Bosherston Lily Ponds

Adventure walk

Adventure walk: 3.0 miles (4.8 km)
Character: Lily ponds, beach, great views, gradients and uneven surfaces.
Toilets: at Stackpole Outdoor Learning Centre (during opening hours), disabled access.

How to get there

Public transport: Coastal Cruiser (wheelchair accessible)
Own transport: South Pembrokeshire, 5 miles south of the town of Pembroke. Approach via the B4319 road. Parking is free.

This walk starts at the National Trust centre, Stackpole Outdoor Learning and passes alongside the eastern arm of the famous Bosherston lily ponds to end at a viewpoint over Broad Haven South beach. Some of the paths are uneven, and there are some steep gradients.

The Stackpole Estate is owned and managed by the National Trust and the lily ponds are part of a National Nature Reserve. June is the best time to see water lilies.

The marshy edges and reed-beds are a good habitat for breeding coot, moorhen, mute swans, herons and kingfishers.

Dragonflies abound – more than 20 species have been recorded – and quiet watching may reveal otters.


Proceed towards lane opposite car park (wheelchair sign on wall on right hand side) follow lane down to lily ponds. Follow pavement on right side of lane (minimum width one metre) to descend slope along a series of bends. Steep sections (1:9 to 1.12) to first bend.

After second bend, cross fall to left of 1:9 to 1:18 for 18 metres and steep section up to 1:8 for 50 metres. On third bend there is a gradient of 1:8 with a cross fall to the left of  1:12 to 1:18 for 14 metres.

At the bottom of the slope opposite the eight arch bridge there is a choice of three routes: either turn right to proceed to Broad Haven South beach; turn left to go to bird hide in old boat house or go out onto eight arch bridge for views.

To Broad Haven South beach: turn right with immediate cross fall of 1:6 to the right, Tarmac path continues for 2 metres then compacted stone surface for remainder of route alongside the edge of the lake.

After 58 metres there is a descent of 1:6 for 10 metres to a bench and viewpoint. As you follow the path, there are some steep sections: up to 1:6 for 9 metres; up to 1:9 for 9 metres; up to 1:8 for 22 metres and up to 1:9 for 10 metres.

The path then narrows to 0.9 metre width  for 116 metres with one passing place and a cross fall of 1:10 for 2 metres to the pond. The path widens again to a minimum width of 1.2 metres and there are two sections of cross fall to the pond of 1:7 for 3 metres and 1:10 for 3 metres.

There are some more steep sections: up to 1:15 for 15 metres; up to 1:8 for 16 metres two cross falls to pond – 1:12 for 25 metres and 1:12 for 3 metres and gradient up to 1:8 for 2 metres. Pass bench at viewpoint before turning left onto bridge (uneven surface of turf for 14 metres).

As you follow path towards beach there are some steep sections up to 1:12 for 21 metres; up to 1:18 for 49 metres; 1:9 to 1:18 for 36 metres together with cross fall of 1:6 to pond for 3 metres. The path here is uneven and there may be sand on the path in places.

Two further steep sections, up to 1:14 for 5 metres and up to 1:10 for 8 metres until you reach the bench at the viewpoint over beach. Retrace steps.

To bird hide: at the bridge turn left to go to the bird hide along the narrow footpath alongside the pond. As you follow the path, there are some steep sections: up to 1:8 for 22 metres; up to 1:6 for 22 metres; up to 1:9 for 9 metres, and just before the old boat house up to 1:8 for 8 metres and 1:12 for 10 metres.

The boat house doubles as a bird hide and has information panels; there is  ramped access on the far side (up to 1:6 gradient down). Past the boat house the path rises: with a 1:10 gradient for the first 10 metres, then steadily (up to 1:12) for 100 metres.

The final stretch to the top has some steep gradients: up to 1:8 for 7 metres; up to 1:6 for 28 metres and finally up to 1:6 for 27 metres. Turn left onto the tarmac path at the top and follow it through the lawn.

(This is the site of the grand house Stackpole Court which was demolished in 1963). Cross the lawn to the right for a view over the lily pond from the terrace. Retrace steps.

To Stackpole Quay: from the eight arch bridge it is possible to walk to Stackpole Quay where there is parking, tea rooms and toilets. The distance is 1,460 metres along a wide lane with a compacted stone surface.

There may be electric fencing across this path. When this is the case, please take care in unhooking the wire with the insulated handle and make sure to reattach it after passing through.


Find this Walk

Grid ref: SR975955