Pembrokeshire by bus: The Poppit Rocket from Cardigan to Fishguard

The coastline from Cardigan to Fishguard includes some dramatic scenery and challenging walking. Cardigan and Fishguard are pleasant little towns, while Newport is an excellent base for walking and cycling holidays and St Dogmael's marks the start of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Trail.


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Day 1 Morning: Cardigan

Cardigan Village, Ceredigion

Cardigan Village, Ceredigion

Located on the Teifi Estuary the lively little market town of Cardigan is on the border of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The town is a good starting point for days out in the countryside. Wildlife enthusiasts should visit the Welsh Wildlife Centre within the Teifi Marches Nature Reserve on the banks of the River Teifi, a 30 min walk from Cardigan town centre. For evenings out Theatre Mwldan is at the heart of Cardigans’ community and offers a theatre, 3D cinema, Cafe and Tourist Information Centre.

Travel notes

The Poppit Rocket starts and ends its journey at Finch Square – to plan your journey visit Traveline Cymru

The Welsh Wildlife Centre is a 30min walk from the town centre. You can cycle there on the Sustrans Cycle Route (NCN Route 82), starting from Cardigan Bridge in the centre of town.

Afternoon: St Dogmaels

St Dogmael's Abbey, Pembrokeshire

St Dogmael's Abbey, Pembrokeshire

The riverside village of St Dogmaels is on the northern border of Pembrokeshire, close to the market town of Cardigan. St Dogmaels Abbey was founded here in the twelfth century on a site occupied by a pre-Norman monastery. St Dogmael's mill is one of only two working mills in all of Wales. The mill has been totally renovated and has a delightful café. The town's heritage centre explores its local history, with educational facilities for schools, colleges, workshops by local artists and rolling exhibitions of arts, in addition to crafts, a café and a market.

St Dogmaels is both the start and the finish of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Trail, depending on your orientation. This trail spans 186 miles along Pembrokeshire’s Coastline, while the northern section between St Dogmaels and Newport is the most demanding section of all. If you prefer to just hang out at the beach, then Poppit Sands is the place for you. This Blue flag sandy beach is backed with sand dunes at the mouth of the Teifi Estuary. Lifeguards patrol between the end of June and the beginning of September.

Outside town, off the A487 in Stell Henllys is Castell Henllys. This unique Iron Age hill fort was recreated with replica Iron Age roundhouses that were built right on top of the excavated remains of an existing hill fort, dating back 2,400 years.

Travel notes

Journey time from Cardigan to St Dogmaels by bus - 6min.

Day 2 Morning: Newport

Newport North Beach, Pembrokeshire

Newport North Beach, Pembrokeshire

Newport is a relaxing little town half way along the Poppit Rockets route; it is a town of two halves, the streets around Market Street and the area around the Parrog. Market Street offers interesting shops, cafés, pubs and restaurants. Good pubs in Newport include The Castle, The Royal Oak and The Golden Lion. Fronlas Café and Café Fleur are both on Market Street providing teas and lunches. There are also three excellent restaurants in Newport; Cnapan, Y Mochyn Drwg and Llys Meddyg. A number of interesting shops include Wholefoods of Newport, Jen's Pantry, Havards - an Aladdin's Cave stocking a wide variety goods including wetsuits and kayaks - The Gwalia Gift Shop, The Carningli Centre second hand book shop and The Newport Collective, selling a selection of arts and crafts created by local makers. The Parrog area was designated as a conservation area by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in 1999.

Newport is an excellent base for cycling breaks with easy access to some of the most dramatic scenery in the whole of the county. There are five dedicated cycle break routes within this area; three of these start from Newport and two start in Fishguard. The Newport routes all start at the Long Street Car Park (nearest bus stop - Castle Hotel Bridge Street) and vary from 25 to 32 miles. The Lon Teifi Cycle Route 82 also passes through the town, so there is plenty of pedalling to be done here.

Walkers can join the coast path at Newport to walk either north or south. Heading north towards St Dogmaels (15mi), there are demanding sections with steps and stiles, however you will be rewarded with cliff top views. The south route towards Fishguard (14mi) has some steep ascents, descents, steps and stiles.

There are two beaches in Newport - Newport sands and Newport Parrog. Swimming is not recommended at the Parrog due to strong currents but this is a delightful section of coastline for walking. Newport Sands has a Blue Flag and Seaside award. Lifeguards patrol between end of June and beginning of September.

The Eco Centre (Wales) on Lower St Mary’s Street was established in 1980 and develops and works across Wales on projects to help individuals and communities reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to climate change.

Travel notes

Journey time from Cardigan to Newport by bus- 32min.

Afternoon: Dinas Cross & Pwllgwaelod

Pwllgwaelod, as viewed from Dinas Head
Pwllgwaelod, as viewed from Dinas Head

The Poppit Rocket winds it way from Newport to Dinas and on to the cove of Pwllgwaelod. Pwllgwaelod was once busy with little ships, an inn and a limekiln today a wide expanse of open sand awaits you. Walking the Coast Path around Dinas Island is very satisfying and shows off The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park at its best.

You can hop off the bus at Dinas (Maesyffynon) and walk down to Pwllgwaelod or if you prefer, stay on the bus and it will take you down to the beach car park. Join the Coast Path National Trail here and head south towards Fishguard (14mi); a demanding section of the trail with ascents, descents, steps and stiles. Alternatively you can retrace your route north to St Dogmaels (15mi) through similar terrain.

The beach here is a small dark sandy cove with rocks on either side. The beach has a seaside award and is suitable for canoeing.

Travel notes

Journey time from Cardigan to Dinas Cross by bus - 42min.

Day 3: Fishguard and surrounding walks

Fishguard, Pembrokeshire

Fishguard, Pembrokeshire

Fishguard is a quaint little town of narrow winding streets. Fishguard comprises of the old harbour of Lower Town, the main town of Fishguard. Lower Town is particularly picturesque with its little harbour. A dramatisation of Dylan Thomas’ most famous play 'Under Milk Wood' was filmed here. The main focus of the town is The Square where you can find The Old Town Hall. Fishguard has a range of interesting pubs, shops, cafés and restaurants, including The Royal Oak on The Square, where the French surrendered shortly after landing to commence the invasion of Britain. This was the last invasion of Britain, launched in a disorganised manner by Revolutionary France in 1797.

Fishguard Fort is above Lower Town and is a superb viewpoint, complete with cannons. Take 5 minutes to stop and admire the view before continuing on your journey.

In Fishguard's Town Hall is the Last Invasion Tapestry, a 100ft tapestry that has been compared to the Bayeux Tapestry. Viewing is free of charge.

Walkers can follow 'The Pilgrims from the Sea' trail, one of the Saints & Stones trails, which runs between Fishguard and St Davids. If you choose instead to join the Coast Path walking north towards Newport (14mi), look for the brown acorn signs to follow the route. In addition to the Coast Path National Trail there are also some inland excellent walking trails and circular walking routes within the Fishguard area. Maps are available to download at Pembrokeshire Coast and Walking Pembrokeshire. The Preseli Walking Trail starts at Fishguard. At 67 miles long, it offers seven days of walking in North Pembrokeshire. Maps available from Tourist Information Centres in Fishguard Square.

Cyclists can follow the National Cycle Network routes 4 & 47, which pass through Fishguard. Two dedicated cycle routes start from Fishguard as part of the cycle breaks project. Visit Sustrans or Cycle Pembrokeshire for further cycling information.

On the events calendar, Fishguard International Music Festival hosts a superb programme of orchestral and choral related events featuring internationally acclaimed artistes and orchestras. There's a thriving folk music club who hold informal performances in The Royal Oak every Tuesday and a folk festival in May.

Travel notes

Journey time between Fishguard and Cardigan by bus is 55min. 

Transport

Strumble Shuttle bus, Pembrokeshire

Strumble Shuttle bus, Pembrokeshire

 by Pembrokeshire County Council

For all public transport we recommend that you check up to date timetable information with Traveline Cymru before you travel. For further destination information please visit one of Pembrokeshire’s Tourist Information Centres.

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