The most salient feature of the south-west corner of Wales is a large, semi-circular bay with Ramsey Island just off the northern end and Skomer Island just off the southern end, giving it a pleasingly symmetrical appearance. This is St Bride's Bay, and towards its mid-point is Newgale with its 2-mile Blue Flag beach pounded by surf, making it a magnet for surfers, windsurfers and swimmers alike. The beach is backed by a shingle bank which was thrown up by violent storms in 1859. During the more recent storms which lashed the country earlier this year, Newgale made the news when the passengers of a bus hit by a giant wave had to be rescued. Accommodation options at Newgale are dominated by the caravan and camping sites, and there are some shops and a pub. The west-facing aspect of the beach makes for some fabulous sunsets on sunny summer days.
On the approach to the bay from the south there is a roadside viewpoint with lovely views of the bay. Also near this road down to the bay is Roch with its 12th century castle rising up from a rocky outcrop. Once upon a time Pembrokeshire was divided into two distinct areas, the Welsh area and the English or 'Landsker' area. Castles such as the one at Roch were built on the borders between these areas for defensive purposes. During the Civil War in the mid-1600s the castle was passed between the two sides like a parcel, and it fell into neglect after the Civil War, but in 1900 Viscount St David undertook extensive restoration work. The castle is now an elegant hotel, where in addition to its sumptuous facilities guests may get more than they bargained for in the form of a white-clad figure passing through closed doors. This is thought to be the ghost of one Lucy Walters, former mistress of Charles II, who was born at the castle and who, with Charles, bore an illegitimate son who would become the Duke of Monmouth, leader of the 1685 Monmouth Rebellion, a role which was to lead to his execution.
Webcam showing surf conditions at Newgale.
Map of the area.
|Photo by Andy F, via Wikimedia Commons|