The tiny 13th-century St Govan’s Chapel is perched on the cliff at St Govan’s Head, the most southerly point on the Pembrokeshire coast. A tiny cell measuring 18 by 12 feet, dating from the thirteenth century, but parts of it - the altar and a seat cut in the rock - may be much earlier. The saint reputedly established a hermitage here after escaping pursuit by pirates. Inside is the rock which contains a fissure, so the story goes, opened and closed around him, keeping him hidden until his pursuers had gone. It’s said that if you make a wish while standing in the fissure it will come true, provided you don’t change your mind before you turn around. In the floor near the main entrance there used to be a well, the water from which could only be collected drop by drop and is said to be a cure for eye complaints, skin diseases, and rheumatic tendencies. St Govan is apparently buried under the altar in the chapel which bears his name. He died in 586.
To enter this picturesque little building it is necessary to descend a long flight of steps, which, legend asserts, cannot be accurately counted by a mortal being, it may have something to do with the fact that the steps are most irregular, with many half steps. Depending on where a person places his foot the count could vary considerably. The number of steps is approximately 74.
Bosherston, near Pembroke
OS Reference: SR967929
Access to the cliff-top path leading down to the chapel is dependent upon the Firing Range being open to the public.
LOCAL NOTICES MUST BE OBSERVED.
No toilets on site
There is a public car park above the chapel, take the road from Bosherston towards St Govan’s Head through the MOD range to the car park. Leave the car park by the paved path towards the sea and turn left on to a tarmac road, which leads to the Coastguard lookout. The gate beside the cattle grid is wide enough for a scooter or a wheelchair. There are good views of Caldey Island and Old Castle Head from near the Coastguard Station. The round trip is about 800m.
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