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Pembroke Sea Cliff Rock Climbing

Pembroke is all about atmospheric, trad sea-cliff rock climbing with around 6,000 routes in fantastic and dramatic positions to choose from. As with most sea cliff climbing getting to the bottom of these routes can be exciting, generally requiring a combination of a committing abseil, along with negotiating the wide ranging tides. 

The map opposite shows the various rock climbing areas in Pembroke, with the climbing in north Pembroke on sandstone rock, and on steep limestone rock in south Pembroke.

(1) North Pembroke

The rock climbing in North Pembroke is situated on cliffs on the peninsula surrounding St David’s City. The style of climbing found in north Pembroke is all about sweeping slabby routes on sandstone rock, with the largest crags at Carreg y Barcud and Porthclais, to the south of St David’s.

(2) Range West

The cliffs of Range West are within a live firing range, and hence they have restricted access.  To climb here it is mandatory to attend a MoD briefing (40 minutes) that are held at Easter and two weekends in May.  The climbing at Range West has an adventurous feel with distinctive, horizontally bedded limestone that provides bizarre and gravity defying features.

Map of the rock climbing areas in Pembroke

Map of the rock climbing areas in Pembroke
(3) Range East

Range East is by far the most popular rock climbing area in Pembroke, and is close to the village of Bosherston.  The majority of the climbing is accessed via the large St Govan’s car park, and includes some of the iconic crags of the area such as Huntsman’s Leap, Stennis Ford, and St Govan’s Head.  There are 23 crags spread across a couple of miles of coastline, however each crag differs in texture, appearance, and style from its neighbour.  Some of the crags it is possible to walk into with no tidal considerations, whilst others an abseil at low tide is necessary with the easiest route out being E2. There are also some crags with easier routes such as Saddle Head and Filmston Bay.

(4) Stackpole and Lydstep

This long stretch of coastline from Broad Haven beach to Tenby spans about 15 miles, and is a mixture of blue flag beaches and glorious limestone cliffs.  The crags are more spread out than Range East, but included some absolute classics such as Mowingword, Mother Carey’s Kitchen, Stackpole Head, and Penally.  All these crags require an abseil approach, but they have an abundance of 3 star routes that should be on everyone’s wish list, no matter what grade you climb at.

Pembroke Climbing Logistics

Wired Pembroke Rock climbing guidebookRockfax Pembroke Rock climbing guidebookAccommodation - Generally climber’s camp at Bosherston for south Pembroke, or St David’s for North Pembroke.  B&B accommodation is also available at Bosherston, Pembroke or St David’s.

Pembroke climbing guidebooks – The choice is between the definitive guidebooks produced by the Climbers Club, or selective guidebooks by Wired or Rockfax.  There are 5 definitive Pembroke guidebooks that cover around 6,000 routes in total.  Alternative there are selective guidebooks, with the Rockfax Pembroke Rock climbing guidebook covers 650 routes, whilst the Wired Pembroke Rock climbing guidebook covers 1,000 routes.  Buy rock climbing guidebooks for Pembroke from our shop.

Pembroke rock climbing photograph – Act of God, VS 4c Pembroke rock climbing photograph – Army Dreamers, HVS 5a Pembroke rock climbing photograph – Beast from the Undergrowth, E2 5c Pembroke rock climbing photograph – Blue Sky, VS 4b Pembroke rock climbing photograph – Class of 86, E5 6b Pembroke rock climbing photograph – Cool for Cats, E1 5b Pembroke rock climbing photograph – Heart of Darkness, HVS 5a Pembroke rock climbing photograph – Magic Flute, E1 5b Pembroke rock climbing photograph – The Fascist and Me, E4 6a

Click on the images above to view a larger photograph, showing the excellent traditional sea cliff rock climbing in Pembroke.


Pembroke Range East Rock Climbing Guidebook – Volume 4

Wired Pembroke Rock climbing guidebook

Buy a wide range of rock climbing guidebooks for Pembroke from our shop.

Read an article by Emma Alsford describing
The Magic of Pembroke”.