The visitor to the little fishing village of Abercastle, on Pembrokeshire’s north-western coast, might be excused for thinking they are in Cornwall or Devon, for this hidden harbour beneath the ancient grey igneous rocks is redolent of those areas.
The bank of black slate on Abereiddy beach, and a row of quaint small cottages are reminders of Abereiddi’s hey-day as a slate quarrying area. The cottages were built to house the quarrymen, for the place was humming with activity when the slate quarries on Trwyncastell (Castle Nose) and the granite quarries at Penclegyr were operating.
Aberfelin is a quiet and quaint little cove near the village of Trefin on the north Pembrokeshire Coast. The name means Mill Estuary or estuary of the millstream and the mill at Trefin is celebrated in Welsh poetry.
Abermawr beach, which looks out towards the north-west on the rugged northern coast of Pembrokeshire, is a wide, sandy beach in summer time, but often in winter it is rather bare after stormy weather has stripped away the sand.
Aberwest is a little known sandy cove tucked under the armpit of Dinas Fawr peninsula to the east of Solva on the northern side of St Bride’s Bay. It is not easy to get to, accessible only from the National Park Coastal Footpath either from Solva to the west or from Penycwm or Newgale to the east.
At low-water at Albion Sands, near Marloes Beach on the southern tip of St Bride’s Bay, a head-high piece of metal stand like a statue in the golden sand. Other lower pieces of wreckage protrude from the beach, for this was the spot where the packet paddle steamer after which the beach was named came to a sticky end.
On the boundary of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, the village of Amroth is tranquil and picturesque in the summertime, with its broad beach looking south towards Tenby, Caldey Island and distant Gower.
Angle Bay gets its name from the Norsemen who found it a useful place to shelter in stormy weather, for the word means an angular corner or nook into a safe anchorage.
A Blue Flag beach, in 2004 Barafundle Bay was listed as one of the Top 12 beaches in the world. In 2006 The Good Holiday Guide described it as “the best beach in Britain” and In 2012 it won the accolade “The UK’s Top Picnic Spot.”
Broad Haven North beach, in the centre of the wide embrace of St Bride’s Bay, although generally calm, can provide good surfing, windsurfing and sailing and has the advantage of being a Blue Flag beach, renowned for its clean condition.
Broad Haven South is a lovely, sandy cove flanked by the 180-mile long Pembrokeshire coastal footpath, attracting film-makers as a picturesque, unspoiled location.
Just round the headland to the east of Caerfai Bay, near St Davids, is the little rocky cove of Caerbwdi Bay, where a stream emerges from the valley once owned by the celtic heathen druid and chieftain Boia.
Just a short walk south-west from St Davids, Caerfai is a sheltered cove facing south across St Brides Bay, which presents a pleasant crescent of golden sands at low tide where children can bathe or explore the rock pools in safety.
Ceibwr Bay is a little notch in the north-westerly facing coast between Newport Head and Cemaes Head where geologists find a whole medley of interesting features and where the high cliffs of this stretch of rugged coast are wild and beautiful, famed for wild flowers and seabirds.
Charmingly-named Church Doors Cove, on the south Pembrokeshire Coast near Manorbier, is so-called because two high arched caves in the sandstone cliffs so much resemble the doorways of a church.
Conigar Pit is a little known rocky and sandy cove tucked behind Old Castle Head near Manorbier. At low tide it is a wide stretch of beach at the western end of which is situated the little cove called Presipe, which has become a happy hunting ground for people who collect fossils.
Coppet Hall is situated on the northern end of Saundersfoot Beach and that corner of the village’s golden sands is known locally as Coppet Hall beach. Here, the 170-mile-long Pembrokeshire National Park Coastal Footpath takes a rather unusual route through a tunnel from two former horizontal mineshafts or adits towards the coastal villages of Wiseman’s Bridge and Amroth.
The remains of a storm-wrecked seaside church, standing stark and dramatic like part of a film set or TV scenario, give Cwm-yr-Eglwys (Church Valley) in North Pembrokeshire its name.
If sunshine is the aim then Dale on the far west coast of Pembrokeshire is the place to be. This charming little seaside village, sheltering inside the northern entrance to Milford Haven harbour has the enviable record of enjoying more sunshine hours than most other resorts in the UK.
Deadmans Bay is an almost inaccessible rocky cove on the southern tip of the Marloes peninsula and its westernmost headland, The Deer Park, which juts out into treacherous Jack Sound towards Midland Island and Skomer.
Drinkim is one of Caldey Island's galaxy of exotically named bays and beaches however, on the eastern side of the Island facing out across Carmarthen Bay. Where it got its name is a puzzle which locals seem unable nowadays to explain.
Druidston Haven, in the centre of St Bride’s Bay, has an air of mystery about it. When the tide is in, its beautiful golden sands can’t be seen from the road, but its charm unfolds as the visitor descends the steep path down into the cove.
East Angle Bay on the southern shore of Milford Haven Waterway has its own micro-climate. Sheltered round the corner from the full force of the Atlantic gales and swells which frequently batter the entrance, Angle is amongst the warmest and sunniest places in the country.
Flimston Bay is quite a suntrap, facing due south under the Castlemartin Cliffs which shelter it from all but the warm southerly winds. The area is so full of geological phenomena that the name Flimston features prominently in every geographer’s textbooks and study files and is a ‘must do’ among the student tickboxes.
Its wide sandy beach and south-eastern aspect make Freshwater East an ideal resort for family bathing, with deep golden sand and a sheltering backcloth of dunes. In hot summer weather it is a veritable suntrap and the waves are gentle and toddler-friendly when the weather is calm.
Freshwest, as it called locally, is one of Wales’s top surfing beaches and the base of surf schools offering surfing lessons for adults and youngsters, instructor courses and lifeguarding awards. It is also a commemoration site for one of the worst sea tragedies off this coast during World War II.
Gelliswick is one of those many places around the Pembrokeshire coast which got its name from the marauding Vikings. Vik, as also in the names Goodwick and Musselwick, means harbour in the Norse language, but who or what Gelli or Gelly was the historians seems wary about speculating.
Before the harbour and the railway were built in 1906 with the intention of accommodating trans-Atlantic liners in competition with Liverpool and Southampton, Goodwick was just a small village with only a few houses and a fishing quay on the more sheltered side of the bay.
A wide, sandy beach less than a mile south of the village of St Ishmaels on the northern shore of the Milford Haven Waterway. Lindsway Bay is a pleasant bathing place for families, as the Royal family can confirm.
Little Haven is a small cove into which the roads from three directions drop steeply to the water’s edge. Tucked under the cliffs, its main street passing through the valley parallel with the little stream which runs out over the beach into St Brides Bay.
Lower Fishguard, also known as Lower Town to the locals, is the old historic trading and fishing port which served Fishguard Bay before the present day Ferryport at Goodwick was built across the Bay in 1906.
Lydstep Haven on the south Pembrokeshire coast between Lydstep Point and Proud Giltar head, is a beautiful crescent-shaped bay with a fine stretch of golden sand facing east towards Caldey Island.
With its magnicient clifftop castle and historic Norman church, Manorbier on Pembrokeshire’s south coast five miles west of Tenby has much to offer tourists with an interest in the past as well as visitors who love the seaside.
Marloes Sands, round the southern tip of broad St Brides Bay is a wide, curved stretch of golden sand between Hooper’s Point and Gateholm Island. Although it is a bit of a walk from the nearest carparks at Marloes Mere, Martin’s Haven and West Dale, those who frequent it think it well worth the effort.
The stumps of 4,000-year-old trees make an appearance every few years at Marros Sands, near Amroth, when low tides and rough seas scour away the mud and sand to reveal the petrified forest. It holds pride of place for the clearest example as the stumps and roots of oak, alder and willow are better preserved here than anywhere else in Pembrokeshire.
It is a good idea either to get to Martin’s Haven early enough to view some of the mainland’s interesting features, or to linger after returning from Skomer to stroll over to the western tip of the Deer Park or round the headland to the east for a couple of hundred yards.
A stone arch over the path leading down to the shingly beach of Monk Haven, on the northern shore of Milford Haven Waterway near St Ishmaels gives the place an air of mystery which has appealed to artists over the years. The beach looks south towards the harbour entrance, with Dale Fort on the right and the tip of the Angle peninsula and Thorn Island to the left.
Two miles north of Tenby, Monkstone Point marks the end of Tenby Roads and the beginning of Saundersfoot Bay. Looking down on them from the coastal footpath at low tide Monkstone Sands look very inviting, and so they are, for the bathing is safe, the rockpools abundant and the space ample for recreation.
Musselwick Sands, not to be confused with the inaccessible rocky shore of the same name beneath beetling cliffs near Talbenny, is a sandy strip near the village of Marloes. Facing north into St Bride’s Bay it is located midway between Wooltack Point and Nab Head.
The breathtaking vista of St Brides Bay as you drop down into Newgale is something you aren't likely to forget. With the northern end of Skomer island to the left and to the right the rugged coast meandering round past the Green Scar rock off Solva to the northern extremity of the Bay, where Ramsey Island and the South Bishop Rock peep round the corner of St Davids Head.
Part of the Nevern Estuary, Newport Parrog beach is sandy at low water but rather stony when the tide is up. It is safe for bathing in calm weather at high water but dangerous currents make it treacherous around the ebb tide.
It is the proud boast in North Pembrokeshire that the beautiful golden crescent of Newport Sands is the finest beach on that seaboard. It is known by its Welsh name ‘Traeth Mawr’ (Big Beach) to distinguish it from other beaches in the area, particularly Parrog beach
Nolton Haven is a small, sheltered cove with a nice sandy beach, right beside the coast road between Broad Haven and Newgale. From the top of the beach, only yards from the road, one is struck by the outlines of the two headlands which close the narrow bay, for they resemble faces looking across the beach at each other.
Penally beach is actually an extremity of Tenby's South beach rather than a beach or bay in itself, with dunes at the rear. Behind the dunes at Penally Tenby’s 18-hole Golf course was established and the village has also been the location of an army camp and firing range for many years.
Poppit Sands near St Dogmaels, where the river Teifi flows into the sea after passing through Cardigan, is one of the departure points for a special expedition to see the enchanting dolphins which have been such a source of fascination to man down the ages.
The trading port serving St Davids for many centuries, Porthclais is a sheltered harbour on the south-western tip of the St Davids Peninsula where the River Alun enters the sea.
Porthlleuog is an almost circular rocky cove tucked into the cliffs just east of Strumble Head near Goodwick. It is only a mile or so along the National Park Coastal Footpath west of Carreg Wastad, where there is a memorial stone commemorating the abortive French invasion of Fishguard in February 1797.
Porthlysgi Bay, facing south-west on the southern tip of the St Davids peninsula, is a deep inlet with a rocky beach looking out towards the craggy islet of Carreg yr Esgob (Bishop Rock).
The beautiful sandy cove of Porthmelgan can be seen to best advantage from the 595-foot summit of Carn Llidi, the craggy tor which presides majestically over St Davids Head. Facing south-west, it is tucked into the sheltered crook of St Davids Head at the northern tip of Whitesands Bay.
Porthselau is a little sandy bay at the south end of Whitesands Bay, St Davids, and at low spring tide it is possible to walk from one to the other. Sometimes spelled Porthsele, the beach is sheltered from the south-westerly prevailing winds so there is usually no need for a windbreak, and the sunbathing is good.
Priory Beach is the wide sandy embrace which welcomes visitors to the monastery island of Caldey off Tenby. The landing jetty is right in the centre of the beach, which stretches from Eel point to the Old Quay, and the visitor has only to walk a few yards to sink his feet into the deep, warm golden sand of Priory Beach, which is a veritable seaside lover’s paradise.
Pwllcrochan is an isolated sandy and rocky bay on the north coast between Porthgain and Trefin, but does not appear to justify the name of Cauldronpool or Crockpool. Pwllcrochan North is best approached via the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Coastal Footpath, either from Porthgain to the west or Trefin to the east.
Pwllgwaelod is one of the starting points for a popular three mile walk along the Pembrokeshire National Park Coastal Footpath around Dinas Head. The Head is also known as Dinas Island because it is separated from the mainland by a deep valley with a stream running through, so the “sound” between them is only a couple of feet wide for most of its one mile length.
Sandtop Bay is one of the lovely sandy bays which make Caldey island off Tenby such a desirable place to visit. Situated on the island’s western shore, it looks out towards Lydstep and Old Castle Head with Stackpole Head and St Govans Head in the distance.
Sandy Haven is a wide estuarial creek entering Milford Haven Waterway on the north shore, midway between Dale and Milford Haven town. At low tide when the stream is reduced to a trickle, it can be crossed by means of the Triple Stone stepping stones on the western side to the long stretch of golden sand on the eastern shore.
Separated by Saddle Point headland from the popular South Pembrokeshire beach of Broad Haven South, Sandy Pit is a narrow beach named after the collapsed blowhole which occupies its north-eastern corner. This geological feature is one of six blowholes along a one mile stretch of this coast, where the soft carboniferous limestone has succumbed to years of erosion by wind, wave and rain and subterranean streams.
Saundersfoot is such a tranquil place in summer weather that it is difficult to understand why its harbour is protected by such stout stone walls. Built like a fortress, built to accommodate far bigger and sturdier boats than the holiday craft which now packs the marina.
The sandy, shingly beach of Skrinkle Haven, between Old Castle Head and Lydstep Point, lies south-east of Manorbier village. It was off limits to the public for many years as it was situated beneath the firing arc of the Royal Artillery Range at Manorbier.
Sleeping Bay is a rocky and rather muddy beach on the western side of Sandy Haven on the northern shore of Milford Haven Waterway. Its name is relatively unknown, except to the locals, as it is only accessible at low tide by wading across Sandy Haven Pill round Sleeping Bay Point near Triple Stones near where the estuary is crossable by way of three slippery stepping stones.
The boomerang-shaped tidal creek at Solva, with its south-facing entrance guarded by high headlands, is arguably the safest harbour around the Pembrokeshire coast. It is steeped in maritime history and during its boom years, in the 18th and 19th centuries, was one of the busiest trading ports in Pembrokeshire.
St Brides Haven is a pretty little rocky cove flanked on its northern side by a low building known as Cliff Cottages, a dwelling so close to the sea that it seems in imminent danger of being swept away by stormy waves.
Swanlake Bay can be accessed only off the Pembrokeshire National Park Coastal Footpath, with no car park nearer than Manorbier, so only the most determined will discover it. That means it is a hidden gem well worth seeking out as it is seldom if ever crowded.
The beautiful resort of Tenby is often described as “The jewel in the Crown” of the Pembrokeshire coast. Its history goes back into the mists of time, its origins possibly an 8th century Norse settlement and a 9th century Welsh stronghold, its name deriving from the Welsh ‘Dinbych-y-Pysgod’ (Little fortress of the fishes).
In contrast to Tenby’s sheltered North Beach, the mile-long stretch of the South Beach, from St Catherine’s Island to Giltar Point, is more exposed, but enjoys a splendid view of Caldey Island to the south.
Traethllyfn is a westerly-facing sandy beach between Porthgain and Abereiddy on Pembrokeshire’s rugged north-western coast. It has a link with the Celtic Christian monks and hermits who frequented this coast so close to the sacred settlement of St Davids.
A shallow crescent-shaped bay with a virtually inaccessible beach of rock and shingle on the north-west facing stretch of coast between St Brides and Mill Haven near Talbenny, Warey Haven is a place that few people are familiar with.
The popular South Pembrokeshire resort of Tenby is blessed by such beautiful beaches that Waterwynch Bay on its northern shore is little frequented despite the magnificent cliff scenery, rising steeply to nearly 300 feet at the triangulation station above North Sands.
If Watwick Bay could tell a story, it would be a tale of stormy seas and shipwrecks, for this rocky shore at the entrance to Milford Haven Waterway has seen innumerable maritime disasters involving coastal sailing vessels, steamers, trawlers and tankers.
West Angle Bay is a small but pleasant beach, safe for bathing, its golden sands protected by rocky outcrops on each side of the entrance. It is a short, level walk from the village, andt here is a spacious car park close to the beach with a cafe and toilets.
The valley that runs from the coast at West Dale Bay to the other side of the Dale Peninsula is of great geological interest. A break in the solid rock of the cliff marks the western end of the Rhaetic (or Ritec fault) system which runs east up the Milford Haven Waterway and through the Ritec Valley at Tenby before crossing under Carmarthen Bay to Gower where it almost separates that peninsula from the South Wales mainland.
A jewel in the crown of North Pembrokeshire, Whitesands Bay, or Porthmawr (Big Harbour) in Welsh, is a large expanse of pale gold sand with Blue Flag status and a reputation as one of the finest surfing beaches in the country.
Wiseman’s Bridge lies midway between Monkstone Point and Telpyn Point in the broad curved sweep of Saundersfoot Bay. Today it is a little village behind a pebble ridge and a broad sandy beach ideal for family outings.