St Justinian/Porthselau

Short Walk

DISTANCE/DURATION: 2.1 miles (3.4 km) 1 hour.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: *Celtic Coaster 403 from St Davids to St Justinian (*seasonal, hail & ride).
CHARACTER: Rugged coast, cliff edge, wet and muddy inland from Porthselau, 0.5 mile (0.75 km) minor road walking.
LOOK OUT FOR: St Justinian lifeboat station, views to Ramsey Island, Carn Llidi and Whitesands seabirds, seals and porpoises.

In May and June, when wild flowers carpet the clifftops, the path at Point St John can provide exhilarating walking.

At all times of year the views to Ramsey Island, and its neighbouring outcrops the Bishops and Clerks, are breathtaking – and there is also a chance to spot dolphins and porpoises.

This is also an excellent area for seal watching. Look out for new-born grey seal pups in autumn; they are pure white for up to three weeks of life. Be quiet and try to keep below the skyline as you watch so as not to alarm pup or mother. It is vital that the mother is not frightened off suckling her offspring.

At Porthselau the underlying rocks are among the oldest in this part of the county. The Cambrian basal conglomerate was formed about 570 million years ago and is a colourful mix of pebbles and cobbles.

Just to the east of the route is Upper Treleddyn, a farm that was once home of a local heroine.

Margaret Williams took a rowing boat out in a storm in 1793 to rescue seven sailors from rocks beyond Ramsey Island.

For centuries the coast around St Davids was busy with the comings and goings of boats and small ships. In the first millennium after Christ St Davids lay at the centre of the Celtic world and this coast was an important point of arrival and departure.

The tradition is that St Patrick set out on his mission to Ireland in the 430s from Whitesands Bay. Later, pilgrims would arrive at St Justinian.

Above the lifeboat station look out for St Justinian’s Chapel. The ruined structure dates from the 16th century but it is thought to stand on the site of an earlier chapel founded by Justinian.

To the east of the route are the marshy areas of Pwll Trefeiddan, a haven for dragonflies and damselflies.

The small crag above the marsh is Clegyr Boia, said to have been a stronghold of St David’s adversary Boia, a Celtic chieftain.

St Justinian is very popular and is the embarkation point for boat trips.

The route of the Celtic Coaster minibus service includes St Justinian – it’s the easiest way to reach this lovely location.

Find this walk

Grid ref: SM724256


  • 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