Short Walk

DISTANCE/DURATION: 3.0 miles (4.9 km) 1 hour 30 minutes
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Service bus Fishguard Town Service 410, railway terminus at ferry port
CHARACTER: Coastal, some cliff edge, moorland, fields and livestock, reasonably easy walking, can be very wet and boggy on Ciliau Moor
LOOK OUT FOR: Three Neolithic burial chambers • superb views of Dinas Head and coastline Stena ferry.

Fishguard Harbour is at the mouth of the River Gwaun, which rises in the Preseli hills and flows through the beautiful, steep-sided Gwaun Valley to the sea at Fishguard (the town’s Welsh name Abergwaun means ‘mouth of the Gwaun’).

Goodwick, which shares the bay with Fishguard, is one of a number of Pembrokeshire communities that have a Norse place name, a reminder of the time when Viking raiders and traders sailed in local waters.

Above Goodwick the headland is scattered with clues to the activities of much earlier generations, including standing stones and burial chambers. The most interesting, Garnwnda, is just off this route.
The arrival of the railway at Goodwick in 1906 brought major changes to what previously had been a small fishing community.

For a few years before the outbreak of World War One passenger liners called at Goodwick’s newly-built harbour, but that brief heyday came to an end with the war. Of course, Goodwick remains a ferry port for Ireland.

Above Goodwick coastal heathland is being grazed once again to improve the habitat for wildlife. Ccattle and ponies eat bigger plants like bracken so that smaller wildflowers will again thrive.

It was on this rugged headland that the last invasion of Britain took place, in 1797. Just west of this route a pillar commemorates the landing by a small force of French troops.

The men sent to invade Wales were mostly ex-convicts and were led not by a Frenchman but by an American, Colonel Tate.

Once ashore Tate’s force of 1,500 set about looting farms and seem to have been more intent on getting drunk than consolidating their position.

What happened next has become the stuff of legend. They are said to have lost heart after they mistook a distant group of local women for a force of redcoats – the women were, of course, dressed in traditional red tunics and tall, black hats. The invaders surrendered on Goodwick Sands.

Find this Walk

Grid ref: SM948392


  • Take great care when on the Coast Path
  • Stay on the path and away from cliff edges
  • Wear boots and warm, waterproof clothing
  • Take extra care in windy and/or wet conditions
  • Always supervise children and dogs
  • Leave gates and property as you find them