Castlemartin, Pembrokeshire

A rock formation going in to the sea, with a large hole in it, which the sea passes

Six miles south of the town of Pembroke, Castlemartin Range Complex covers about 2,390 hectares of  land on the west coast of Pembrokeshire within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

A beautiful area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Castlemartin contains a wide variety of flora, as well as some of the finest limestone coastal scenery in the National Park. Castlemartin Range is remarkable for its history, wildlife and geology, including fossil records of international significance. 

Two tall rocks sitting in the seaCastlemartin has been preserved as a spectacular coastal landscape, and the MOD manages its special heritage to preserve it for future generations. Castlemartin Range is also an important cliff climbing area and climbers come from across the UK and abroad to scale the sea-battered cliffs.  

Castlemartin has a long history of military activity. Today it is the premier Armoured Fighting Vehicle live firing range in the United Kingdom, providing essential training for our soldiers.  Castlemartin is the only UK Army range available for armoured units for direct-fire live gunnery exercises and associated manoeuvres, with both on-land impact areas and a large offshore safety area. The facility is mainly used for so-called ‘mounted’ and ‘dismounted’ (i.e. in-vehicle and on foot) field firing; but when such exercises are not taking place it is also used for dismounted ‘dry’ training (i.e. without live firing). It is also used by civilian organisations and research establishments.

The military’s presence on Castlemartin has meant that the range has not been intensively farmed for over 70 years. A collaborative working partnership between the DIO, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Natural Resources Wales ensures that the site is managed sensitively allowing wildlife to flourish.

The walks

Despite being a live range there are opportunities to enjoy and explore this fabulous coastline. Just check the live firing times calendar before making your visit. Even when the Range is live, the Castlemartin Range Trail allows walkers safe access along the Range boundary between Bosherston and Freshwater West. 

To help you get the most out of your visit here are three walks different walks, each offering different insights into this fantastic, varied location: 

Route 1 – St. Govan’s Head loop: This 2.8 km / 1.7 mile trail links St Govan’s Chapel with the St Govan’s Headland and introduces you to some of the amazing features found on the Range with the aid of a series of interactive points.  Be aware that the stairs down to St. Govan’s Chapel are steep and can be slippery when wet. 

Route 2 – Stack Rocks to St. Govan’s Head: Using the Coastal Cruiser this can either be a one way walk or for those feeling a little more energetic, a bracing 10km / 6.2 mile hike.

Route 3 – Range East Circular: Using the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and the Castlemartin Range Trail, this 15km / 9.3 mile hike links Stack Rocks, St. Govan’s Head and Bosherston village, as well as the pleasant rural boundaries of the Range. 

Waymarkers for the Castlemartin Range Trail and Permissive Path

The history of Castlemartin Range

History of Castlemartin

Download the History of Castlemartin Range (jpg 3MB)

Be aware and take care

  • Castlemartin is a military training area. Please check the calendar of live firing times before visiting the area.
  • Unscheduled firing may take place without warning, and firing may be cancelled without notice. Please ring 01646 662367 from 08:00hrs each day to hear the firing programme for that day.
  • Red flags (red lights by night) will be displayed whenever the Range is active.
  • The Pembrokeshire Coast Path passes through the eastern side of the Range and is open to the public on non-firing days. Please keep to the road and footpath itself which is marked by white posts. All other areas of the Range are out of bounds to the public.
  • Don’t touch or pick up any military debris. No matter how small or insignificant it looks it could explode! If you find something take a photo and show it to the nearest warden or call the Police on 101.
  • Always supervise children, especially near cliff edges and roads.
  • All fishermen, surfers, climbers and cavers seeking access to Range West must attend a safety briefing at the Camp. The next briefings will take place in early 2020. You’ll find briefing dates on the British Mountaineering Council website when they become available.
  • If you’re out and about with your dog, please pick up after it and take particular care where cattle and young livestock are grazing. Read the MOD dog walking guide for more information. 
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