The breathtaking stroll through lilyponds that leads to one of Wales' top beaches is arguably the country's finest circular walk. The Bosherston lily ponds in Pembrokeshire offer a multitude of paths, all leading to the stunning Broad Haven South beach with its iconic Church Rock.

Whether you kick off your journey in the village of Bosherston and finish at the Ye Olde Tearoom for a post-walk scone, or park at the Stackpole Visitor centre and pass the eight-arch bridge, the main attraction is undoubtedly the serene lilyponds, maintained by the National Trust. Ending up at Broad Haven beach, which I believe is unjustly overshadowed by its more renowned neighbour Barafundle, is an extra treat.

The lilyponds are in fact one of very few hard-water mesotrophic lakes in Wales. They are spring-fed, so lucid, but artificial – created in the 1780s by the Cawdors of Stackpole. Weirs were built across three adjacent valleys to slow the water’s flow to the sea and the resultant ponds were stocked with lilies and fish. Today, the ponds are full of biodiversity with 12 species of bat, 40 species of dragonfly, 30 species of butterfly. Those with sharp eyes might spy the family of otters who've set up home there too.

The paths around the ponds snake through steep wooded valleys lush with wild garlic and bluebells in the springtime. We visit at the beginning of June, when the first white lilies are flowering and the bluebells have given way to the bright pink campions. By the end of the month the famous lilies should be at their peak.

It's not a walk to rush. In fact, it's best to amble slowly for maximum immersion, absorbing the sounds and soaking up the dappled sunlight. The chirrup of a moorhen floating across the water surface is perhaps the most soothing sound imaginable. The sight of two swans lazily paddling amongst the rushes is equally calming.

The walk is one of the most scenic in Wales

If walking all the way to the beach is too much, then try the Coastal Cruiser shuttle bus which runs seven days a week in summer with pick up and drop off points at Abgle beach, Stack Rocks, Bosherston, St Govans, Broad Haven beach and Stackpole Quay. Or, to avoid choking the lanes to the two main car parks (Broad Haven South and Stackpole Quay), which are often full by 9am, it's best to park at either Castle Dock Woods or Stackpole Court.

The classic lilypond walk, from Bosherston, is an easy four-ish mile walk starting at the western arm of the lake. The enchanting sunken bridge invites you to cross, especially when the lilies are in full bloom. Follow the eastern edge of the pond to climb to the viewpoint for an Arcadian view of the lily-gilded ponds in their green-cloaked valleys, tapering to the dunes and the coast.

Bosherston Lakes on the stunning path
The lake's famous lily pads should be at their peak soon

A second sunken bridge takes you across the central arm, containing probably the best example of a stonewort meadow in Wales. The eastern arm is the longest and least busy. Taking the higher path between woodland and fields brings you down to the Eight Arch Bridge, built in 1797 over a weir. If you carry on over the bridge and across the fields, you will eventually come to Stackpole Quay and Barafundle which is worth the extra miles for the keen beans.

You'll pass the gorgeous Eight Arch Bridge on your way

Prior to the National Trust taking over, settlement pools that supplied the eastern arm were neglected and the silt not removed. Consequently, the upper eastern arm is now also silt-swamped – no longer pond but wetland dominated by willow and reeds. Nevertheless, the boathouse bird hide is a good place to see kingfishers.

It's worth taking a brief detour to Lodge Park Wood and Stackpole Court to appreciate the restorative qualities of woodland and the decaying elegance of the old estate which was largely demolished long ago. Returning along the eastern arm by the water’s edge and back to the central basin eventually brings you out at the sand dune ridge that separates the ponds from Broad Haven South.

The sights on show will please anyone - even your pets!

Broad Haven is arguably the best beach in all of Pembrokeshire. It definitely has the softest, most golden of sands and an extensive sand dune system behind just begging for kids to run riot and invent all manner of games. Although it does turn into a surf beach in stormy conditions, the waters are usually quite tranquil and today they're glistening deep blue. Kick off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes and leave enough time for a paddle. Maybe even a picnic.

The paths leading to Broad Haven South beach in Pembrokeshire are some of Wales' finest
Why not stop at St Govan's Inn, a proper village pub?

The return is along the south edge of the ponds to Bosherston. As an alternative to the tearooms in the village for after your walk, a hidden gem is the Stackpole walled gardens, run by Mencap, which has a delightful café within the sheltered gardens. You can even pick up a plant or two for your garden at home. It's a bit further on from Bosherston but it does a great quiche and a pretty decent scone too.

At spring tides and drought, the sea is very occasionally higher than the lilyponds. Rising sea-levels mean the ponds’ freshwater status is finite – another reminder that these ponds are as environmentally fragile as they are beautiful.

They are a stunning combination of natural ecology and human intervention offering one of the most idyllic aquatic environments in Britain. However you walk them, remember to walk slowly and soak it all up.