Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

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, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

A great place to explore in Pembrokeshire is St Govan’s Head and Chapel.  It is a free walk close to Bosherston so you could combine it with a day visiting Bosherston Lily Ponds.  Pass through Bosherston and towards St Govans and Castlemartin until you reach the free car park (Sat Nav postcode:  SA71 5DR).  There are no facilities here (the closest toilets are situated in the National Trust carpark in Bosherston) but in the summer there is usually an ice cream van.  Castlemartin is a firing range so this walk is only open  when the range is not in use.  Check ahead for firing times for military ranges before you visit.

St Govan’s Head:  Car park to Coast Guard Station Walk

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

 Once parked, head left onto the tarmac path.  There is an accessible path all the way to the old Coastguard Station.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire


We met up with Mum, Jo, Cerys, Ceri and Lexy for an afternoon walk.   Dave and Danny were tempted to stay home in the warm but I’m so glad they decided to come with us.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

At the beginning of the walk there is a cattle grid and a side path.  Of course most of our group chose the cattle grid.  When I was young there was a sty to get over the gate (my sisters and I used to love climbing over it!).

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

As soon as you arrive on this peninsula you are treated to stunning views and almost completely  surrounded by the sea.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

The old shelters are fun to climb over.  These used to house the winch for the moving targets used for practice.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

 Running down the old shelter.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

There is plenty of room (away from the cliffs) for the kids to explore with care.  In the past we have seen lots of wildlife- ladybirds, beetles, lizards and even snakes as the natural grassland makes a great habitat.   It was too cold for reptiles on this visit.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

We’ve had a lot of rain recently so there were lots of deep puddles and marsh land too.  The kids were drawn to the muddy parts!

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

On the other side of the path is the cliff edge.  Take care here as erosion does take place.  

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

Jo takes a snap of the stunning views.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

The sea mist makes this look like a ghost ship.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

There is so much room, at times the kids played together and at others they made the most of the peace and walked alone.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

I was just saying that we don’t see so many climbers at St Govan’s head as we used to and then lo and behold of course we spotted some climbers.  I expect there are more in the warmer weather too.  I was always intrigued by climbers when I was younger but when I explore with the kids I’m keen to stay as far from the cliff edge as possible.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

Sheep (and cows) can be seen in the fields  nearby.  Quite regularly we are stopped on the way here waiting for cows to cross the road.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

At the end of the path we come to the Old Coastguard Station.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire


We climbed up to enjoy the incredible views.  As well as admiring the rugged  cliffs it’s also a great spot for bird watching, especially seabirds,including guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes.  St Govan’s is also a great habitat for  chough, and other birds such as wheatear, skylark and stonechat are often spotted.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

Dave said he didn’t want to get in the photo and then proceeded to walk into it- these photo-bombers get everywhere!

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

We made our way back down. 

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

 Can you spot the climber? 

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

On the way back the kids ran along the ditch.  I popped to take a photo upsetting Rebecca as she had planned to “ambush me”- sorry for spoiling your plan Rebecca-I’m sure you’ll ambush me another day!

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

 Sisters in wooly hats.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

Another play by the moving target shelter.  It was quite funny to watch everyone run towards this together.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

 St Govan’s Chapel (The Little Chap)

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

Saving the best until last we then walked to St Govan’s Chapel (it’s located near the car park).

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

 There are steep steps and a railing leading down to the chapel. It has always been said that if you count the steps going down you will never count the same coming up.  We used to always count them to see if this was true but on this visit we just concentrated on getting everyone down safely.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

There are passing places to stop and wait for oncoming people but I always feel unsteady when I’m not next to the rail!

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire


When you reach the chapel look for a fish (symbol of Christianity) carved into the brick next to the chapel door.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

The chapel dates from the 13th century and marks the site where St Govan, a 6th century hermit chose to live a religious life.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

An ancient altar still exists in the chapel.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire


To the left of the altar is a crevice.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

Look inside and find the rib like markings.  Legend has it that St Govan hid here when his hide out was attacked by pirates.  He prayed that he would not be discovered.  A miracle happened and the rocks opened up and enclosed him- so tight that it left the imprint of his ribs ever since.  People used to say that if you can fit into the crack and turn around three times without touching the rock face you can make a wish.


St Govan was safe from the pirates but they did steal the silver bell.  Some people say that there was an almighty storm and both the pirate ship and bell were lost at sea but the bell can still be heard chiming during rough weather.  

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire
The chapel is very dark with a little light shining in through the window.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire


 The other chapel door leads out to the rocky shoreline.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

One holy well was located inside the chapel and the second well can be seen in the photo above.  Both wells were thought to have healing powers but the outside well is said to have been a wishing well also.  The kids love to hide in the well shelter.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

A room with a view.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

As far as we know St Govan stayed  here for the rest of his life in his cell, worshipping, preaching and teaching.

His saintliness was marked by the Church, which designated March 26th as St Govan’s Day, and by followers who built the chapel in the cliffs. Tradition says that St Govan lies buried under the altar in the chapel.  He died in the year 586.  Local priests have been known to hold services in the chapel on St Govan’s Day and people still leave flowers on his shrine.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

Make a wish Izzy!

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

 I spotted Rebecca in the window but each time I went to take a photo she moved away!

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

A family shot outside St Govan’s Chapel, often called the Little Chap.

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

We then made our way carefully back up the steps.  

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

In the summer we reward ourselves with an ice cream or ice lolly when we make the top!  It’s also a great spot for a picnic and flask of tea.

Here is a poem that I recently found about St Govan:


St Govan


St Govan, he built him a cell

By the side of the Pembroke sea,

And there, as the crannied sea-gulls dwell.

In a tiny, secret citadel

He sighed for eternity.
 

St Govan, he built him a cell

Between the wild sky and the sea,

Where the sunsets redden the rolling swell

And brooding splendour has thrown her spell

On valley and moorland lea.


St Govan still lies in his cell,

But his soul, long since, is free,

And one may wonder – and who can tell –

If good St Govan likes Heaven as well

As his cell by that sounding sea? 


 Arthur Glyn Prys -Jones, 1920


We had a lovely day and certainly blew the cobwebs away!  It’s a lovely free day out with a scenic walk, picturesque chapel, wildlife  in addition to historic, military and religious points of interest.

Useful links:

As well as easy access by car St Govans is also a stop on the Coastal Cruiser Bus Route

Map of St Govan’s Head Walk 

A Walk Around Bosherston Lily Pond

Bosherston Lily Ponds


Have you visited St Govans?

, Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire

1 Comment

  1. , Visiting The Little Chap, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire
    Margaret Gallagher
    January 18, 2018 / 9:19 am

    Looks an amazing place Great way to let of steam

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