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.
At such times the submerged forest is visible at low water.
Abermawr has a massive pebble bank which dams the small stream in the valley, but also protects the inland area from being inundated because of the violence of the north-easterly winds which occasionally hammer the shore.
Separated from the smaller beach, Aberbach to the north, by a rocky promontory called Pen Deudraeth (Head of the two beaches), it was once associated with smuggling, and its isolated location make it an ideal place for such nefarious practices. One claim to fame is that, with Aberbach, it nearly became the terminus of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s proposed South Wales Railway link between Britain and Ireland in early Victorian times. These two beaches, either side of the rocky promontory, which Brunel evidenty saw as the ideal springboard for building a jetty for substantial packet ships, would have become what Fishguard Harbour became 60 years later. But Brunel only got as far as Treffgarne, about nine miles further inland, where the remains of his cuttings and embankments survive. That was when the Irish Potato Famine of 1846 pulled the rug from under the project as the Irish economy collapsed.
It happened at the height of the Railway Mania period when speculators were pouring investments into the new-fangled railway system which was spreading rapidly nationwide and offering the prospect of rich pickings.
Another development which happened around the same time was that Abermawr became the terminus for the submarine telegraph cable that eventually linked Britain with America. But those are now just past memories of what might have been and Abermawr would appear nowadays to be just an isolated and exposed beach with little to offer but a bracing walk or a freezing dip.
Smuggling made a surprise return a decade or so ago when a gang of drug smugglers, who had been using this out of the way spot to bring their evil contraband ashore, were caught by the Dyfed Powys Police. It was almost a repeat of the Seal Bay incident at Newport in 1983 when a sophisticated and ingenious international gang of drug smugglers had gone to unbelievable trouble to further their drugs empire. They even excavated a shingle beach and buried large fibre-glass tanks in which to store their contraband. But they, too, had been rounded up, tried and jailed. The Abermawr-Aberbach incident came after a tip-off about the unusual goings-on in the vicinity and the Police played a waiting game, keeping constant surveillance, logging visitors’ vehicles and collaborating with the Customs and Excise officers and immigration authorities. Their patence paid off and the rogues were caught and paid the penalty for their crimes. It was another triumph in the anti-drug campaign.