A guide to Pembrokeshire’s secret beaches
The Pembrokeshire coastline is simply breathtaking, and is regarded as one of the most beautiful stretches of rugged cliffs and sandy beaches in Britain. The entire length is part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, designated for its spectacular diversity, and is the only coastal park in the entire UK.
Aside from the most popular beaches, which attract thousands of tourists each year, the Pembrokeshire coastline also has a whole treasure chest full of secluded coves and bays, although many of these are kept top secret by the locals.
However, those staying in Pembrokeshire holiday cottages who are looking to escape the swarms of sunbathers can discover some of the most stunning hidden gems by reading this guide to the county’s secret beaches.
Before we mention some of our favourites, those with a passion for exploring and rambling may simply like to head along the 186 miles of Pembrokeshire Coast Path, in the hopes of stumbling upon a sheltered haven for themselves.
“The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is home to more than 50 beaches and boasts more Blue Flag and Green Coast beaches than any other county in the country. Some beaches are easy to reach and ideal for families, others are less accessible and offer peace and seclusion.
“While a dip in the water may not be quite as appealing in winter, Pembrokeshire’s golden sands are the perfect place for a brisk walk to blow away the cobwebs. A walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail will lead to the discovery of a number of ‘secret beaches’, where in winter you will very often be the only person in sight.” - Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
Abermawr and Aberbach
These two remote pebble beaches remain basically untouched and have a wild landscape that is difficult to find in the more popular resorts. While Abermawr is great for surfing, Aberbach offers ideal conditions for sea angling, and both are suitable locations for a quiet walk whatever the season. However, be sure to check the tide times before arrival so that you can schedule your visit for when the sea is out, in order to make the most of the beaches – TideTimes is a great resource for information.
“Our favourite secret beaches are here on the spectacular north Pembrokeshire coast close to the ecolodge: Abermawr, Aberbach and Pwllstrodur are all beautiful, sheltered, have great rock-pools and are safe for swimming. You often get a friendly seal or two hanging out there during the late summer and autumn too. Preseli Venture hold these beaches very dear to our hearts and we have Adopted Abermawr and Aberbach as the beaches we keep clean under the Marine Conservation Scheme. We operate quarterly beach cleans on these two beaches.
“They give a taste of the ‘real’ unspoilt Pembrokeshire – no car parks, no caravan sites, no main road, no cafes. Even better they have the best of both worlds: sandy when the tide goes out and rocky at the back of the beach. They offer great wildlife havens with seals, sea birds, and buzzards and peregrines wealing above the cliffs. Preseli Venture also venture down to Aberbach beach for the coasteering adventure, as its one of our favourite National Trust coasteering locations we use.” - Preseli Venture, outdoor activity centre based in Pembrokeshire.
Bullslaughter Bay, Castlemartin
For a golden sandy beach with all the appeal of the seaside, but without the commercial features, Bullslaughter Bay is a great option. Surrounded by high limestone cliffs, and caves to explore, it’s a great beach for keeping children occupied and the sea is clear and clean too for those wanting to paddle or swim.
It is possible to park at nearby Elegug Stacks, although the beach is a mile walk from here, and it may be that access is only granted at weekends due to its location in the Castlemartin MoD range.
Porthmelgan, near Whitesands
Accessible only by the coast path, this secluded cove is the perfect place for relaxing and taking in the striking surroundings, such as the views across to Ramsey Island and the Bishop & Clerks Reef. Boasting turquoise waters in the summertime, and golden soft sands, it’s a tranquil haven for sun worshipers and wildlife enthusiasts alike.
“Pembrokeshire has a surprisingly high number of “secret” pocket sand beaches that are revealed at low water as this area has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world. A quick look at Google Earth and an Ordnance Survey map and a walk along the coastal path will be rewarded with many gems where you may be the only ones on the pristine golden sand. My favourite is Porthmelgan, just a short walk north from the busy Whitesands Bay and the map shows many more “porths”, Welsh for cove, along the coast.” - Andy Davies, professional photographer
Porthmynawyd, near Newgale
You may have already heard of Newgale, one of Pembrokeshire’s most famous beaches, which is two miles in length and backed by a shingle bank. Popular with a variety of tourists, including families, surfers, and windsurfers, it caters for many different tastes and for that reason can often be very busy.
Just a short drive outside of Newgale lies the picturesque cove of Porthmynawyd, which can be reached via a footpath from Pointz Castle Farm. A valley leads down to the beach which is protected by high cliffs, making it a lovely spot for swimming as it is mostly protected from strong breezes.
“Porthmynawyd is a secret beach located 1.5 miles west of Newgale. This is not the most accessible beach (roughly a 20 minute walk from the nearest parking and 1 hours walk from Newgale) but for the more adventurous you will find a stunning sheltered cove often protected from the wind and waves. At low tide the sandy beach is perfect for rock pooling and exploring the caves where at high tide the rocky shore provides access to calm waters perfect for a secluded swim. It is rare to see other people, making it a secret worth keeping.
“Porthmynawyd is the perfect spot to stop for lunch and a dip whilst walking the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park from Newgale to Solva before catching the bus back to Newgale.” - The Big Blue Experience, outdoor adventure company
Watwick, near Dale
Located approximately 1 mile from the pretty village of Dale, Watwick Bay Beach is often very quiet, especially in the late afternoons when the beach becomes shaded. It’s a great location for those staying in dog-friendly holiday cottages to visit at this time in the day, as you won’t have to worry about your companion burning his paws or getting too dehydrated.
During the winter months it varies in appearance to the paradise it provides in the summer, with a wild and rugged look that is surprisingly just as appealing, especially for windy walks.
This content was written by Ben Edwards. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.