Wednesday, 15 October 2014

THE HAVENS OF ST BRIDES BAY



The southern half of St Bride's Bay is dominated by a string of havens: Nolton Haven, Druidston Haven, Broad Haven, Little Haven, St Bride's Haven and Martin's Haven.   Broad Haven is the largest and most resort-y of them, with a wide sandy beach backed by a small esplanade.  Nolton Haven once earned its living from the coal industry, and there are tunnels running out to sea from the abandoned mines.  Druidston Haven has a magnificent sandy beach, good for surfing, which is reached by means of a path and this, combined with limited parking, has kept it unspoilt, though there is a hotel with a bar and restaurant overlooking the beach.  The cliffs are partly formed from slate, which harbour graptolite fossils.  St Brides Haven is a sandy cove with rock pools overlooked by the Church of St Bride.  The remains of early Christian graves are visible in the cliffs.  Finally, at the southermost tip of the bay is Martin's Haven, where keen birders may spot choughs and other rare species.  Martin's Haven is the departure point for boat trips to the islands of Skokholm and Skomer.

Just round from Broad Haven is the picturesque fishing village of Little Haven, another former coal port.  At low tide it is possible to walk between the two.  I have saved this one until last as Little Haven is home to one of the most haunted pubs in Pembrokeshire which, this being the month of Halloween, merits a mention.  The Castle Inn, formerly the Castle Hotel, is frequented by a variety of ghostly visitors.  The main one is the White Lady, thought to be the ghost of a woman who owned the property in the 18th century.  She died under mysterious circumstances, her body washed up on the beach with head wounds, whether from murder or other means nobody knows.  Other ghostly occurrences in the building include a dark, heavy-set man who materialises in the bar from the feet up, a tall, thin man who appears at the top of the stairs, and an invisible cat which leaps onto people's beds.  Voices have also been heard, along with the sounds of a poker in an open fire, possibly resurrecting fireside chats from the past.

Map of the area.

File:Little Haven from the path leading to The Point - geograph.org.uk - 236629.jpg
Little Haven. Photo by Tudor Williams, via Wikimedia Commons

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