Waterwynch Bay Beach
The popular South Pembrokeshire resort of Tenby is blessed by such beautiful beaches that Waterwynch Bay on its northern shore is little frequented.
The cliff scenery is magnificent, rising steeply to nearly 300 feet at the triangulation station above North Sands, affording spectacular panoramic views over Tenby and out towards Caldey and distant Lundy Island. The Pembrokeshire National Park Coastal Footpath follows the much older Waterwynch Lane towards Monkstone Point and Amroth. It is arguably the most attractive stretch of the entire 170-mile long footpath. After climbing from The Croft the walker passes through a kissing gate onto a meandering path to where Waterwynch Lane is signposted. The coast path leaves the lane here and turns inland for about 800 yards from the coast before rejoining the lane and returning to the clifftop above the beach. These are among the most sheltered shores in the county, dominated by woods of scrub oak, sycamore, larch and Sitka spruce, colourful in red and gold in autumn and a mixture of different shades of green in spring and summer. The path climbs to almost 250 feet, which enhances the views but also increases the drop from the clifftop, so caution is advised. The beaches below are inaccessible except from Tenby at very low tide and then with caution as the sea comes in very quickly and high water mark laps the foot of the sheer cliffs. Incautious folk often find themselves cut off by the tide with no alternative but rescue by the inshore lifeboat.
Waterwynch has an interesting association with the notorious 18th century Scottish-born pirate Paul Jones, for he is said to have anchored off there and to have secretly come ashore there during his many visits to the Bristol Channel coast. It is well-known that he was in the habit of landing for fresh water on Caldey where one bay on the north-eastern coast of the island, out of sight of Tenby, is named after him. It is even claimed that he was buried on Caldey. The story is told that Paul Jones was known and liked in Tenby and there is a legend that when a suspicious craft anchored in Caldey Roads, a gun was brought onto the cliff. But the man who fired it was a poor marksman and no shot got close to the vessel. An old man o’ war sailor was then summoned to the spot. His first shot sent spray over the bulwarks and his second took away her fore-top mast. A repectable-looking man dressed in black and with a whip in his hand, approached and congratulated the old man on his marksmanship. The stranger then hired a boat and the three boatmen who obliged were forced at gunpoint to put him aboard the pirate ship, its mast having been swiftly repaired. He set them free with a gift of brandy, urging them to tell the Tenby folk how well Paul Jones had treated them.