During the wet and wild winter of 2013-14 we opened the first stage of the footpath network at Southwood Farm – a 2.5 mile circular route between Maidenhall car park and Pinch Hill, Newgale. Here are the route details.
You can also download the trail guide here.
The circular route is best walked in an anti-clockwise direction, starting from Maidenhall car park amongst wildlife-rich fields, crossing the charming wooded valley at Southwood farm, and returning via cliff top viewpoints, Newgale beach and the Pembrokeshire coast path.
The route has some sharp gradients, steps, gates and a stream crossing. The coastal route includes a well-maintained but naturally uneven coastal path which can get muddy after heavy rain. A short section follows a road, or along the beach if the tide allows. Cliff edges and rocky terrain near point 6 and between points 9 and 10 – keep children and dogs supervised. Dogs welcome, but must be kept under close control as the walk passes through grazing areas for cattle, sheep and ponies.
Allow 2-3 hours for this walk. Toilets, including disabled toilets and cafes are at either end of Newgale beach
1. Starting from Maidenhall car park (Ordnance Survey Landranger 157 map, SM 857 202), cross over the road and turn left through the field gate, following the edge of the field. When not growing oats and scarce arable plants, these fields are grazed by sheep.
2. Continue through the metal inset gate and along the edge of the next field, following the way markers. You’ll pass one of our newly reinstated hedgerows in the arable field – we’re returning more than 1km of this habitat to the farm thanks to a grant from the SITA Trust Enriching Nature fund. The large farm in the distance to the right is Southwood Farm. At the bottom corner of this field is a wooden hand gate – pass through this and follow the edge of the lower field round to the left.
3. Follow the way markers to reach a wooden hand gate in the fence. The path descends down the bank of bracken and bluebells to reach a bridge across the stream at the bottom. You’re now crossing onto Southwood Farm. Sheep may be present in this field.
4. Drop down a small bank and through the gate by a shallow stream, entering the woodland and turning left to head towards the sea. Beside the stream crossing is a magnificent ash tree, coated with moss, ferns and lichens. Its one of many characterful trees in these woods.
5. Follow the waymarkers across the field beyond the woodland, crossing a small stream valley before climbing into the next field, passing through a marshy area to reach a metal inset gate in the field boundary. The path then heads towards the coast along a fenced corridor.
6. As you cross onto Pinch Hill you’re leaving National Trust land. Skirt round the edge of a small quarry site and follow the path north, to the right, descending the coastal slope to reach the middle car park immediately behind Newgale Beach
7. Head back along the road or, subject to tide, along the beach or pebble bank.
8. Take advantage of the café and public toilets at the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park car park at the south end of Newgale beach before climbing the hill using the road.
9. Follow the coast path off this road. You re-enter National Trust land at the next hand gate. The cliff top land around Maidenhall Point is occasionally grazed by our ponies and cattle to keep the coastal vegetation in good shape.
10. Continue along the coast path, heading south, before taking a left turn inland. The coastal slope here is peppered with small hollows – the remains of Victorian coal workings. Pass through a wooden hand gate and cross the wildflower meadow to return to Maidenhall car park.
Things to look out for:
Maidenhall Point – this small headland at the marks the south end of Newgale beach, where the sands give way to a rocky shore packed with rock pools. A local paragliding school and club use the cliffs here by agreement with us.
Corn marigolds – The fields inland from Maidenhall car park are home to scarce arable plants in summer and gatherings of farmland birds in winter. Look out for the yellow corn marigold in mid-summer and for chattering flocks of linnets, skylark and goldfinches in winter.
Old South Wood – An old lane, lined with beach stone and edged with stonefaced hedgebanks, leads through this secluded wooded valley to Southwood farm. The route appears to connect the farm with the site of a long abandoned church beyond the woods. We’re opening up the next phase of the walking trails, into the woods, in 2016.
Want to see more?
Come to a Southwood Farm event in 2016
- Saturday June 25th – Southwood Nature Day 10:30 – 15:30
- Thursday July 28th – 50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾ 10:30 – 15:30
- Thursday August 18th – 50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾ 10:30 – 15:30
- Sunday October 30th – Hallowe’en event, 11:00 – 16:00
- December 12th – Christmas Fair at Southwood Farm, 10:30 – 16:00