Bosherston Lily Ponds & The Stackpole Estate Walk

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Bosherston Lily Ponds & The Stackpole Estate Walk

An enchanting flooded valley, a haven for wildlife (including otters) and some great fishing. The valley opens out to the beautiful Broad Haven South bay. Take some bread to feed the birds!

Distance covered: 5 miles
Average time: 2.5 hours
Terrain: Easy going, some climbs over the headlands.

Directions & Gallery


Park in the National Trust car park on the headland above Broad Haven south and take the path down to the beach. The rock just out to sea is called church rock for obvious reasons.

Walk along the beach and turn inland at the far end of the bay, then follow the stream to the back of the beach. Climb up and over the stream and bear left to follow the edge of the ponds. As you are walking, look for the many small animal paths which cross the footpath to the ponds, most of the tracks are made by otters and if you are lucky you have a chance of seeing one.

After about a mile you will meet a small river. At this point bear left into the sand dune system and follow any of the paths which double back in the direction from which you have come.

History of Bosherston  and Stackpole:

The 80 acres of lakes were created by the damming of the three narrow limestone valleys in 1780 and 1860 by the Earls of Cawdor, owners of the Stackpole estate. The estate once centred on an elegant baronial mansion, Stackpole Court. During the Civil War the Earls took the side of the King, and the house was besieged by Parliamentarians, to whom they eventually surrendered. A newer home of limestone was built in later years with extensive gardens, greenhouses and fine collections of plants. Unfortunately much of the Stackpole Estate was requisitioned in the war to create a training ground for troops. Merrion camp still occupies this land. Unfortunately, this made the upkeep of the estate unviable and The Cawdors left, returning to their Scottish estates. Crippling taxes on the empty mansion meant it was demolished in 1963, leaving only the outbuildings and the parkland that includes Bosherston Lily Ponds.

Walk along the western edge of the ponds, rounding the end of the tongue of the lake, then continue, walking back down the other side. Cross the stone causeway to the other side of the lake and again follow the path to the right. If you remembered to bring bread for the birds, this is the best place to hold out you offerings. The birds here are so tame they will actually feed from your hands if you stay still!

When you see the grassy bridge on your right, don’t cross it, instead carry straight on. After a way you will see the former site of Stackpole court. Cross the eight arch bridge and follow the path out across the fields emerging in the beautiful 18th century harbour of Stackpole quay. The boat house tea room is a great place to stop and replenish your energy.

Now head south (bear right as you stand facing the coast) and follow the coastal path to Barafundle Bay. Once you have finished exploring this beautiful bay, backed by sand dunes and woodland, you can climb back up the costal path and on towards Stackpole Head and its guillemot and razor bill colonies. Keep your eyes peeled for choughs.

To complete the walk, continue on the path back down onto Broad Haven and up into the car park.