With some good weather we decided to visit St Govan’s Chapel. It’s somewhere I’ve been before on walking trips to Pembrokeshire. The coastline is beautiful in this area which makes it worth a visit and the chapel itself makes for a good photo opportunity.
How To Get To St Govan’s Chapel
If you don’t want to visit St Govan’s Chapel as part of a coastal walk then the closest car park is just above the chapel. You won’t see the chapel as you approach as it’s set into the cliffs and is accessed by just over 50 stone steps downwards. From memory the car park is free. There are no height restrictions so you could drive here in your motorhome or campervan. There is a sign stating no overnight parking though, so this isn’t a wild camping location. For those without a car, a couple of buses go to Trefalen Car Park, Bosherton which is about a 20 minute walk from the chapel.
Those considering visiting as part of a longer coastal walk might want to note that St Govan’s Chapel is situated next to Castlemartin firing range. You might want to check that the firing range is not in use on the day you plan to walk through it. You can easily search for the latest firing range information online. I won’t link to it here in case the link changes years from now.
St Govan’s Chapel History
So who was St Govan? It seems he lived during the 6th century but there are a few conflicting stories about who he was. Some believe he was an Irish abbot, others say he was a thief. Some say Govan comes from ‘Gawain’, a Knight from the court of King Arthur who is said he have lived as a recluse in Wales during his latter years. The story says that Govan lived like a hermit in a cave in this area. A century later the area became a site of worship, St Govan’s Head. It’s said that the spring water here was a cure for various ailments. The spring has since dried up.
The actual small chapel building you can see today dates from the 13th or 14th century. It’s tiny, at about 20 feet by 12 feet. Apparently St Govan is buried beneath the small alter.
Pembrokeshire has many wonderful places to visit. It’s not a small area though so if you only have a day spare and want to visit a couple of other places besides St Govan’s Chapel you might like to visit:
- Bosherton Lilly Ponds – If you want to see the lillies the best time to visit is June or July. You could easily combine a circular walk that included Bosherton Lilly Ponds and St Govan’ Chapel. Such a walk could also include Broad Haven south beach, complete with Church Rock in the sea.
- Barafundle Bay – About a 15 minute drive from St Govan’s Chapel is Barafundle Bay, a wonderful beach that is often voted as one of Britain’s best beaches.