Regular readers know that we often walk from Neyland Marina to Rosemarket and back again. For a long time, I’ve been curious to walk from Neyland to Johnston. A few weeks ago we managed to tick this walk off our wishlist. Read on for more information and photos from our day:
Neyland Marina to Johnston Walk
The Brunel Trail- Neyland to Johnston
The Brunel Trail follows the route of the rail link built between 1852-6 under the direction of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the most famous of all Victorian Engineers. The total circular route is 19 miles from Neyland Marina to Merlins Bridge. It’s a cycle trail which is enjoyed by walkers too (especially the Westfield Pill Nature Reserve part of the walk). We just walked from Neyland to Johnston, which is about 4 miles. Soon, we’ll walk from Johnston to Merlin’s Bridge to complete the trail.
Park in Johnston
As we didn’t want to have to walk from Neyland to Johnston and back again we took both cars out for this adventure. First both mum and I drove to Johnston to park my car in a free car park just off Greenhall Park (51°45’13.7″N 4°59’37.3″W). Then I got into her car and we drove to Neyland together. Thankfully parking is free at Neyland Marina (51°42’52.6″N 4°56’33.0″W, Sat Nav postcode: SA73 1PY) too. Then you can begin your walk or cycle from Neyland to Johnston.
Westfield Pill Nature Reserve
The first part of the walk passes the most quickly for a number of reasons. There are beautiful water views, wildlife to watch and many people passing by. We fed the ducks and swans.
When the ducks in the pond saw the girls approaching they waddled out of the water and went to meet them. This was a very cute moment!
At this time of year, the path the whole way from Neyland to Johnston is full of wildflowers-perfect to spot butterflies and bees.
There are lots of resting places to stop and enjoy the scenic view- look out for dragonflies hovering above the water.
Feeding the Ducks and Swans
If you bring food for the ducks and swans, don’t use it all up at the first pond as you will meet more ducks and swans along the way to feed (until you get to the Water Lane road crossing which is the end of Westfield PillNature Reserve).
We saw very cute ducklings too.
We watched the fish fighting for food too. Look out for bubbles and you’ll often spot a fish leaping out of the water.
I love seeing the colours in the hedgerows. How beautiful are the blue Birdeye speedwell flowers dotted amongst the buttercups?
End of Westfield Pill
We came to the end of Westfield Pill. Be aware of approaching the road crossings along this walk, especially if walking with children. Thankfully there is a gate but always take care crossing the road. There is a car park here on Water Lane so you could park here and walk to Neyland Marina or to Johnston. At this point, we usually turn back and return to Neyland Marina, but today we were boldly marching on…
Part 2 – Neyland to Johnston
I thought of this part of the walk, between WaterLane and Rosemarket as being part 2 of our Neyland to Johnston walk. In the past, we have walked along this path a little way but never far as I didn’t know how far it was until the next milestone. My niece, Cerys, has cycled it before with her dad, but most of the trail from here on was new to us- very exciting!
All of the trail is level and suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. It’s also quite a flat walk, making it an ideal route for runners too (personally, I hate hilly runs!). Most of the walk is as above- a path surrounded by trees and wildflower hedgerows. We were now past the main body of water in the pill, but we were still walking along the flowing stream.
At this point, there were a few benches to stop and rest. From these viewpoints, we could look down and see the stream below us. The sunlight was beautiful, bouncing through the trees.
We continued on.
Along the way, we saw a couple of squirrels, sometimes on the path and at other times up a tree. We also did some bird watching. During previous walks, we have seen mice and rabbits. We’re still on the lookout for an otter but many people do see one at Westfield Pill. I think we need to visit earlier during the morning or later during the evening to get a better chance to see one. At night you could see hedgehogs and badgers too. See better photos of squirrels at Westfield pill in the linked post. I didn’t bring my camera during this walk.
Look at that beautiful sunlight, twinkling through the trees. I love this picture and how it catches a spontaneous hug between my sister and her daughter.
We didn’t stop for lunch but we had snacks and water along the way. I had plenty of fruit to help me keep hydrated. I packed jelly sweets for the kids too.
If you wanted to eat before your walk, you could go to Manillas, Neyland Marina and when you get to Johnston, continue into the village where there are a number of eateries and shops to eat after.
Part 3 Neyland to Johnston Walk
We came to another crossroads and car park along our walk, so this was the third leg of our journey. We knew we had one more crossroads to reach and then we’d be on the final stretch of the trail to Johnston. You could of course park at these car parks to enjoy a shorter walk.
Part 4 Neyland to Johnston Walk
We passed some newly planted trees and plants. It will be interesting to see these in a couple of years’ time.
By part four of the Neyland to Johnston walk, we were starting to get weary. Because it was our first time walking this route, we didn’t know how much further we had to go and much of the walk looked the same. This made it feel longer than it actually was. It’s all psychological, isn’t it?
We saw fewer people and even fewer bikes on this stretch of the path. We were delighted when we did bump into some friends! It was an old childhood school friend of my sisters who we hadn’t seen for years, my mum was good friends with her mum, who sadly died far too young, so it was very poignant to see her. They had parked in the closest car park. We asked if they’d walked to Johnston so we could gauge how much further we had to walk, but they hadn’t ventured that far.
The Cows are in the Meadow
I love cows, they are very special creatures, so I was delighted to see a field full of them and they were delighted to see us too. As a vegan, of course, I feel sad about why they’re kept in the field and what their fate holds. They clamoured forward to see us. They were climbing on top of each other to try to get to us.
Aren’t they gorgeous?
It was hard to say goodbye to them.
The path began to change. It was no longer two sides of a hedgerow and we began to see buildings in the background and signs of “civilization”. We were excited to be getting close. During this last stretch of the walk, there were fewer benches to stop and rest and our legs were getting weary. But we were kept motivated as we realised we were nearing the end of the walk.
Eventually, we made it to the car park- we were so happy to see the car. Most of us had finished our water bottles by now, so we were grateful for the spare water bottles in the car and somewhere to sit and rest our legs.
Back to Neyland
As we had taken two cars, I then drove Mum back to Neyland Marina to pick up her car and our walk was complete. I enjoyed it and am so glad I now know what the Neyland to Johnston part of the trail is like. I think I’d suggest that it might be more motivating to instead walk from Johnston to Neyland Marina, so you get to enjoy Westfield Pill at the end of the walk.
Neyland to Merlin’s Bridge Cycle Trail
From Johnston you can continue to Merlins Bridge. The Neyland to Merlins Bridge cycle trail is 19 miles (30 km) if you complete it as a circular route. I would like to walk from Johnston to Merlins Bridge to see the rest of the route. One day I’d love to go on a family cycle ride.
Watch this YouTube Short of Neyland to Johnston Walk
Neyland Marina to Johnston Walk, Pembrokeshire
The walk from Neyland Marina to Johnston was flat, accessible, scenic and enjoyable. It was about 6km (4 miles) long. It could be completed in about an hour, but we stopped to feed the birds, chat, eat, enjoy the view and take photographs so it took us around 3 hours
Have you cycled or walked the Brunel Trail, Neyland to Johnston? Where are your favourite walks in Pembrokeshire?
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