Newgale Beach

The breathtaking vista of the broad embrace of St Brides Bay as the motorist crests the hill dropping down into Newgale is something the visitor is not likely to forget.

Suddenly the eye takes in the northern end of Skomer island to the left, Stack Rock, off St Brides, triangular Rickets Head, and to the right the rugged coast meandering round past the Green Scar rock off Solva to the northern extremity of the Bay, where Ramsey Island and the South Bishop Rock peep round the corner of St Davids Head.

Almost centre of this spectacular panoramic view on a clear day, distant Grassholm  breaks the horizon like a shark’s fin, its southern side snow-capped with the gannet guano of centuries, and even the candy-striped needle of The Smalls lighthouse may be seen.

From certain clifftop vantage points at dusk, the pulses of three lighthouses - Skokholm, The Smalls and South Bishop - flicker on and off, warning mariners of the potential hazards of the rocky Pembrokeshire coast .

The 2.5-mile wide beach of golden sand, backed by a high pebble bank, is a perfect family beach, but when the breeze is brisk a wind-break is necessary. The sands shelve gently so the shallows are ideal for small children, and during the summer the local authority provides wooden walkways to negotiate the pebbles from the two main carparks. Parking fees are charged from Spring to October but there are designated spaces for disabled use both on the seafront and in the clifftop park on the Nolton Road, where the views are even more spectacular and there is easy access to the Coastal Path.

Newgale is a popular surfing beach and is also used for sand yachting, kite surfing and windsurfing. Sea anglers fish here for seabass and mullet, and beach users regularly see trains of horses from the nearby riding school walking along the shallows or cantering across the beach. Out in the bay gannets from the Grassholm colony patrol and, when their are shoals of fish, give observers a spectacular display of diving on their prey from a great height, their six-foot black-tipped wings folded back. “Twitchers” may also glimpse a chough on the cliffs. Supertankers, sometimes half a dozen or more of them, anchor in the bay awaiting a free berth in Miford Haven oilport and the Irish ferry regularly traverses the horizon on its afternoon crossing.

The curious are often puzzled by the hillocks alongside the coast road. These are legacies of the coal industry which once flourished here; in fact small slag-heaps now disguised by vegetation and wild flowers. Another more obvious sign of past coal workings on the Nolton side of the beach is the brick stack and ruined stone buildings of the Trefrane colliery, and beside the road at the mid-point of the beach is an old lime kiln, a feature which almost every cove and inlet in the county possesses as a reminder of the coastal trade in limestone to enrich the farmland.

Share this page