North Pole

Half Day + Walk

DISTANCE/DURATION: 5.0 miles (8.0 km) 2 hours 30 minutes.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: *Strumble Shuttle 404 (*seasonal, hail & ride).
CHARACTER: Moderate grade, can be wet and muddy, fields and livestock, 3.5 miles (5.75 km) minor road walking.
LOOK OUT FOR: Superb inland scenery, old hamlets of Pontiago and Llanwnda civil aircraft beacon, Bronze Age standing stone and Neolithic burial chamber.

The superb inland scenery of Pen Caer is well worth exploring and the views to Strumble Head and the sea are breathtaking. This is a landscape created by very dramatic geological events between 500 and 440 million years ago.

Then volcanoes were active in much of what is now Pembrokeshire, throwing out lava flows that cooled to form very hard igneous rocks. In some places the volcanic upwelling of molten rock did not reach the surface, but cooled slowly below the ground.

Over millions of years these igneous intrusions have resisted erosion far better than surrounding layers to become the rocky crags like Garn Fawr, Y Garn and Garnwnda.

The route’s name is from a property called North Pole, which the path passes. Local tradition is that timbers used to build the house were salvaged from a ship of the same name that came to grief on Strumble Head.

Look out for traditional Pembrokeshire cottages with colour-washed walls and sometimes a smooth, cement-covered roof. Thatch was used for centuries for roofing in rural Wales but most cottages were re-roofed with slate in the 19th century.

The little church dedicated to St Gwyndaf at Llanwnda is a perfect example of the Celtic design that is a feature of the north of the county. It is a modest building, quite different to the powerful tower churches of villages in the Norman south of the county.

Pen Caer suffered the worst of the looting carried out by the French troops who invaded Pembrokeshire in 1797. The ill-fated force landed at Carreg Wastad Point, a little to the north of Llanwnda.

Once ashore the force of 1,500 men seem to have been intent mostly on getting drunk. One lucky find for the invaders was a stock of drink ready for a wedding at Trehowel Farm.

Their most concerted military operation seems to have been to storm Llanwnda church where silver plate was taken. Very soon after the force surrendered at Goodwick.

Find this Walk

Grid ref: SM922389


  • Enjoy the countryside and respect its life and work
  • Guard against all risk of fire
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Keep your dogs under close control
  • Keep to public paths across farmland
  • Take your litter home