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The Huntsman’s Leap is one of several natural landmarks along the limestone coast in Pembrokeshire that has caught the attention of bypassers. Not only is it an interesting formation, but there’s a great story to go with it too.
Keep reading to find out how it formed, how you can visit and the story of why it’s called The Huntsman’s Leap.
What is The Huntsman’s Leap?
The Huntsman’s Leap is a deep, narrow fissure in the limestone cliffside of Pembrokeshire, likely formed by coastal erosion along a fault line1 (source: A.S. Goudie and R. Gardner, Discovering Landscape in England & Wales, 2013).
Can You Jump the Huntsman’s Leap?
No, you cannot jump across the Huntsman’s Leap. At its widest distance, the Huntsman’s Leap is almost 40m across, but in some places, it’s as little as 3m.
Whilst this distance would be within the abilities of an Olympic long jumper, the rocky and uneven terrain on either side would make it very dangerous and likely fatal.
How To Visit the Huntsman’s Leap
The landmark is situated about 600m along the coastal path from the car park and takes around 6-7 minutes, allowing time to stop and take photos.
There is no cost to visit The Huntsman’s Leap. It is a natural landmark on the Wales Coastal Path.
The Huntsman’s Leap is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. However, it is found on the Castlemartin Firing Range so access may be prohibited during military training. This is rare but you can check for potential closures here.
Where to Park for the Huntsman’s Leap
Parking for The Huntsman’s Leap is at St Govan’s car park next to St Govan’s Chapel. Here are the details for it:
- Coordiantes: 51.599514, -4.937350
- What3Words: destroyer.bandstand.zipped
- Google Maps Pin: https://goo.gl/maps/iCTNNdTBc9iTKss36
I recommend visiting both The Huntsman’s Leap and St Govan’s Chapel together. I have recommended some other landmarks to check out further below.
Facts About the Huntsman’s Leap
- Of course, we first need to discuss its name. According to legend, it is called ‘The Huntsman’s Leap’ because a huntsman who did not know the area well jumped across the chasm on horseback. When he looked back and saw the gap he had just leapt over, he was so shocked that he died of fright3 (source: People’s Collection Wales).
- The only way to access the bottom of this narrow vertical drop is by abseiling down. In 2004, a shipping container capsized nearby and a lot of rubbish was washed to the shore including fridges. The British Mountaineering Council organized for experienced climbers to navigate down and retrieve the debris. A total of three tons of litter was collected4 (source: BBC).
- Following his coronation in 1900, King Edward visited the Huntsman’s Leap on a cruise along with Queen Alexandra, Princess Victoria and the Portuguese Ambassador5 (source: People’s Collection Wales).
- The Huntsman’s Leap, along with many other natural features in this area, is well protected for its rich geological and fossil heritage, vegetation, and special species. It is part of the Castlemartin Range Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Limestone Coast of South West Wales Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
Climbing at the Huntsman’s Leap
The Huntsman’s Leap is popular with climbers although it’s known to divide opinions with some calling it the ‘best crag in the World’ and others speaking unfavourably about it6 (source: UK Climbing). The fact that it’s tidal gives an added sense of urgency to anyone attempting this climb.
The East wall has easier and well-cleaned routes, whereas climbs on the West wall are popular with experienced climbers. The presence of nesting seabirds means that climbing is only allowed between October and February.
Other Nearby Landmarks
This area is easily one of my favourite things to do in West Wales with several natural and man-made landmarks to check out as follows:
- St Govan’s Chapel – You will almost pass St Govan’s Chapel on your way to the Huntsman’s Leap so it’s worth checking out. It’s a tiny chapel built into the cliffside.
- The Green Bridge of Wales – The Green Bridge of Wales is an arch in the limestone cliff caused when caves on alternative sides of the headland broke through.
- Stack Rocks – These are two stone pillars in the sea. These would have originally been arches like the Green Bridge.
- The Devil’s Cauldron – A large enclosed shaft that would have formed when several underground caves collapsed.
The Green Bridge of Wales, Stack Rocks, and the Devil’s Cauldron are all located next to one another. There is another car park if you choose to drive there or you can walk there following the coastal path.
Find out more about the walk from St Govan’s to Stack Rocks here.
Kieren is the founder and editor-in-chief of Wales Guidebook. Originally from rural Mid-Wales, he has lived all over the country from Cardiff to Wrexham. A true Welshman, Kieren created this site to share his passion for Wales and help others discover this beautiful country.