Manorbier/Swanlake Bay

Short Walk

DISTANCE/DURATION: 2.5 miles (4.1 km) 1 hour 30 minutes.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Service bus Manorbier 349, Railway station 1 mile north (SS069994).
CHARACTER: Rugged coast, gradients, fields and livestock.
LOOK OUT FOR: Beaches and spectacular coastal views.

Everyone probably feels a bit nostalgic about their childhood home, but when the 12th century writer Giraldus Cambrensis described Manorbier as “the most pleasant spot in Wales” he may not have been that far from the mark.

Giraldus, or Gerald as he is often called, was the son of a Welsh princess and a Norman father and his family, the de Barris, lived at Manorbier Castle for centuries.

The manor, with its castle, village and handsome church is a perfect example of the Anglo-Norman world that invaders like Giraldus’ grandfather Odo de Barri created in the south of Pembrokeshire.

The castle has survived the hazards of the centuries better than many in Wales.

When John Leland was surveying the kingdom for Henry VIII in the 1540s he was very taken with Manorbier it was “the most perfect model of an old Norman baron’s residence” and it is still one of the most complete castles in Pembrokeshire.

The route runs close to the castle and to Manorbier beach, which is perfect for rockpooling.

Signs of very early human occupation have been discovered in the area around Manorbier.

The people of the Stone Age lived so simply that they left very few traces of their presence, but archaeologists do find traces of the waste they left as they worked flints to a sharp edge. One of the Pembrokeshire locations where flint chippings have been found is Swanlake Bay.

Heading for the bay look back to the opposite headland, the Priest’s Nose. It has another clue to the area’s ancient past, the impressive Neolithic King’s Quoit burial chamber.

The chamber’s massive stones were once buried below a mound of earth or rock. Today, they are now exposed and make a striking landmark.

Tim Jones, Area National Park Ranger says: “I particularly like the coast here. Even on a day when the beach at Manorbier is busy you can walk over to Swanlake Bay and find that you’ve got the beach to yourself.”

Find this Walk

Grid ref: SS056977


  • 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