West Wales Sandy Coves - a Top Five Selection
Published: Tuesday 22nd Apr 2014
Written by: Ginnie James
Wales has a superb selection of beaches around our wonderful coastline and many extend for several miles. At the other end of the scale, there are a number of much smaller beaches in very attractive and scenic locations - this is a top five selection of sandy coves in West Wales. One of these small beaches was number one in the Daily Mail’s list of "Europe's top ten loveliest, hidden beaches" a few years ago.
4.5 miles north of Cardigan, the National Trust headland of Mwnt overlooks a sheltered sandy beach and this is an ideal place to spot bottlenose dolphins, basking sharks and porpoises in Cardigan Bay. Above the beach is the simple Church of the Holy Cross which dates from the 14th century when it served as a sailors’ chapel of ease.
Further up the coast and seven miles south of New Quay, the attractive village of Llangrannog has a fine sandy beach in a sheltered cove with the added bonus of a hidden cove of Cilborth which is accessible from here at low tide. Llangrannog is set in the narrow valley of a small river, which drops as a waterfall as it approaches the sea. The original village was above this waterfall, out of sight of marauders; it was not until the mid 18th century that the area alongside the beach was developed.
Once a smugglers cove, Cwmtydu is a few miles further north-west from Llangrannog fronting a small hamlet reached by small lanes from New Quay; the beach is predominantly shingle with an area of sand exposed at low tides. Atlantic Grey Seals can be spotted and in August to October the beach may be home to a few pups; females return to the same beach every year to give birth to a single white-coated pup.
Abereiddy is on the north-west coast of Pembrokeshire and pebbles and dark sand made of pounded grey slate form the beach. A former flooded slate quarry nearby forms a beautiful little harbour with a brilliant deep blue colour to the water - the 'Blue Lagoon'; ruins of a small group of slate houses built for the quarry workers remain near the beach. 2012 and 2013 saw the Blue Lagoon on the international stage as the location for one of the stages of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.
A mile or so south-east of St David’s, accessed down a steep and winding path, Caerfai Bay is a small rocky cove at high tide, set between towering cliffs. Low tide reveals a sandy beach and the rocks around the Bay are multi-coloured with a mixture of grey, green and vivid pink. The car park t the top of the access path is free and provides lovely views of Skokholm and Skomer Islands. All these coves and other Award Winning Beaches in Wales are included on our information pages together with nearby cottages.