When I decided to do the one-mile circular walk at Bosherston Lily Ponds last year, it was teaming down with rain. Knowing I would be returning to Pembrokeshire for a holiday in 2021, I left it for my next visit. Thankfully, the sun was shining on my return, the birds were singing, and I was ready to explore Bosherston Ponds and Broad Haven South Beach on the circular walk!
This post will tell you how to do the Bosherston Lily Ponds circular walk, which includes walking around Bosherston lakes and spending time on Broad Haven South Beach.
Bosherston Lily Ponds are maintained by the National Trust and are part of the Stackpole Estate. Finding the correct lily ponds can be a little confusing. The Stackpole Estate has another car park and body of water where waterlilies also bloom. Make sure you end up at the right place, SA71 5DN, or you will be wondering where the ponds have gone.
Bosherston’s waterlilies are at their best in the summer months of June and July. I visited in May, and despite not seeing the waterlilies, I still thought the lakeside walk was spectacular. Bosherston ponds remain a haven for wildlife all year round – keep an eye out for the resident otters!
Where to park for Bosherston Lily Ponds
Park in the National Trust Car Park SA71 5DN (pay and display or free to NT members). Make sure to have cash with you as the phone signal for some providers is non-existent, so pay-to-park is not an option (as we discovered!).
Directions for Bosherston Lily Ponds Walk
Follow the pathway that leads past the Bosherston toilets on the right-hand side. You will notice signs about fishing, and so if this is something you fancy doing, you can sort out a fishing permit for the day at the visitor hut in the car park or before your visit.
Continue along the pathway down to the first pond and take either the slightly more scenic left fork, which takes you over the water across a couple of wooden bridges or the right fork, a straight pathway shaded by trees. Both routes will take you to Broad Haven South, one of Pembrokeshire’s best beaches.
I chose to take the circular route that starts at the left pathway.
If you want to extend your walk, keep an eye out for the wooden markers to Eight Arch Bridge located by the “Grassy Bridge”. This route will take you away from the lily ponds, but the views and the bridge are worth a peek.
Once you have seen the bridge, retrace your footsteps back to the lily ponds to continue across the “Grassy Bridge” to the beach. The good news is that the route is mainly flat gravel paths, so manageable for most ability levels.
Once I reached the sea, I ate my packed lunch and enjoyed relaxing on the golden sand before returning to the Bosherston car park via the pathway on the left-hand side of the ponds. If you are lucky, you will see the beautiful swans gliding along beside you as you walk back to the car park.
The pathway back to the car park from the beach was much denser and shaded than the opposite side. If it is a hot day, it may offer some protection from the sun’s rays (in addition to sunblock, of course!)
What to do at Broad Haven South Beach
If this is the first Pembrokeshire beach you have seen, you are in for a lovely surprise. The sandy beach is vast, with dramatic cliffs and dunes. The iconic limestone monolith called Church Rock dramatically protrudes from the sea at Broad Haven South.
The Pembrokeshire coastal path runs above the beach, and from here, you can walk 2km to Barafundle Bay, another beautiful beach in Pembrokeshire. There is also a car park at Broad Haven South, SA71 5DR, offering an alternative place to start the Bosherton lily ponds circular walk.
The car park at Broad Haven South is at the top of the hill, so you will need to walk down to the beach, cross to the opposite side, and head to the back of the beach near the sea inlet. The Bosherston lily ponds walk starts by the left-hand side of the small wooden bridge.
What to do in Bosherston Village
Bosherton is a tiny village, with a parish church, a few houses and a wonderful cafe called “Ye Olde Worlde Cafe”. After we completed the walk, we left the car in the NT car park while we wandered along to get some refreshments. The cafe is covered in ivy and looks like something from a picture book.
The cafe has two large outdoor garden spaces and we were seated in minutes. We ordered sandwiches, a pot of tea and scones with jam and cream – a delicious ending to a spectacular walk. If you prefer a cooling beer, St Govan’s Country Inn is just a bit further along the road from the cafe and also offers overnight accommodation.
You may also like to visit St Govan’s Chapel, a small stone hermit’s retreat with a fascinating legend attached to it. It can only be reached at certain times as it is accessed via the Castlemartin firing range.