St. Govan

St. Govan's Chapel


Pembrokeshire's celebrated coastline is arguably one of the greatest in the world. This stunning National Park was the first of its kind, designated purely for its coastline, and is worth visiting at least once in your lifetime. It has previously been ranked amongst the greatest in the world by a panel of National Geographic magazine experts, beating Costa Rica to tie second place with New Zealand's Tutukaka Coast. Along with dramatic sea cliffs and stunning wooded estuaries, Pembrokeshire is home to incredible beaches which have also been the recipients of a number of awards. Tenby beach in particular is a firm favourite with travel awards; golden sands, sheltered inlets and rugged scenery make many of the beaches on Wales' west coast an absolute pleasure to visit.

When staying at St. Brides the coast will, no doubt, be one of the highlights of your holiday. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail runs right past St. Brides Castle and will fuel you with endless walks. But for something a little different head along the coast a little way to discover a secret chapel made of stone...

St. Govan's Chapel

If you venture south about an hour's drive, across the Milford Haven Waterway and through Pembroke, down to Bosherston you can explore a beautiful part of the coast that is home to a number of hidden gems. About a mile south of Bosherston you'll find a little car park and from here can make your way down a higgledy-piggledy flight of steps (the number of which is rumoured to change depending on the direction in which you are climbing), that descend the cliffs. You will come to a tiny old chapel which has been built into the limestone rock, perched on the edge of the cliff, overlooking the water.

The story goes that Govan was a monk who had travelled to Pembrokeshire and was in this spot on the cliffs when he was set upon by pirates. The rocks opened and a small cave appeared for him to hide in until the danger had passed. As a sign of gratitude Govan decided to stay here on the cliffs in order to always warn the locals of any imminent attacks. The chapel you see today is said to have been built over Govan's cave in the 13th century, though it's thought the site could have been a place of monastic importance since the 5th century.

Through its small doorway you'll find two little chambers. Hewn from local stone and crafted delicately amongst the cliffs, this little chapel is being gradually reclaimed by the rocks and as you wander its rugged surroundings you'll find access downwards to the outcroppings at the base of the cliffs - but do go careful!

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