Freshwater East Beach
Its wide sandy beach and south-eastern aspect make Freshwater East an ideal resort for family bathing, with deep golden sand and a sheltering backcloth of dunes.
In hot summer weather it is a veritable suntrap and the waves are gentle and toddler-friendly when the weather is calm.
For generations it has been a favourite recreational venue for the people of Pembroke, seven miles away by road, and the historic village of Lamphey two miles to the north.
Freshwater’s best-known natives are probably the Welsh indie band, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, whose founder members grew up in the village. There is a twice daily bus service from Pembroke, and the County Council’s Coastal Cruiser bus makes regular circuits, but by and large the beach is relatively quiet much of the time and there is plenty of space for recreation.
There is a holiday park in the valley to the south and an inn and shop, and at Greenala Point to the west there is an interesting iron age fort site, with multiple defences and signs of enlargement of its original position. For those with an interest in history, Lamphey has a well-preserved ruin of a magnificent 13th century Bishop’s Palace, mainly ther work of the dynamic Henry de Gower, Bishop of St Davids, whose improsing ornate architecture is also celebrated at the Bishop’s Palace at St Davids and at Swansea castle. Lamphey Palace shows evidence of an impressive attenton to detail in terms of self-sufficiency, with fishponds, fruit orchards, vegetable gardens and sweeping parklands. The nearby medieval parish church is also worth a visit.
Like most Pembrokeshire beaches, Freshwater East is a popular resort of naturalists, botanists and ornithologists, the variety of its flora and fauna attracting much interest. Sadly, though, its dune habitat has been seriously damaged by inappropriate shack development before the designation of the National Park, when the opportunity of protecting the unique environment was lost. However, there are on-going long term plans to develop further seaside resort facilities which should enhance the village’s tourism prospects.
Freshwater East is, of course, in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the 180-mile long coastal footpath passes through, providing the opportunity of exhilarating walks west towards St Govans Head and beyond and east to historic Manorbier, with its magnificent castle, and Tenby with its spectacular beaches, historic town walls and panoramic vistas.
The National Park literature details events in the area, which include beach discovery sessions, such as rockpooling and pond safaris for children, led by experienced National Park wardens, who advertise their presence with flags on the beaches. Freshwater West, Manorbier and West Angle are included in these close looks at the natural wonders of nature on the shore, and there are also guided ‘Twilight’ walks at Lamphey Palace. For these events it is worthwhile picking up the National Park freesheet “Coast to Coast.” which is packed with information and is freely available in shops, supermarkets and information centres and also at Bluestone.