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Porthclais and Whitesands Bay

Starting point  and OS Grid reference:

Car Park at Porthclais (SM739242)

Ordnance Survey Map

OL35 – North Pembrokeshire.

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Distance:  7 miles

Traffic light rating:  

(For explanation see My Walks page)

Memory Map.jpg    gpx logo.jpg  

For advice on .gpx files see         My Walks page

 Click the PDF logo above to give a printable version of this walk without the photos.

Pembrokeshire walk Porthclais to Whitesand Bay sketch map  

To view route as a dynamic Ordnance Survey map click here.

Introduction: Porthclais is a small harbour set in an inlet not far from St David’s. It is reputed to have been built in the 12th century as the port for St Davids. The walk takes in an attractive stretch of coastline with some interesting rock arches. There are old limekilns at the harbour. The walk takes in the St Davids St Justinians lifeboat station at Porthstinian Harbour and the remains of St Justinian’s Chapel. You pass “The Bitches”, a number of rocks in Ramsey Sound between Ramsey Island and the mainland where the swirling currents are obvious and just touch the end of the beach at Whitesands Bay.

This very easy straightforward walk starts from either of the adjacent two car parks at Porthclais. One belongs to the National Trust (so free if you are a member) and it has a kiosk serving refreshments. There is some road walking but the roads are very quiet and you will meet little if any traffic.

To get to Porthclais, head south-west out of St Davids and follow the signs.


Start: Turn left out of either car park (SM739242) and after inspecting the harbour, follow the coastal path immediately to the right of the harbour (as viewed from the road) indicated by the acorn sign. It is then simply a case of following the coast path to Whitesands bay. There are good views of Ramsey Island.

Coast at porthclais

Coast near Porthclais          Rock Arch

As you get to the area above the lifeboat station at Porthstinian Harbour (SM 723252), behind the wooden hut are the remains of St. Justinian’s Chapel viewable from the road only unfortunately as it is on private land.

St Davids Lifeboathouse at St Justinian

St justinians Chapel

The footpath passes between the small wooden hut and the top of the goods delivery “mountain railway” servicing the lifeboat station.

Continue on the coast path to Whitesands Bay passing and ignoring a stile clearly marked as private, going to a campsite.

Whitesands Bay

Follow the bay round beneath the campsite and turn right away from the coast over a small stone “bridge” – actually a single slab (SM 727260). Walk up the path ignoring a footpath to the left past a large stone gatepost.

Your path joins a track marked “Private” to the left so obviously you turn right and at the next broad track which is the entrance to Pencarnan Caravan site, turn left.

On reaching the road (SM 730254), turn left and follow it round the bend until you come to a road junction on the right with no sign showing its destination (SM 735254). Turn right here. The map indicated there is a lake Pwll Trefeddan here on the right but it was dried up when I passed.

At a crossroads, go straight ahead signed for Porthclais and follow the road to your starting point.

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All information on this site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.