Lindsway Bay Beach
A wide, sandy beach less than a mile south of the village of St Ishmaels on the northern shore of the Milford Haven Waterway. Lindsway Bay is a pleasant bathing place for families, as the Royal family can confirm.
When the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh made their first Royal visit to Pembrokeshire in 1955, they brought with them the young Prince Charles and his sister Princess Anne.
The Royal Yacht Britannia was anchored in Dale Roads and, since it was beautiful weather, the Royals decided to take a trip ashore and have a picnic on Lindsway Beach. It was not long before the news got around that the beach had an unscheduled Royal visit, and the locals soon went over to have a look. The Royal security men were able to intercept those who seemed intent on sharing the beach with the VIP visitors and managed to politely persuade the public to give the Royals a bit of privacy. No paparazzi intruders in those days so the Royal family later reported a very pleasant day on the sands. It was the heir to the throne’s first historic visit to Pembrokeshire and the Press inevitably linked it with another historic Royal visit a few miles down the coast near the harbour entrance. It was there at Mill Bay that Henry Tudor put ashore in 1485 with 1,800 French troops and started his march to Bosworth, picking up a growing army of loyal followers, to secure victory and the crown by defeating Richard 111.
Lindsway Bay is sandwiched between Watch House Point to the west and Great Castle Head to the east with Longberry Point and Rooks’ Nest Point delineating the limits of the sandy beach. On Watch House Point are the remains of coastal artillery positions built at the start of World War Two in 1914, while on Great Castle Head is the site of an older fortification dating from the Iron Age.
Lindsway Bay was the scene in the 1980s of one of the most dramatic tanker strandings in the oilport’s recent history. The tanker Donna Marika was not a ship on the scale of the Sea Empress which caused such havoc in 1996, but when it was torn from its anchorage by a strong south-easterly gale and ended up on the jagged reefs of the bay, it triggered an alarming emergency. Its cargo of petroleum was highly inflammable and potentially explosive vapour was leaking from ruptured tanks, the smell spreading over a wide area. The ship was a virtual time bomb and one spark as it writhed on the rocks could have caused a disastrous blast which would have killed or injured the crew and rescuers. Residents of the village were evacuated to safety and the master and crew brought ashore up the cliffs at dawn. Then began the tricky task of pumping out the volatile cargo, which was carried out successfully until the emergency was over and the empty ship was towed away.