A Review of Walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path by Dennis & Jan Kelsall
Posted by Mark Armstrong 9th June 2016
Cicerone's guidebook to walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is another new edition, published in April this year.
The guidebook describes the entire Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail, a scenic 180-mile long-distance walk from Amroth, near Tenby, to St Dogmaels, north of Newport. The route is divided into 14 stages of between 9 and 16 miles.
There are some great positive things to be said for owning this guidebook:
The book contains two-way route instructions; it gives a main description of the south to north route (the authors preferred direction) and for each stage gives the description in the opposite direction. From someone that has written walking notes, I know that using guides to walk in the opposite direction to the instructions does not work well at all. The viewpoint and direction leads to a completely different perspective and the landmarks and pointers for direction are all different. So this is great for people who are doing just a small section of the coast path or indeed wishing to tackle it all.
As well as some mapping inside the guide, there is the addition of a 1:25,000 OS map booklet which shows the full route, providing all the mapping needed to complete the trail. This is very useful as it can be flicked open easily to the relevant page whilst you are using the book, much easier than unfolding a traditional map, especially if you're walking on your own (if there's 2 of you, one can have the map, the other can have the guidebook). And the maps obviously cover the coastal region, but also give enough area to cover the circular routes that can be taken inland.
As you would expect from a Cicerone publication there's a route summary table and comprehensive trek planner with invaluable information on transport and facilities en route. But also included, that you don't find in all guidebooks, are some suggestions for accommodation, very useful if you're looking to organise your holiday yourself.
If you're someone that likes to learn about the places, landscape and wildlife that you encounter on your walk, then you won't be disappointed by this guidebook. Jan and Dennis Kelsall have certainly done their research as the information about this coastal trail takes up more of the publication than the walking notes themselves.
My only criticism is about the use of the normal Cicerone layout. The Cicerone layout leaves a margin for additional information and pointers regarding something in the main text. As the additional historical and other information of interest is actually in the main text (as there would be too much to put it in the margin) there are very few snippets in the margin and on some pages it remains empty. I know this would mean moving away from the standard layout, but maybe a slight alteration of the layout would have been appropriate. In fact it would probably have saved some paper, but I certainly wouldn't criticise the authors for the amount of background information that brings this about.
You can enter our competition to win a copy until 2nd July 2016.
High Point Holiday's Wonderfully Wild: North Pembrokeshire Coast self guided walking holiday concentrates on a most spectacular section of the coast path with its volcanic headlands and glacial valleys between the town of Newport with its sandy beach to the lovely harbour village of Solva. It is a wild and rugged coastline with high cliffs and steep drops where the coast path hugs the edge of the cliffs to give wonderful viewpoints.