St Justinian/Porth Clais

Half Day + Walk

DISTANCE/DURATION: 5.9 miles (9.6 km) 3 hours (shortcut to reduce time by half).
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: *Celtic Coaster 403 from St Davids to St Justinian (*seasonal, hail & ride).
CHARACTER: (2.7 km of road walking) rugged coast, cliff edge.
LOOK OUT FOR: Porth Clais harbour – views to Ramsey and St Justinian lifeboat stations.

Porth Clais is my favourite place on the coast so far,” says Rowland Hammett of the Cwm Clydach Ramblers.

The cliffs around St Justinian are sheltered from the worst of the wind by Ramsey Island so, as well as a profusion of wild flowers in spring and summer (thrift, squill, thyme, crowsfoot, campion) expect to see blackthorn and privet clinging tenaciously to the cliffs.

Maritime heath and grassland occupies most of the more exposed land on the cliff-tops.

Grey seals breed on the beaches below from the end of August, though Ramsey itself supports the largest breeding colony in the Park.

The extreme force of the tides in Ramsey Sound and the Bitches rapids is due to the meeting of the waters of the Irish Sea and St George’s Channel which, luckily for the sea birds and porpoises bring fish to the surface, providing easy pickings when the tide is running.

In the marshy areas around Pwll Trefeiddan look out for emperor, hairy and golden-ringed dragonflies and small red and southern damselflies.

Sparrowhawks, buzzards and kestrels breed in the willow-scrub and mallard, wigeon and teal live on the pond.

Here’s what Rowland Hammett has to say about the walk: “Porth Clais is my favourite place on the coast so far. I loved the harbour. Early morning watching the tide come in through the narrow harbour entrance. What can I say? St Justinian’s is something you really should experience yourself.”

Early Celtic Christianity is very much in evidence along this stretch of coast look out for St Justinian’s Chapel & Well at Porthstinan, also home to the Lifeboat Station.

Porth Clais harbour at the mouth of the River Alun was once the place where goods were brought in for the cathedral in St David’s.

Ian Meopham, West Sector Ranger for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority has done this walk. He says: “An excellent stretch of the Coast Path for spotting choughs, gannets, shags, cormorants and stonechats. Seals can be found all year round, but autumn provides an opportunity to view grey seal pups. At low water, porpoises can be seen. Coastal flowers are in abundance in the spring, with an array of flowers including kidney vetch, sea campion, thrift and squill.”

Find this walk

Grid ref: SM721251


  • 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