My Favourite Pembrokeshire Beach
We are spoilt for choice for beaches in Pembrokeshire- there are over 50 to choose from and Pembrokeshire is the Uk’s only true Coastal National Park. Miles of golden sand, red sans and grey to choose from -where do you start? I originally was going to write about my favourite 5 beaches, but after starting to write about my first favourite, I realised that this blog would just be way to long! So, today is just about my favourite beach-Sandy Haven.
Sandy Haven….well, it has to be, doesn’t it? It’s the beach on our doorstep and The Creek is just down the lane from us, but apart from that-even when I didn’t live here, it always has been my favourite beach, and I’ll tell you why:
Sandy Haven is sometimes, I feel, the forgotten beach in Pembrokeshire, which is good really, as you’ll quite often have the whole beach to yourself. In fact, outside of the school holidays I can get a bit miffed if someone else is enjoying my space! All of the rooms here at Fields Lodge are named after the various ‘parts’ of Sandy Haven- Sandy Haven Bay (the main part of the beach), The Creek (the tidal creek running up the middle), Stepping Stones (named after the bridge joining the 2 parts of Sandy Haven), Sleeping Bay (named after the bay to the right of the creek, looking out towards sea)
How to describe it?
How to describe Sandy Haven? I’ll try and paint a picture as you’re looking at it from the top of the coast path as you leave the car park. Although there is a car park, and a caravan and camping site, there is nothing else, no shops, no public toilets-I think this goes some way to explaining why it’s still a close kept secret! The tidal aspect of Sandy Haven makes it such a beach of contrasts-in the middle, at low tide-Sandy Haven Bay, is a huge stretch of reddy-golden sand-perfect for a run with a dog (it’s a dog friendly beach) or a gallop with a horse. Due to it’s position in the river, it doesn’t benefit from stunning sunrises or glorious sunsets, and so is not a favourite amongst photographers-hence why it’s so little known. I hope my feeble attempts with my camera are able to give you a feel for the beach and inspire you to visit!
And at extra low tide, you will find petrified forests exposed, then as you look towards the right you come to the middle of the beach that is split down the far right side by the tidal Creek-the tide comes in rushing up the Creek and fills up the top part of Sandy Haven Bay so that all that’s left is the very highest rocks-brilliant for jumping from into deep-ish water for an evening swim. Locals tend to call the ‘other’ side of Sandy Haven-past the Creek, the ‘dark’ side, as on that side, you lose the sun fastest, and hence, it’s a great place for foraging seaweed! As you travel up the Creek from the beach you turn right and then you reach the Stepping Stones area, this did, until last year, have actual stepping stones to cross the creek at low tide, but now to aid accessibility, it has been changed into a more user friendly bridge.
Many a time have I fallen off the stepping stones and got wet feet-they sometimes were quite slippy from green algae, on my wish list would have been to have kept the stepping stones and added an extra bridge, bit I guess cost comes into it! Anyway, the bridge is a great place for crabbing-as a child,(and they still do) I would go down to the bridge and dangle my line over the side and catch little, and sometimes, big, green crabs-pop them in a bucket and then compare catches with the others children on the bridge before throwing them back. Every now and then, some mischevious boy would pop one down onto the bridge and we’d all run off screaming thinking it would attack us with it’s claws! From Stepping Stones Bridge you can walk up The Creek which bends around to the right, as you are walking up it and you will come to mud flats that the birds love congregating on for a chat on sunny afternoons and then further up you will come to the remains of a boat that was wrecked some many years ago-it was a small cargo boat I was told by someone in the village here.
By now you have curled right around Sandy Haven and you are directly underneath Fields Lodge-we are a few fields up above and if you look you will see a gate that takes you from the creek into the farmland-this is a permissible Tyr Gofal path, so if you’re feeling strong, as it’s quite steep, you can walk up the fields back to us. If you’re not feeling quite so fit, come back on yourself a little to the lane and just walk up the lane back to the house here.
Coming back to the view overlooking the whole beach at the top of the cliff, if you look far right, past the stream coming down from the Creek, you will see ‘Sleeping Bay’, only seen as a beach at low tide-this is a part of the beach favoured by those after razor fish, you can see their air holes all along the tide line and again at the far right, a wish list for seaweed collectors!
I hope I have inspired you to want to visit Sandy Haven, and maybe look at it with another pair of eyes, just don’t tell too many people-I wouldn’t want it to get too popular!!