Newport - Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Northern Section.
After St Davids, for anyone looking for a rest day on the northern Pembrokeshire Coast Path, then Newport provides the best option. Still not as well-known as the south Pembrokeshire holiday resorts like Tenby, it nevertheless retains a small but very loyal band of holidaymakers who return year after year for its golden beaches, rugged moorland interior and generally laid back and friendly disposition.
There are two main areas to the village, and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path walker arrives first at the older Parrog beach area, where higgledy-piggledy old fishing cottages line the very edge of the bay looking out to the magnificent sands of the Newport sand bar on the other side of the estuary.
Half a mile inland, the main centre by contrast is a former medieval village, that serves its walkers well. There are some excellent locally run restaurants with lots of fresh seafood as well as a bank, chemist, supermarket and Post Office.
There are also plentiful art and craft outlets, as well as a couple of curiosity shops that are well worth a delve in. Good accommodation abounds, including several high class restaurants with their own rooms, as well as the excellent Golden Lion Inn and several B&B options.
A quick wander through the village will reveal the remains of its stout Norman Castle sitting next to the 12th century church, the latter well worth viewing with its fine Norman font and huge tower sitting at the top of the village right under the Preseli Hills.
The wild and overgrown meadow like graveyard is so much more atmospheric than the usual green mowed lawn variety and it has fine views from this height over the golden sands of the estuary. For a short evening stroll head to the iron bridge just below the town which replaced an earlier crossing point of the Nyfer Estuary, said to have been destroyed to protect Newport from plague.
Just upriver from here at low tide, you can see the ancient pilgrim steps, where the only option to ford in the centuries between bridges, was to leap from stone to stone. This area is a superb spot for watching the waterfowl and passing birdlife amongst rich and sheltered marshes in the Nyfer estuary that are teeming with wildlife. On the way back into town, a two minute diversion will reveal the surreal sight of the ancient Carreg Coetag Arthur burial chamber sitting just behind a modern housing estate, where you can visit the very well preserved Neolithic Tomb - this one around 5500 years old with its capstone resting somewhat improbably on just two of its four uprights.
For a longer walk, visible from the town from all angles, head for the rocky peak of the Mount of Angels (Mynydd Carn Ingli,) standing proudly above the town and the first of the Preseli Hills. It’s from these moors and peaks that the bluestones for building Stonehenge were dragged, and if you arrive with the energy, it makes an excellent evening walk or better still a rest day adventure that is an excellent contrast to the Coastal Path. The magical name has stuck since the 6th century when St Brynach found that this lofty mountain was a spot he could climb in order to communicate with the Angels. The inevitable Iron Age hill fort is here, even if the Angels are not, and the views over Dinas Head and the Nyfer River are certainly heavenly and well worth the 350 metre climb. If you are lucky, you can spot Ireland itself, and according to the old folklore if you also happen to be a young maiden and remain there overnight then King Arthur will appear before you! Let us know on that one then. With a variety of water sports in the Parrog area of town, good food and a sheltered location, Newport makes an excellent rest day before the final push to the end of The Pembrokeshire Coast Path.