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Abtot Logo. Encounter Walking Holidays member number 5357

St Govans Chapel

One of the most stunning locations on the whole Welsh Coast Path lies just to the south of the village at St Govan’s Chapel, just beyond St Govan’s Head - the most southerly point on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. 

Access is determined by whether or not the Army Range is open but as it is most evenings, a short walk will get you down to the Chapel even if it’s not going to be open for your walk on the next day.

Wedged into a rocky cleft perched over the ocean is a flight of steep steps roughly hewn out of the cliff.

This leads you down to this iconic, tiny 13th Century vaulted Chapel with a simple stone alter and little else. 

Built over a cave it stands on the much older 6th Century site of a holy hermit's cell, the whole structure clinging improbably above the churning waters at what feels like the edge of the world.

The Holy founder was said to be an Irish Abbott called Gobham who was chased into this isolated and rugged location by a cut throat band of thieves and pirates 

He was saved from certain death the legend tells, when the cliff face itself split open and allowed him in to hide. 

In eternal thanks for this divine intervention Gobham set up his hermit’s home here, and lived on in the crack within the rock.

You can still see this split in the rock today complete with the indentations that we are told were made by Gobham's ribs from where the cliff closed around him.

Venture below the Chapel and you can reach the wildest rock strewn beach where a tiny stone cover protects a spring that was famous for curing Lameness and Blindness and which resulted in a frequent stream of pilgrims in days gone by. 

Those miraculously cured left their crutches in a pile on the Chapel Alter!  The spring has run dry now but if you head down there your reward today is to see a magnificent natural arch in the cliffs at very close quarters.

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