Newport Sands Beach
It is the proud boast in North Pembrokeshire that the beautiful golden crescent of Newport Sands is the finest beach on that seaboard.
It is known by its Welsh name ‘Traeth Mawr’ (Big Beach) to distinguish it from other beaches in the area, particularly Parrog beach on the other side of the Nevern Estuary where the river forms a deep divide between the beaches.
For many years ferrymen rowed people across this short stretch of water, from Parrog to the big beach, particularly golfers heading for Newport’s magnificent 18-hole links on Berry Hill. The short crossing saved them a long trek round the estuary.
A popular bathing beach, Newport is one of few in Pembrokeshire on which you can actually park your car, but this has increasingly become less accceptable these days.
Half a mile wide with plenty of space when the tide is out, it offers ideal conditions for family beach outings as well as for sailing, canoeing, kayaking, surfing of all kinds and some sea angling. On the northern side near the car park is a shop, toilet and a Surf Lifesaving Clubhouse, and In the estuary on the Parrog side is a sheltered area where boats are safely moored, even in winter.
The Golf Club is worth a mention as it is probably the most picturesque in West Wales, the links woven among gorse-topped hillocks and little hollows and valleys offering plenty of challenges. And the view from the Clubhouse windows, particularly the popular restaurant renowned for its cuisine, is absolutely spectacular; a wide panorama which includes the beaches and Newport town, with a splendid backdrop of Carn Ingli (Angel Rock), the ‘mystic mountain’ celebrated in novels by local author Brian John.
Newport may seem simply a tranquil resort far from the madding crowd, but it has seen the worst side of human nature in recent years. In the summer of 1983, thanks to the vigilance - some would use the uncharitable word nosiness - of the canny locals, police and customs authorities were alerted to the fact that there was some funny business going on in a quiet cove called Slipping Cove. Local fishermen had seen strangers suddenly emerge from nowhere on the almost inaccessible beach, and the strangers gave several unlikely explanations for their presence. They were making a film about seals, but the seals only haul ashore there during the October pupping season! They were training for an Arctic whale-filming expedition, but there wasn’t an iceberg in sight! They had also been seen in the Sailor’s Safety inn at nearby Pwll Gwaelod flashing high denomination banknotes and buying expensive food.
Locals had seen a 15-foot inflatable with two powerful outboard motors beached on the pebbles. During “Operation Seal Bay,” Police found a large fibreglass tank buried under the shingle in the cove. After a long investigation, the drug smugglers were caught red-handed and eventually jailed, and Newport had a smuggler’s tale to dine out on for years to come.