You may have noticed, Bearleader likes a good hike. There is nothing like a day of fresh air, stunning scenery, a good story, and some simple fare. You can get by with any two of these and have a perfectly enjoyable day. Can you have it all? It’s not easy, but you can find it. This story is about walking Wales in one of those places that has it all. A walking holiday, if you will.
In the west of Wales lies the Dale Peninsula, a small piece of land ostensibly surrounded by water except for a small neck of low-lying land where the town of Dale sits. The peninsula is mostly farmland bordered by steep cliffs. The cliffs are distinctive in their own right. The geology of the area is such that tectonic plates have pushed and bent the geology into unbelievable knots of rock. And seeing the tension revealed in the earth makes evident the changing ever-moving relationship between land and sea.
A peninsular so uniquely and prominently jutting out into the sea is sure to have strategic significance. And the various installations, constructions and ruins scattered around the perimeter are testament to the importance of this tiny piece of land over the years. Light houses, communication towers, battlements and key historical sites can all be found along this fascinating pathway.
We started our walking Wales trek from the National Trust car park at Kete. You can also start in Dale but Kete puts you closer to Henry’s Landing so you don’t have to wait so long to come across this part of the hike. From Kete we made our way west towards the edge of the peninsular. The hike is mostly around the perimeter of the peninsular so you are usually walking on the edge of cliffs with the sea to your right. With few exceptions the hike proceeds over gently rolling hills and is easily manageable for all fitness levels.
Walking around Frenchman’s Bay towards St. Anns lighthouse we passed several old lighthouses and some battlements. Once beyond St. Anns Head, we continued on towards Mill Bay the historic highlight of the walk.
Descending into a small gully down some wooden steps, we arrived at Henry’s Landing, a protected rocky inlet. In 1485 Henry Tudor landed here along with 2,000 French mercenaries funded by the King of France. From here Henry began his own walking Wales excursion which finally resulted in the Tudors taking the crown.
Surely the geography has changed somewhat in the intervening years. But evidence of geology much older than 1485 is visible in the cliffs that tower above the small beach so the place today is not without similarity.
Standing on the small patch of sand amongst the rocks, you realize how cramped it must have been for 2,000 people with their gear to disembark and make their way up to the cliffs above. At low tide we could stride across the gully in a few paces. It was clearly a good choice of landing spots and it would have been hard for Henry’s enemies in nearby Dale Castle to detect his arrival.
Following in Henry’s footsteps, we traversed our way out of the gully. From here, Henry overtook Dale Castle and made his way towards Bosworth to do battle with King Richard whom he defeated. We followed Henry’s path as far as Dale castle. Continuing along the cliffs, and soon caught sight of three transit towers in the distance. They resemble surreal sculptures. The path runs right under them so that was our next target.
In 1485 Henry Tudor landed here along with 2,000 French mercenaries funded by the King of France. From here Henry began his own walking Wales excursion which finally resulted in the Tudors taking the crown.
Looking around you find nothing but breathtaking views. Rarely even another hiker interrupts your view. A great thing about the Dale peninsular is that it’s never that crowded, so you will mostly be on your own. During our day walking Wales we only came across five other people.
Following the path we passed through fields of grazing cows, not the least bit interested in us. Only giving us the slightest notice as they focused intently on the bright green grass they were munching on. Don’t forget to close the gates behind you as you pass from field to field.
Soon we were back in civilization walking through the alleys of Dale. You might want to take a break at the Dale Boat House or Griffin Inn. They serve lovely pub fare with locally sourced fish. We had a very fresh fish pie that really hit the spot.
In Dale the trail got a little hazy. Maybe we enjoyed that meal a bit too much, but be on the lookout. Walk along the water past the parking lot and take a left into the residential area. Down the road you will see Dale Castle. Past the castle, walk through a meadow and you will soon be back at the sea.
The trail goes left up a short hill and then through a few more farms. This side of the peninsula we saw mostly horses. Like the cows, not at all interested or bothered by our presence. I did try to pet one since they looked so friendly. Not a good idea. Looks can be deceiving as it turns out.
A little further along, turn left to the car park and you are back where you started!
Our walking Wales excursion was moderately difficult mostly because it was quite a long walk. Good footwear makes it much easier. And like anywhere in the UK, being prepared for some rain is always a good idea. The weather has a funny way of changing when you least expect it. On this hike, we started in the rain and by the time we finished, it was all blue sky and sunshine.
The hike is only 7.5 miles and has total elevation change of 300 ft. All the paths are very well maintained and there are only a few short segments on paved roads in Dale.
This Walking Wales excursion can ge done year round. Even so, in the spring, summer and fall it is most beautiful. So take our advice and spend some of your holidays in wales walking. You will be glad you did
The Griffin Inn at Dale: Hours vary seasonally so check out their website for opening times when you visit.
Planning a visit to Visit Henry’s Landing? Here is the current weather and what to expect for the next few days.44°showers89% humiditywind: 10mph SSWH 46 • L 4348°Thu53°Fri49°Sat51°Sun49°MonWeather from Yahoo!