I can’t recall if I ever went to Monkhaven as a child but I do remember my first introduction to this magical place as an adult. I worked at a nearby school and we would walk the children to Monkhaven occasionally for a nature trail or beach trip. On one visit, a mum of one of my pupils told me about the woodland party she arranged for her son in these woods and showed us the clearing where she tied some tree swings. I loved coming back here with my own family and it’s still one of my favourite woodland walks and walled beach. On our most recent visit a few changes had been made, take a look:
Visiting Monk Haven
To get to Monk Haven, you can drive through St Ishmael’s and park close to St Ishmaels Church (Sat Nav Postcode: SA62 3ST), walk through the church yard and then begin your woodland walk towards the beach.
Instead I like to park by St Ishmaels Sports and Social Club (Sat Nav Postcode: SA62 3TB) which extends our walk a bit further as we admire the picturesque village. Toilets and a park are nearby. Food and drink are available from the sports club or The Brook Inn which you will pass on your walk. We bring a picnic to eat on the picnic beach near the church or on the beach.
The Woodland Walk
On our walk we passed pretty bluebells and scented wild garlic.
Whatever the time of year, or the weather, it’s always a scenic walk.
Monk Haven Beach
Monk Haven Beach is quite unique as it’s a walled beach. The wall was built in the 18th century to mark the boundary of the Trewarren estate. On days when you have the beach to yourself it makes it feel just a little more private.
We spotted a low rope swing close to the beach, but still hoped to enjoy the thrilling rope swings on the clearing later on during our walk.
We had fun playing on the beach- walking Dodge the dog, beach combing and paddling.
Woodland Walk to the Swings?
After the beach, we usually follow the path to the swings and ruins. We haven’t visited for a while so we were sad to see “Private Land” signs. The swings have been removed from the clearing.
This means you can no longer access the old ruins. Caitlyn, not expecting our path to now be out of bounds had continued our usual route anyway, we called her back to no avail. So we continued following her to explain that the land is now marked private, we were lucky to have been allowed access over the years (to whom it may concern- thank you) and while we were there took one last look at our beloved ruins. So I’m afraid to say, currently the tree swings and ruins are now out of bound to future visitors (sorry!).
During our next visit from the beach we will instead continue the coastal path onto Lindsway Bay instead and then back to the sports club car park- making it a circular walk- how exciting!
The Walk Back
During this visit, we returned to the beach for a play.
Any excuse to be near the inviting sea!
Then we continued the woodland walk home. Izzy did a little modelling for Rebecca!
The girls enjoyed taking Dodge out for the day, he walked miles, bless him. It was very last minute so I had to quickly grab treats, a water bowl and poo bags for our four legged guest!
But it was worth it!
St Ishmaels Church
Usually we visit the church on our way into Monk Haven, in case we get too messy but on our way out the hungry kids were more concerned with having their picnic! So, some of us instead had a look around on the way back.
The present church was built in 1100AD and was added to in the 13th and 14th centuries and restored in the 19th century.
It’s nice to look at the displayed church records and see the familiar names of past pupils.
In the church porch there’s an honesty box and books for sale. All proceeds go the upkeep of the church.
We spotted some new (to us) log seating in the church yard. Dodge looks like a statue on a plinth!
The girls on the horse mount.
After the church yard, it was time to walk back up the hill (possibly my least favourite part of the day!) and through the village.
St Ishmael’s Play Park
Back in the village, the kids (and Dodge) had fun playing in the park.
And it was All Yellow
Before we drove home we took some photos by the cheerful yellow fields of rapeseed.
Have you visited Monk Haven?
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