Share Take to the water at Pembrokeshire's Blue Lagoon
Published: Monday 11th Nov 2013
Written by: Anita Lee
The Blue Lagoon, located on Wales’ north west coast, holds a reputation of wonder and marvel. Its 25-metre deep pool is famed for its clear bright blue water – which is the reason for its name – while the dramatic surrounding scenery acts as a reminder of an industrial past.
The spectacular feature is set on the coast of the small Pembrokeshire hamlet of Abereiddy in south west Wales, where many visitors come to stay on seasonal Pembrokeshire cottage holidays. Until recently, few knew about the hidden treasure that is Wales’ Blue Lagoon but, following Pembrokeshire sport competitions and even a music video being held there lately, the enclosed natural pool has now become quite the tourist attraction.
The rich blue colour of the water that the Blue Lagoon is known for is actually an interesting part of its history. The Blue Lagoon is in fact a former slate quarry that was flooded by the sea, and the blueish green colouring comes from the mineral content that still makes up the quarry’s structure. The slate was exported across the neighbouring Abereiddy beach in the quarry’s beginnings before a tramway was built to transport the material. You can still see evidence of the area’s history as a working quarry with its ruined buildings nestled against the cliffside.
Due to its remote location, the lagoon can be reasonably difficult to access. While you can park at Abereiddy beach, the lagoon itself must be travelled to via the Pembrokeshire coast path.
Once there, the Blue Lagoon makes for a great setting for participating in Pembrokeshire sport, and you can often see people enjoying coasteering, kayaking, boating and all manner of other water sports that are popular in this area.
One of the most publicised events to come to the Blue Lagoon in Pembrokeshire was the Red Bull World Cliff Diving Championship, which was first held in Wales in 2012. The Red Bull cliff diving competition saw expert divers from all over the world compete against one another, taking the leap of faith from the specially installed 27 metre platform.
The event proved so popular that it returned to Pembrokeshire the following year, and featured appearances from three UK entrants - Matt Cowen, three-time World Series champion Gary Hunt and former Olympic diver Blake Aldridge – who brought high acclaim to the event and its setting of Pembrokeshire’s Blue Lagoon. The event saw spectators come from all over, as people were allowed to watch from the water beneath. Here’s a stop motion film of all the action at the 2013 competition.
Professionals aren’t the only thrill seekers to dive from the Blue Lagoon cliffs, as diving is a long established activity in the area, and you will often see people brave the high jump from the quarry building ruins.
The local area
Pembrokeshire has long been regarded as one of the UK’s most spectacular maritime counties, with the well visited destinations of Tenby and coastal Saundersfoot cottages renowned for their popularity, welcoming millions of holidaymakers to the county every year.
Abereiddy itself is comparatively small and, whilst it is close to the thriving city of St Davids, it holds great appeal for many, with its numerous coastal walks along the Pembrokeshire coast path, its sporting culture and its famously unspoilt coastline. The coastal walk from Abereiddy to the neighbouring village of Porthgain is one of the most popular pastimes in the area; taking approximately 45 minutes, it leads you to the pretty harbour, which is a highlight of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
With its heavily industrial history, it is hard to believe how the Blue Lagoon at Pembrokeshire came to be quite the natural wonder it is today, and while it is now famed as a diving Mecca, on a quiet day the peace and tranquillity that can be found there is every bit as breathtaking as an adrenaline-fuelled dive.
Image Credits: Saskia Heijltjes (flickr.com)