Great Castle Head

Short Walk

DISTANCE/DURATION: 2.8 miles (4.5 km) 1 hour 30 minutes.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Service bus Herbrandston/St Ishmaels 315/316, *Puffin Shuttle 400 (*seasonal, hail & ride).
CHARACTER: Fields, coast and woodland, 0.5 mile (0.75 km) minor road walking.
LOOK OUT FOR: Iron Age fort at Great Castle Head and view of Milford Haven Waterway.

Great Castle Head offers excellent views of Milford Haven Waterway, the port and the refinery. The port was founded in the late 18th century and among the early settlers were whalers from Nantucket, refugees from the American War of Independence.

A superb natural harbour, the waterway has been busy with shipping over many centuries. Medieval traders sailed from here to ports in England and France; ships were built for the Royal Navy at Milford Haven and later at Pembroke Dock, and it was a forming up point for Atlantic convoys in World War Two.

In Pembrokeshire Iron Age settlements often go hand-in-hand with good views like the one at Great Castle Head. The fort is thought to be more than 2,000 years old and was a defensive feature, a settlement or perhaps both.

From Great Castle Head the route makes its way along the clifftop to Little Castle Head, also the site of an Iron Age fort. From Little Castle Head the path follows the bank of the beautiful Sandy Haven Pill, a waterway that can be crossed on foot when the tide is at its lowest point.

The Pill was a favourite with artist Graham Sutherland (1903-1980). Sutherland loved Pembrokeshire and one of his best-known works is the abstract Entrance to a Lane, which was inspired by one of the country lanes around Sandy Haven.

The painter was enthralled by the contrast of dark woods and sunshine that he found in Pembrokeshire. He wrote: “Rarely have I been conscious of the contrasting of these elements in so small a compass.”

As you walk look out for seabirds and for farmland species like the yellowhammer – a yellow, sparrow-sized bird often seen in summer singing its heart out from a hedge top.

Find this Walk

Grif ref: SM850068


  • 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