Caerbwdi Bay Beach

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.

He was a bit put out when St David decided to build a monastery at St Davids, when the saint returned from his initial travels establishing religious houses at the command of an angel. This was Boia’s territory and right under his imposing headquarters in a castle overlooking the vale and the River Alun, which winds down through the present day Cathedral Close on its way to the sea at Porthclais. Welsh chroniclers say that David’s amiable and innoffensive nature won over the pagan tyrant who changed heart and allowed David and his followers to stay and establish their base in the Valley of Roses, where the Cathedral was later built. Legend has it that it was some kind of miracle that won the fierce Boia over, but unfortunately, the nature of the miracle is not revealed, and, despite the popularity of myths with miracles attached, most scholars believe it was St David’s charisma, his strong character and peaceful approach that pacified the chieftain.

Indeed, such was David’s effect on him that it is said Boia almost became a Christian, and his change of heart was such that his opposition was abated and he settled the vale and other lands for ever on the monastery.

The earthwork remains of Boia’s castle  at Clegyr Boia, no doubt a wooden pallisaded structure, overlooks Merryvale above the Mill, and is marked on maps as ‘Castell’. Fenton, the 18th century antiquarian, describes the earthwork in his book “A Historical Tour Through Pembrokeshire” published in 1810, as “a circular earthwork of considerable height...well placed to guard the pass into his territories.”

The famous purple Caerbwdi stone used to build the Cathedral, and to repair it up until recent times, has been quarried at Caerbwdi, from the cliffs flanking the narrow bay. At the eastern entrance there is an interesting geological fold in the purple sandstone of the Lower Cambrian period where it joins the green-grey sandstone of the Middle Cambrian Solva beds. In the valley leading down to the bay, below Carn Nwchwn farm is the ruins of the ancient Caerbwdi Mill.

The National Park Coastal Footpath passes through the valley and across the mill stream on its way to Solva, and just off the path to the north is the site at Trelerw of a typical ‘clachan’ - a small group of houses in the early Atlantic Celtic settlement pattern. Just beyond Trelerw is the remains of the seaward end of the mysterious Monk’s Dyke (Ffos-y-Mynach) which ends at Ogof a Ffos (The Dyke Cave) after crossing the St Davids Peninsula from the rocky tor at Penberry. It is like a mini Offa’s Dyke, though not so well-defined, formed as a defensive barrier across the peninsula in the distant past

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