of the week? stunning scenery in abundance.. check! rich wildlife diversity.. check! a rich and interesting history.. check!

The whole walk was about 5.34 miles, though for us that was door to door from our cottage up the hill in Moylgrove. There are plenty of steep climbs and descents as expected with cliff coastal paths. At times there were a few precarious stretches (if you suffer from vertigo), but nothing too challenging if you pace yourself.

We talked about bringing Sherrie’s parents (mid 60’s) maybe next time, but as they are both unsteady on foot and her father Paul is disabled, whom cannot walk far. We considered parking at Ceibwr bay and then helping them along the coastal path 1/4 mille to the Witches Cauldron.

This stretch of the Welsh coastline is without a doubt worth visiting, need I say more.

Scenery:
4.5 Stars
Enjoyability:
3.5 Stars
Point of Interest:
4 Stars
Average:
4 Stars
Moylgrove through Ceibwr Bay and onto the Witches Cauldron walk details

Here are the walk specifics taken from our MapMyWalk tracking app and details available locally, which include the readings from our pedometers on this refreshing coastal ramble.

  • Distance

    5.33 Miles (8.58 km)

  • Time required

    2 hours on an average pace and fair weather conditions.

  • Gradient / Ascent

    145 Metres (476 ft)

  • Parking

    Spaces available at Ceibwr Bay National Trust car park or Moylgrove village

  • Food / Refreshments

    Not on route, unless you detour uphill to Penrallt Garden Centre

  • Difficulty

    Several ascents and descents, that can be mildly challenging on the knees.

  • Acessibility / Path

    Not wheelchair friendly along the coastal path, however, accessible to the coast from either of the roads to and from the coastline.

  • Dog friendly

    Yes, but obviously kept on a lead on the roads.

  • Maps

    Ordnance Survey ‐ Landranger 145 – Map of Cardigan & Mynydd Preseli

    Explorer OL35 North Pembrokeshire

  • Toilets

    No. Only at Penrallt Garden Centre

I have included a link to a map, courtesy of Ordanance Survey.

You can find detailed instructions of a similar walk on-line via:

Though for this one, we just picked a direction and walked

Map for our walk from Moylgrove to Ceibwr Bay round to the Witches Cauldron.

Image Source: Ordnance Survey

Well I found out that I can share our walks recorded on our MapMyWalk app, so here is a link to the recorded walk specifics.

http://www.mapmywalk.com/routes/view/691683306

On the right is appropriate quick link Google map for Moylgrove and Ceibwr Bay that covers the area of our walk.

At the time of writing Google Maps seems to be displaying the wrong position, so if it doesn’t show Moylgrove please use this short link instead: https://goo.gl/maps/PsksP

There’s a National Trust car park along the side of the road at the coast.

  • Public Transport

    This walk is not easily accessible via public transport, however there is the Poppit Rocket bus service:

  • Travelling by car

    Arriving by car, there is parking available at Ceibwr Bay

  • Coordinates: 52.076906, -4.760354
  • Nearest post code: SA43 3BU
What did you think about the rugged coast at Moylgrove?