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Carn Llidi

Carn Llidi

Carn Llidi

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Pembrokeshire, Wales, Europe

Lat/Lon: 51.90430°N / 5.29°W

Object Title: Carn Llidi

Activities: Hiking, Trad Climbing, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 595 ft / 181 m


Page By: Nanuls

Created/Edited: Jun 7, 2010 / Apr 15, 2011

Object ID: 627642

Hits: 2390 

Page Score: 85.36%  - 20 Votes 

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While not exactly being the highest or most prominent of summits, there are few hills in Wales that have a more distinctive profile than Carn Llidi. Sitting proudly upon the famed promontory of St. David’s Head, it is the most prominent element of one of the country’s most treasured landscapes. Few who visit the area will be unfamiliar with its form, either having glimpsed it from the narrow streets of the tiny city of St. David’s, or having become more personally acquainted with it by scrambled up its slopes from one of the areas best beaches, Whitesand Bay.

Most choose to climb the hill along the spine of its ridge, which offers good and surprisingly sustained easy scrambling and even better views. In effect, this probably makes it the most southerly scramble in Britain, although some may argue that there are some southern sea cliff routes that are more like scrambling than climbing in character. For the rock climber, three routes have been recorded on the hill’s southern side, all of which are graded at Severe 4a. Unfortunately, the climbing is poor in comparison to the surrounding sea cliffs, the rock being more vegetated, the protection being less stable, and the difficulty of the routes being too intermittent. That said they are perhaps worth giving a go, if only for the view one is treated to once reaching the top.

Rock Climbing

Carn Lidi
Carn Llidi
(Photo by Nanuls)
Carn Llidi
Carn Llidi
(Photo by Nanuls)
Carn Llidi
(Photo by Nanuls)

The technical routes on Carn Llidi are all found on its southern landward side. It may be reached along good footpaths in around fifteen to twenty minutes from the campsite or car park at Whitesand Bay. Only three routes have been recorded, though no doubt there are other lines for those who look for them. Carnllidi Groove starts just to the left of the lowest rocks on the cliff and the other two are found just to its left.

Routes are listed from left to right, and are graded and rated with the aid of the Climbers Club Guide to Pembroke and the Pembroke Supplement, so for full descriptions, please refer to those books.

Routes are rated using the British Adjectival Grading System. A conversion table of international climbing grades by SP member Corax is available: download it here. With the exception of Tenby South Beach Quarry, bolting is strictly prohibited everywhere in Pembroke, so don’t even think about it here.

Carn Llidi
Carn Llidi
(Photo by Nanuls)
Carn Llidi
Carn Llidi
(Photo by Nanuls)
Carn Llidi
Carn Llidi
(Photo by Nanuls)

Route Symbols:
NO STARS A so-so route, neither good nor bad. Not unpleasant unless otherwise stated.
1 STAR A good route which is definitely worth a climb.
2 STARS A very good route, one of the best on the crag and well worthy of attention.
3 STARS An excellent route, one of the best in the area, and probably in Britain too.

Used to indicate that there are currently no restrictions, either seasonal, temporary or permanent, affecting a route.

Used to indicate that there are restrictions, either seasonal, temporary or permanent, affecting a route. See the Red Tape and Access Section for more details.

Carn Llidi
The appraoch
(Photo by Nanuls)
Carn Llidi
Long Climb - S 4a
(Photo by Nanuls)
Carn Llidi
The south face
(Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Quality Restrictions
1. Long Climb 60m 2 S 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
2. Carnllidi Wall 25m 1 S 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
3. Cranllidi Groove 45m 2 S 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Weather Conditions and Tides

Weather Forecast

This section displays the weather forecast for Solva, which is located to the southeast of Carn Llidi. It isn't the closest settlement to the crag, that honour goes to the eponymous city of St. David's, unfortunately the tool for St. David's doesn't seem to work. Either way, this still gives a pretty good indication of what the weather will be like on the crag, as both Solva and Carn Llidi sit at around sea level.

Tide Times

Tide times can have a significant impact on where and when one climbs. It is therefore extremely important to check the timetables before embarking on trip to the area. UK tides information for all standard and secondary ports is provided by the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), and displayed on the BBC's website. The link below provides a link to the nearest monitoring station to Carn Llidi:

04 Ramsey Sound Ramsey Sound (SM 714 244)

When to Climb and Essential Gear

The most reliable conditions are in the summer, but the low altitude of the crag may make it a viable option in winter. The gear needed depends entirely on the routes you plan to do. Easier routes will only require a moderate rack, while harder routes will require a something more comprehensive; a good compliment of friends or other camming devices will certainly help. A singe 50 metre rope should serve well on most easy routes, however, twin or double ropes would be a wise choice for the harder stuff. In addition to your usual gear, you might want to bring along an abseil rope to speed up access to the base of the crag.

Carn Llidi
Carn Llidi
(Photo by Nanuls)
St. David s Head
Carnedd Lleithr
(Photo by Nanuls)
Howlin  at the Moon
Carn Llidi
(Photo by Nanuls)
Carn Llidi
Long Climb - S 4a
(Photo by Nanuls)

Getting There

Carn Llidi is located in north Pembrokeshire, just to the north of the tiny city of St. David's Head. Although there are a variety of ways to reach Carn Llidi, most will probably be coming from the west. If so, when approaching from Carmarthen (SN 405 196) take the A40 Truck Road signposted for Saint Clears (SN 274 160). At the Saint Clears roundabout, continue along the A40 towards Haverfordwest (SM 962 158). Here you will need to leave the A40, take a short detour through the town, and take the smaller A487 which will signpost St. David’s (SM 753 253). Drive into the centre of the city and at the traffic island at the bottom of the hill (marked in the centre by a tall Celtic cross), continue along the A487 signposted for Fishguard and Cardigan. Just as you are about to leave the city limits, there is a left hand junction (SM 757 258) which will signpost Whitesand Bay. Take this junction, and soon afterwards another left hand junction, and follow the road (the B4583) to the Whitesand Bay car park (SM 734 272). Park at the car park, where you will be charged a small fee for the privilege. There is a café and toilet facilities here. Incidentally Whitesand Bay is home to one of the best beaches in Britain, and is well worth a post climb visit.

For the ordinary route to the summit, from the car park follow the coastal path north towards Porthmelgan (SM 728 279). Before Porthmelgan is reached a 'kissing gate' will need to be crossed (SM 729 276). From here follow the stone wall to your right around to the beginning of the crest of Carn Llidi's ridge. Follow the ridge to the summit.

Cardigan Bay (Photo by Nanuls)

For the technical rock climbs, from the car park, walk back up the road you have just driven down for around 300 metres. Take the second small lane on the left (SM 737 272) and follow it past the farm of Upper Porthmawr (SM 737 275). Not long after the farm a path junction with a wooden signpost will be reached. Take the right-hand branch, which will take you along Carn Llidi's southern side, and when you see the lowest point of the cliff, leave the path and make your way towards it. Carnllidi Groove starts just to the left of the lowest rocks on the cliff and the other two are found just to its left.

Red Tape and Access

No red tape here!

Although unlikely it's worth checking the countryside access map provided by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) regarding whether or not any restrictions on movement in the area are in place.
Whitesand Bay
Whitesand Bay (Photo by Nanuls)

Countryside Access Map

Camping and Accommodation

There’s an almost unlimited supply of accommodation within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park so it would be inappropriate to list it all here. The city of St. David’s and its hinterland is particularly well provided for. For budget accommodation it’s worth checking out some of the following sites:

Youth Hostel Association in Wales
Independent Hostel Guide
Campsites in Pembrokeshire

For everything else and more see Visit Pembrokeshire’s website.


Open Space Web-Map builder Code
Navigation Maps

OS 1:25k Explorer Series OL 35 North Pembrokeshire/Gogledd Sir Benfro

OS 1:50k Landranger Series 157 St David’s & Haverfordwest/Tyddewi a Hwlffordd

OS Road Map 6 Wales/Cymru & West Midlands


Pembrokeshire Coast: The Official National Park Guide Pembrokeshire Coast: The Official National Park Guide by Alf Alderson, John Cleare and Ian Mercer.

A handy book full of useful information and interesting facts about the National Park.
Climbers Guides to Wales: Pembroke Climbers Club Guides to Wales: Pembroke by John Harwood, Dave Viggers et al.

An extremely comprehensive two volume guidebook to the area which describes the routes at Carn Llidi.
Climbers Club Pembroke Supplement Climbers Club Pembroke Supplement by Dave Viggers

A little book containing updates to the Climbers Club Guide and costs around a fiver.

External Links

Carn Llidi
Carn Llidi(Photo by Nanuls)
Carn Llidi
Whitesand Bay (Photo by Nanuls)

Government Bodies and Other Organisations

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Council for National Parks
Association of National Park Authorities
Pembrokeshire County Council
Carmarthenshire County Council
Ceredigion County Council
Countryside Council for Wales
Forestry Commission Wales
Environment Agency
Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments in Wales
Dyfed Archaeological Trust
The National Trust
Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Outdoor Organisations and Companies

British Mountaineering Council
Pembrokeshire Climbing Club
Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter Group
South Wales Mountaineering Club
The Climbers Club


Weather from the Met Office
BBC Weather
Weather Channel UK

Tide Tables

BBC Tide Tables
UK Hydrographic Office

Tourist Information

Visit Wales
Visit Pembrokeshire
South West Wales Tourism Partnership
Local Information from Pembrokeshire Pages
Local Information from Pembrokeshire Online

Travel Information

Welsh Public Transport Information
Uk Train Timetable


Youth Hostel Association in Wales
Independent Hostel Guide
Campsites in Pembrokeshire

Maps and Guidebooks

Ordnance Survey
Cicerone Guidebooks
Climbers Club Guidebooks
Rockfax Guidebooks
Mid Wales Climbing
Cordee Travel and Adventure Sports Bookshop

Wildlife and Conservation

Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre
South West Wales Wildlife Trust
Sea Trust
Pembrokeshire Bird Group

Welsh Language

Welsh Language Board
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg Welsh language pressure group
Cymuned Welsh language pressure group
Yr Urdd (Welsh Youth Association)
Welsh-English / English-Welsh online translator
Welsh-English / English-Welsh Online Dictionary
Welsh-English / English-Welsh Online Lexicon