Abereiddy can hardly be described as one of Pembrokeshire’s most attractive or welcoming beaches.
Where the visitor might expect to find a stretch of golden sand the dark, coarse sand of the beach is backed by a bank of black slate slabs, which many people find depressing. But it is still quite a popular bathing place for families when the tide is out, no doubt because it is usually quiet there with plenty of space to find a pitch,
easily accessible by car and with ample parking.
The bank of black slate, 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. The lease to quarry a two and a quarter acre site for slate and slabs was granted in 1838 to a slater named John Jones from the nearby village of Trefin, the name of which was anglicized as Trevine for many years. It seems the quarrying on Trwyncastell was on a small scale and did not last long, but in 1841 the quarries at Llanrhian were leased to a group of London businessmen who also leased the granite quarry at Penclegyr. The business took off, and the Abereiddi workings were linked by tramway to nearby Porthgain where one of the most spectacular coastal industrial complexes in Wales was developed. The massive cliffside bins which took the various grades of granite chippings down chutes from the crushing plant to the quayside and into the ships, still dominate the scene at Porthgain. The Trwynllwyd workings left a deep circular hole in the cliffs, into which the sea flowed through a narrow gap, filling the bottom with water which assumed the appearance of a sapphire of deep blue. It became known as The Blue Lagoon and the local fishermen, seeing its potential as a safe harbour for their boats, blasted through the rock to make the entrance wider. The fishing has dwindled but The Blue Lagoon has become quite a tourist attraction and in the last year has achieved international fame as an ideal location for the daring sport of cliff diving.
Last year the Red Bull World Series used the Blue Lagoon as the venue for one of their championship competitions which are held in different parts of the world, including La Rochelle, Copenhagen, The Azores, Boston, Massachussets, Brazil and Thailand. They found the Blue Lagoon, with its high cliffs and natural amphitheatre viewing area, an ideal arena for the spectacular sport so Abereiddi has been lifted out of its 20th century torpor into the full limelight of the jet set age. The little north Pembrokeshire hamlet prepared itself for an even bigger invasion of fans for the event in September. It promises a welcome boost to the economy to replace the meagre income generated by lobster fishing.