Walk Distance: 2.3 km
Walk Duration: 1 hr at toddler speed (it took us 1hr 30 with plenty of time for watching the seal pups & visit to info centre included).
Ordnance Survey: OS Landranger 157 St. David’s & Haverford West; OS Explorer OL36 South Pembrokeshire
Suitable for: Babies in carriers, older children, good little walkers with caution – the walking is fairly easy and flat on short grazed grass (just a couple of small, short uphills) but the sheer cliffs and exposed nature of the headland mean you’ll want to bring reigns or hold tight to small hands and keep dogs on a lead.
Walk Features: Fantastic views out to nearby Skomer and many other of Pembrokeshire’s islands; dramatic cliff-top walk, flat grassy paths, opportunity to spot seals with seal pups sometimes on the beaches during autumn, cows and other animals sometimes grazing here.
Martins Haven is at the very end of remote Marloes peninsula in Pembrokeshire. It is more often known as the jumping off point for Skomer Island, fames for its puffins and other bird-life. The deer park at very end of the headland (no deer despite the name) is a great place to visit in its own right and a must if you can’t get on the boat trip to Skomer.
The Martins Haven walk offers great views out to Pembrokeshire’s islands from flat paths. In autumn there is also the chance to spot seal pups on the beaches below the cliffs – we did and it’s a magical experience that will always stay with us. Take care with littlies though – we walked there when it was blowing a hooley and I’m very glad we had a rucksack harness with reigns for then 2 year old Roo – there are some big drops from those cliffs!
The walk starts from the National Trust car park at Martin’s Haven. Head onto the lane from here, turning left down-hill and passing Lockley Lodge with its ticket office for the boat trips to Skomer Island on your right.
At the bottom of the hill, just as the lane bends round to the right, the entrance to Martin’s Haven deer park lies ahead of you. Walk through the gate then turn immediately left, following alongside the wall.
The path rises slightly to the cliff-side. Where the paths split, take the right hand fork, following the cliff-edge on your left. Walk along the grassy path following the line of the cliffs a few meters inland, enjoying the views out towards Skokholm Island.
As you round the corner of the cliffs, the views open out to sea, with some great ones over to Skomer Island which looms larger than life. These are the cliff-tops to take a careful peep over at the beaches below, as seals, and in autumn their pups, can sometimes be found here. You can read more about spotting seals at Martins Haven here.
Continue to walk on the path until you reach the end of the headland. If you like, you can take the walk out to the very end of the cliffs at Wooltack Point for a slightly better uninterrupted views out across the sea, islands and Pembrokeshire’s north-west coastline. The path gets a bit narrow though and I would not recommend this with little children or baby carriers in windy weather. You won’t be missing out too much on the views – they are already pretty good.
From here you can either cut back straight ahead across the grass for the most direct and easiest route back to Martin’s Haven car park or continue to walk on round on the path up the little, scrubby path towards the coast guard hut. When the coastguard is here, visitors are welcome to pop by (subject to whatever is going on that day obviously). It’s a nice point for another look out at the views in any instance and a more sheltered, safe one to look out from if you missed out on walking out to the end of the point due to weather/small children! If you’re stopping for snacks or a picnic, outside the entrance to the coastguard hut is probably the most sheltered, scenic spot along the walk and the safest with free-range children.
Turn right from the coastguard hut and walk back inland. The path goes quite steeply downhill to the left a short distance from here and you can see the entrance to Martin’s Haven deer park at the bottom of the slope. Walk down and leave the park to finish the walk.
Before heading back to Martin’s Haven car park, it is worth turning left down to the visitor’s centre which is located just before the public loos (another winning walk feature)! Here you can learn about the seals and other local marine wildlife as well as discovering what life is like under the waves. It’s only one small room but it has been set-up to interest the kids with the interactive information screen and displays. Carry on down the lane to reach a small rocky beach from where the boat leaves Martin’s Haven for Skomer.
Walk back up the hill to Martin’s Haven car park. If it’s a hot day and Lockley Lodge ticket office is open, they sell ice-cream here and other bits and bobs alongside the tickets and souvenirs. There is also another information point here and live-videos of Skomer.
Map of Route:
The Martin’s Haven seals and islands walk starts from Martin’s Haven National Trust car park at the very far end of Marloes peninsula. Drive to Marloes and then follow signs to Martin’s Haven – it’s pretty much at the end of the road so you can’t go too wrong! Members can park for free (you will need your membership card, not just a car sticker), non-members will need to pay £4.
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