Milford Haven to Neyland

Neyland Circular
This is the third of a set of three walks based on Milford Haven. The complete set is
published in a booklet called ‘MILFORD HAVEN WALKS’ produced by Planed in their
‘Sense of Place’ series. You can pick up this booklet in TICs and other outlets. It is
A5 size with a stapled cover, printed in dark green on cream paper, and with a
picture of Pill Priory on the front.
Perhaps you have only seen Milford from the road. These circular walks quickly take
you away from the buzz of traffic to more peaceful and unexpected scenes, quite
unlike anything you will see from the car. All walks start from and return to the Tesco
car park at Haven’s Head, adjacent to Milford Haven railway station. Train services
are detailed in Arriva Trains Wales pocket timetable B.
The instructions in the text you are reading are a step by step guide to the walk, and
do NOT duplicate the text in MILFORD HAVEN WALKS. If you need the access
information or descriptions of historical features, you will need MILFORD HAVEN
WALKS. Other useful documents are OS outdoor leisure map 36, the Milford Haven
Heritage leaflet (for additional historical information), and the PCC bus timetable (if
you think you may not stay the course).
Late in the publication cycle, a couple of errors crept into the maps in MILFORD
HAVEN WALKS. Where these step by step instructions are in red italics, this
indicates a deviation from the mapped route.
Summary: The third walk circles the former Waterston refinery and the town of
Neyland mainly through meadows with some coast path, occasional stretches of
woodland and country lane, and a short walk through some modern suburbia – but
no town! As described, the walk starts from Haven’s Head and duplicates some of
walk 1. A shorter version involves starting from Steynton Church. This is described
as walk 3a. The walk is a figure of eight, passing Llanstadwell Church twice.
Whichever start point you choose, the walk can be shortened by an hour and twenty
minutes by omitting the loop beyond Llanstadwell. The walk crosses the route of the
356 bus several times (Blackbridge, Venn Farm, Hazelbeach, Llanstadwell,
Honeyborough, Brunel Quay and Waterston) providing an additional choice of short
cuts back to Haven’s Head. There are three pieces of furniture on this walk, of which
you should be aware before you start. As you walk along the Haven side of the old
refinery at Waterston, the path crosses two bridges. One takes you over some
pipelines 20 or 30 ft up, the other over a road, slightly higher up. Both bridges are
over cuttings, so you don’t have to walk up steps. But both bridges have a floor
surface made of strong steel lattice - rather like some fire escapes – which you can
see down through. Vertigo sufferers may find these a little daunting, as will some
dogs. For the benefit of dogs, a narrow but solid wooden walkway is provided at one
side of each bridge. The third obstacle is a six foot wall at Middle Scoveston Farm.
This is not as forbidding as it sounds. The wall has concrete steps through it and a
rail on top to help you over. You walk up one side, straddle the top, and descend the
other side. But again, this is an awkward obstacle for a dog.
The walk duplicates walk 1 as far as Blackbridge.
Haven’s Head: Leave the station by the approach road. At the roundabout, double
back down the Haven’s Head approach road on your immediate right, then turn left
before the Tesco filling station.
Milford Marina: Facing south, you see the road bridge over the end of the harbour.
Walk under the bridge and round to the left of the harbour keeping the water on your
right, past Milford Haven Museum on the left. Today, this end of the harbour is the
marina, the leisure part. Once it was covered with fish processing and packaging
sheds. These were removed and are being replaced by the modern developments
you now see.
Barralier House: At the end of the enclosed harbour, opposite Barralier House
(1907), named after one of Milford’s designers, go up onto the old railway trackbed
against the hillside on your left, and continue eastwards. Follow this surfaced path to
Castle Pill, where it curves left away from the course of the original railway, up the
hillside. Keep following it up the hill. On the right you will see a small brick hut, just
before you reach some houses.
Vicary Crescent: Just past the brick hut, follow the path on the right along the backs
of the houses. The path meets a road (Beach Hill) down the hillside. The path
continues across the road, just to the left of the garden of the house facing you, along
the hillside as far as a second road (Cellar Hill) which leads up from the Pill. Follow
this second road up hill past a row of cottages on your right. Just beyond the stone
garden wall at the end of the cottages, the hillside path resumes, climbing behind the
cottages, then falling to the river bank at Dudley Marine.
Dudley Marine: Follow the track round to the left, keeping Dudley Marine on your
immediate right. The track joins a main road by 30mph limit signs. Turn right along
the road verge watching out for traffic.
Blackbridge: Carry on across Castle Pill on the road causeway. Immediately on the
other side are three options for the next mile, none of which involves continuing along
the main road. In order of preference:
Option 1: If the tide is out, take the left hand fork and follow the obvious track up
the side of the pill. The track bends to the right opposite a valley on the other
side. Pick up the instructions for Option 2 at Vineyard Cottage
Option 2: If the tide is in, you can still take the left hand fork, but use a high level
route. It is reported that this path can be somewhat inhospitable. Waymarks have
disappeared, and the path is narrow in places, but it is only brief and you can turn
back if you don’t like it. So, take the left hand fork. As you round the bend to the
left, you can see the gate at the end of the driveway to Woodland Reach, a house
on the hillside further up the pill. The path uses the right hillside for a very short
way, until it reaches the gate of Woodland Reach (beware of the dog). It then
crosses the driveway before the gate and continues along the left hand fence of
the property, outside the property boundary. Finally it drops down to the pill track.
Vineyard Cottage: Continue up the pill on the track. About 50 metres beyond the
end of the pill, the track splits in two, the left hand track fording the stream, the
right hand track continuing up the valley. Ignore both these options and turn
sharp back right up the hillside footpath away from the river.
Ford: Follow the path up the hillside as it turns to the left. This becomes a
fenced track between fields. At the end, a gate leads onto the main road. Turn
left. About 100 yards on the right is the entrance to Venn Farm. Pick up the
instructions at Venn Farm.
Option 3: Take the right hand roadway. About 150 metres further, at the brow of
the hill, fork left into Castle Hall Road following round to the left. Just after it is
joined by a road on the right, turn left into a cul-de-sac. At the top, go through the
chicane into the next cul-de-sac. Turn right at the top and follow the road round
until the T junction at the top. Turn right into the main road, being very careful of
traffic until you reach the driveway to Venn Farm.
Venn Farm: Turn right into Venn Farm drive. You are on the Coast path for the next
hour or so. Just before the farmhouse the footpath forks left from the track. Cross
the stile at the end and go straight on across the field to a further stile. Cross the
stream and carry straight on to the next stile, where you make a right turn onto the
refinery perimeter road. This was once the Gulf refinery, subsequently the Petroplus
oil storage depot. More recently work has started in connection with liquid natural gas
(LNG). The coast path has been diverted from its earlier route. Very quickly you turn
right again off the perimeter track. Over the field, at the next stile you head left along
the perimeter fence to a super viewpoint next to the navigation beacons overlooking
the Haven. It is well worth spending a few minutes here.
Navigation beacons: The coast path turns left along the grassy cliff top and is well
posted. At the end of the final field before the trees, the path turns inland up the side
of the field, then right over a stile and right again onto the old course of the path. The
path soon crosses the two mesh bridges, descends to the beach and rises to a picnic
area with picnic tables. Keeping the water on your right, a gentle descent follows
along a pleasant section with good open views of the Haven, through two kissing
gates to a surfaced road, where you turn right down the hill to the main road at
Hazelbeach. On this corner is a pub called the Ferry Inn, and opposite a set of toilets.
Hazelbeach: Follow the road between houses along the haven (taking care as it is a
bus route!) until Llanstadwell Church is on your right. Fork left up the tarmacced road
(marked ‘private drive’) up the hillside and follow it round a left hand bend. On the
right, very soon is a step stile. Once you cross the step stile you have a choice, follow
the right hedge or the left hedge.
Decision point 1: Had enough yet? This is the crossing point of the figure eight. Skip the next part
and rejoin the instructions at Llanstadwell 2. This will shorten the walk by an hour and twenty minutes.
Llanstadwell 1: Follow the hedge up the right hand side of the field and keep going
in the same direction until you emerge onto a road through an alleyway between
houses. Turn right onto the road. Almost immediately go straight across Military Road
at the mini-roundabout into Glen Owen Hill. About as far again up the hill on the right
is a road sign announcing to traffic coming down the hill that it is entering
Mastlebridge. Turn right onto the waymarked path just beyond this sign and cross the
stream. Ascend the hillside diagonally to the left. At the field at the top, proceed to
the far left hand corner along the left hand hedge. A gateway in this hedge leads into
the adjacent field . Standing in this gateway, facing the next field, make for the far
right hand corner, where a track leads north and then turns east to Honeyborough. It
becomes surfaced as it passes rows of cottages (West Lane), and emerges onto the
main road. Just down to your right is a pub called the Rose and Willow, but you need
to return to this point to continue the walk
Honeyborough: Turn left onto the main road, past the village pump, cross the main
road and turn right into Wood Lane. Try to keep going in the direction of Wood Lane.
Once you reach the Marina Woods sign, this means you need to turn left into Coram
Drive, which turns back to follow the original direction of Wood Lane. At the end, a
house faces you. Go straight on down the footpath to the left of this house and turn
right when you meet another path at a T junction. The path follows a rather up and
down route along the top of the valleyside until it emerges onto a road which you join
heading left. Opposite house no 116 follow the track across the grass below road
level. Where you meet a concrete path take the left route. Where this meets another
path turn left down the hill At the foot of the steps, turn right to Brunel Quay. A café
on the marina offers refreshment.
Brunel Quay: All of this now industrial site site was once Neyland station,
embarkation point, engine yard and associated sidings. At the south end is a statue
of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who developed this site in the mid 1800s. Follow the
access road out onto the main road and turn left along the waterfront opposite the old
stationmaster’s house. Soon, in the distance you will see Llanstadwell church again.
Make towards it, turning left at the Llanstadwell road sign. Opposite the church, turn
right up the same hill you used before, and go over the same step/stile.
Llanstadwell 2: Most of the walk from here to Steynton is across open fields. Follow
up the left hand hedge but do not go through the gateway immediately on your left.
Just before the hedge veers right go through the kissing gate on your left, continuing
to walk in the same direction. A stile leads into the next field. Carry on along the
hedge. After two six bar gates and a kissing gate you reach a road. Turn right along
the road until you reach North Leonardston Farm at a kink in the road. Turn left into
the farm track which leads up the front of the cow shed. At the end of this track, a
kissing gate leads into a field. Follow down the left hand hedge, past the finger post.
Cross the step/stile at the far left hand end of the field. Turn left, then go through the
gate into the farm lane. Turn right into the lane. The lane meets the main road
opposite Waterston School, now closed. Turn left to follow the main road into the
village. Keep on the main road as it bends to the right, past the village shop on the
Decision point 2: This level road leads you back to the Venn Farm entrance in about fifteen minutes.
You passed this on the way out and could retrace your steps from there.
Waterston: From the shop, continue on the main road. Quickly turn right into Green
Lane, which gradually curves round to a farm. Carry on across in front of the farm
buildings. At the far end of the farm buildings, turn right by the finger post. Once in
the field you need to carry on along the left hand hedge. At the far left hand end of
the field, stepping stones take you over a stream. Carry on in the same direction,
following the left hand hedge. Much of the hedge has been removed, but an
overhead cable follows its approximate course. When the hedge reappears, keep it
on your left and follow the track round towards Lower Scoveston Farm.
Lower Scoveston Farm: At the six bar gate bear left, then quickly right over a stile.
Bear slightly left across the field, scale the six foot wall, then carry on straight through
the yard. Follow straight on towards the next farm. Bear right to cross in front of the
farm house and up the track immediately to the left of the farm house. At the end of
the track a step stile leads into the next field. Carry on up the hill keeping the hedge
on your right. Cross the stile at the far end of this field. Almost immediately turn right
through a six-bar gate. Aim slightly left across the field for the gate facing you. This
leads on to a wide farm track with a wall on your left.
Upper Scoveston Farm: At the end of the wall the track bends to the left. As it
bends right again, cross the stile into the field ahead of you and follow the left hand
hedge. A step stile takes you into the next field. Continue along the left hand hedge.
A stile takes you into a further field. Head for the far right hand corner, then turn right
up the track to a metal gate with a stile built into it. Emerging onto the main road, turn
left and walk along the grass verge to Steynton cross roads, Horse and Jockey on
the right. The final section duplicates walk 1, Steynton Circular.
Steynton: You need to take great care crossing the main road, to follow the road
sign-posted Thornton Industrial Estate. This descends gently back down hill with
open country on one side. Follow this road until it starts to ascend again. Then take
the right turn down under the railway bridge, past the ruins of the old priory and the
Priory public house. When the road starts to turn to the right and climb, take the
footpath to the left through the motor cycle inhibitor gate. A pleasant walk down the
valley with the railway on the opposite bank concludes the walk at Haven’s Head.
3A Neyland circular starting at Steynton.
This is a shorter version of walk 3 with a different start point, avoiding duplication
with walk 1. There is a small off-road lay by just north of the cross roads in
Steynton, in front of the church. This is also on the 302 bus route from
Haverfordwest to Milford. The walking short cuts will still work but the bus short cuts
will take you back to Haven’s Head from where you will need to catch the 302 back
to Steynton. It takes just over five hours.
From the lay-by head south. Cross Neyland Road and continue past the 30mph signs
in Castle Pill Road. After about ten minutes, at Castle Pill Farm, follow the lane round
to the right down the hill. At the bottom is a ford. Cross the stream. Turn neither left
nor right, but take the footpath straight ahead up the hill. Now follow the instructions
from Ford in walk 3 as far as Steynton.
Alternative start points: Obviously, you can start a circular walk wherever you like,
but the short cuts described may well return you to a different place from your new
start point! You could walk the whole of walk 3 from Steynton. Another possibility is to
start from Brunel Quay in Neyland, where there is a car park. This is also on the 308,
309, 349 and 356 bus routes. You could also walk the Llanstadwell/Honeyborough
loop from Brunel Quay on its own in an hour and twenty minutes (sections Brunel
Quay up to but not including Llanstadwell 2, then restart at Llanstadwell 1 as far as
Brunel Quay).