Druidston Haven Beach
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.
An added element of mystery and intrigue is provided by the hotel, tucked under the clifftop like the setting for a smuggler novel or Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Jamaica Inn,’ to which Alfred Hitchcock added his inimitable stamp.
The beach is wide and sandy with a few rocks protruding dramatically along the strand and it stretches for over a mile beneath the high cliffs from Druidston caves in the south to Priest’s Vault, North Haven and Madoc’s Haven, just round the headland from Nolton Haven.
A very unusual feature was added to the clifftop landscape in 1998. This is ‘Malator,’ an ultra-modern underground house with a grass roof which has become known as “The Tellytubby House,” and was built by a specialist firm for Bob Marshall-Andrews QC, the controversial Labour MP for Medway. It is virtually invisible from the landward side, just a rounded tump amid the clifftop vegetation, but from the sea and the low tideline of the beach it resembles a World War One tank or a grounded UFO. The panoramic view it commands of the broad embrace of St Brides Bay is spectacular.
Druidston is a popular bathing beach and much frequented by sea anglers and it is an excellent place to see peregrine falcons, who have their nests in the high cliffs and are frequently seen chasing away the jackdaws, seagulls and pigeons which populate the clifftops. On the far left of the Haven is a waterfall which flows like a white pillar down the cliff onto the sand, an ideal shower for washing the salt and sand off.
Apparently, the name has nothing to do with druids. It was named after a Norman Knight named Drue of Henry 1st’s time (1110) having been called Drue’s ton. It is still pronounced Drueston or Drooson by the locals today.
To the right of the spot where the footpath enters the beach is an interesting geological feature - a fault between the coal measures and Bala shales which has a ‘throw’ of 6,300 feet. This is a reminder that Druidston was once a part of the St Brides Bay coalfield, which has left evidence of mines and shale dumps which are now indistinguishable. Also of geological interest is that the path onto the beach passes over masses of glacial ‘head’ in which the marine shells of animals still living in the Arctic can be found.
The coal measures around the bay have not been worked since 1905, and it is estimated that there is still a reserve of 230million tons of unexploited anthracite buried under the sea between Newgale and Nolton.
The Druidston cliffs are a perfect grandstand for watching the gannets diving on the shoals in St Brides Bay