Broad Haven North
Broad Haven North beach, in the centre of the wide embrace of St Bride’s Bay, is a total contrast from its namesake, Broad Haven South near Stackpole.
Facing west out towards Grassholm rock, with its massive colony of some 30,000 gannets, it is a relatively flat beach providing extensive shallows which make it ideal for small children, the hot sand warming the incoming tide on sunny summer days.
Its popularity for families has made it a favoured watering place for Haverfordwest in particular, and in the halcyon inter-war years when planning restrictions were virtually unknown, many huts and chalets were built in the fields surrounding the village.
Now they have gone and the village has increased in size, with streets of houses to which people commute at the end of the day’s work. A highlight of a holiday here is the mackerel season when small boats often land dozens of fish which can be taken away and cooked for supper.
Although it is generally calm, Broad Haven can provide good surfing, windsurfing and sailing and has the advantage of being a Blue Flag beach, renowned for its clean condition.
It has been a popular resort for a couple of centuries, but its origins were associated with the Pembrokeshire coalfield, which stretches out beneath St Bride’s Bay and there are legacies of these workings in the form of a group of collapsed pits just round the corner near Little Haven and coal seams visible high on the cliff face.
On the northern end there are rock pools and a small cave for the children to explore near the distinctive triangular Emmet Rock and the Sleek Stone, and also at adjacent Settlands beach at the southern end. The geology is interesting. At Sleek Stone to the north is a rocky fault in the form of a very tight asymetrical up-fold or monocline, while further north at Black Point there is a vast landslide, still slipping slowly, where the coastal path has had to be diverted. In 1950 one could step across the southern end of the crack, but now it is all cordoned off. For extra safety Broad Haven and adjacent Little Haven share an RNLI inshore lifeboat.
From 1994 to 1996 Broad Haven hosted the Pembrokeshire Coast Triathlon, during which period the prestigious event doubled as the Welsh Championships in 1994 and the British Grand Prix between 1995 and 1996.
Another claim to fame was a series of incidents in the 1970s when the village received international publicity as ‘The Broad Haven Triangle’ where mysterious sightings of UFOs and space creatures occurred. In February 1977, 14 pupils reported seeing a yellow cigar-shaped craft in a field near the Primary School. The headmaster invited the children to draw what they had seen and was surprised by the similarity of the drawings. A fortnight later some teachers and dinner ladies saw the same craft with a strange creature going into it. Two other sightings of humanoid creatures were seen the following April.