Thursday, 25 September 2014

Enjoying the sunshine on Llansteffan Beach

It was such a beautiful sunny day on Monday, a real remnant of summer (temperatures were around 21 deg C/70 deg F) and it seemed a shame to waste it, so we drove to our nearest beach, at Llansteffan.  That is about 8 miles from Carmarthen and 18 from home.  As you can see the tide was at a very low ebb.  This is looking inland up the Towy.

Looking across the Towy now.  You can just see the remains of Iscoed Mansion on the middle left.  This was General Picton's home and where he finally retired to in 1814, after the Peninsular Wars.  Unfortunately his retirement was short as after Napoleon escaped from Elba, General Picton was summoned back to the Army and sadly killed at Waterloo on 18th June 1815.  There is a big memorial to him on Picton Terrace in Carmarthen.  HERE is a very interesting link which shows many pictures of the sadly derelict house.  Many many years ago (1972 I think) when I was on holiday with a penpal who lived near Ferryside - which is the village in this photo (and below), we walked around Iscoed - it was completely abandoned at that point and a little scary with its towering brick walls, echoing with Jackdaw flight.

Below - low water, and a smudge in the distance which is Pembrey woods and beach.

The corpse of a rather large jelly fish which the tide had brought in.

As I said, it was a VERY low tide.  This is where the Cockle Pickers go, in season.  In 1994, we had Cockle Wars here, when pickers from out of the area came to pick and there was fighting on Ferryside beach when rival gangs from out of the area arrived.

As we rounded the first headland into Scott's Bay, there were a few people about, some walking their dogs.

What a lovely spot to live.  St Anthony's cottage (there is a well dedicated to him close by).  HERE is a link to Llansteffan in general and some lovely views.

Sedimentary layers (level ones) in the cliffs.

And here a lot more interesting geologically - squeeze up by primeval upheaval.

Wharley Point, which is far as we walked.  Here beyond the rocks are the low waters of the River Taf, and Ginst Point, the very last tip of Pendine Burrows (and the long long beach where the land speed records were held in the early part of the 20th C.   Where, in fact, Parry-Thomas died in his famous "Babs" when attempting the land speed record on 3rd March 1927.

Back later with more photos, as I have bread to make and time has fled by already this morning.

Later . . .

In places the sand was very fine and you sank right in, so we kept close to the rocks on the way out, and returned closer the sea on a higher drier spit.

Carmarthen Bay is very shallow, and although there were stretches underwater from the Taf and the Towy, the rest of the Bay was just wet sand or wet mud.

Above, looking across to where the very end of Pembrey sands is marked by a lighthouse.

Sandstone rock revealed by a rockfall many years ago.

The very top of the remains of Llanstephan castle just showing up on the headland.

Not a soul in sight . . .

There was quite a large area like this, so I wondered if this was where the Cockles were raked up from.

Ferryside in the distance.

Looking back across Scotts' Bay to the headland we'd just been round.

The changing colours of the trees at the beach edge - this area known as The Sticks and mentioned by Dylan Thomas.  I have a book somewhere in the house by an artist who came and painted this area in close-up, noting all the wildlife, but since then there has been a landslip and it has gotten very scrubby and overgrown.

Then back across the sands to the car park in front of the houses.  What a lovely spot to live.

HERE  is a link to a very long but very interesting piece about Fish Weirs off this area, and some maps showing the coastal outline.  I have bookmarked it to return to and read at my leisure - hah, what is that?!


  1. A really interesting post with some great photos :) Love the sedimentary rocks and upheaval :)

  2. What a lovely place to visit on a sunny day. It's so quiet too.

  3. What awe inspiring beaches - such space and air and wonderfully captured in your photos. I think you need to adjust your sidebar so the photos don't cut into them! xx

  4. Em - what would I do without you?! For some reason I had it in my head that the sidebar settings were as good as I could get them until you mentioned changing them - so I've just gone and had a fiddle and hey presto! Thanks. The beaches are Wales' best kept secret - miles of golden sand on several of them, others are just secluded bays - especially if you have to walk to them - and hardly any people. When I think of Bournemouth beach these days I cringe - you had to get there for 7.30 a.m. in order to a) park, and b) get a space before it became a throbbing mass of humanity. No thanks. . .

    Suzie - it was very peaceful, especially when we'd gone past Scott's Bay and kept on. We had the place to ourselves then. I wished for a book and a rug (the baby barnacles on the rocks made for an uncomfortable seat!)

    R. Robin - glad you liked the post. The rocks do that for quite a way along the Welsh coast - at sometime in the past it was a wild and unpredictable place to be if you were a rock!!

  5. Loved the photos, I have often noticed Picton Castle signposted off the road when we go down to Solva is that in the area?
    There is something very lonely and evocative about those long stretches of beach reaching out to the far distant sea.

  6. No thelma - this is just 8 miles from Carmarthen. As far as I know there's no connection between General Picton and Picton Castle - just the same name. This isn't a huge beach like the miles of sand at Pembrey or Pendine, but it's the nearest.

  7. Beautiful pictures and interesting history. Followed the link to the derelict house, so sad it is crumbling apart. A fabulouse piece of achitecture. Pam

  8. Catching up with Codlins at last!
    What a lovely beach and so peaceful.