Marloes Sands is an approx. 1.5 kilometres (0.93 miles) long remote sandy beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales, near the village of Marloes. It's broadly curved and surrounded by cliffs. Walking on the beach gives great views of Skokholm Island and Gateholm Island.
The beach is located SW from the Marloes village and there is a National Trust car-park nearby (charge per day or free for National Trust members). There is a track that leads from the main road to the beach. There is a disused World War II Royal Air Force airfield RAF Dale, above the south east cliffs of the beach. There are approximately three accesses to the beach which become very useful if you get caught by the tide coming in. Besides the main access from Runwayskiln there is also an access to the north, near Gateholm Island, that requires some scrambling over the rocks and another access to the south that has steps leading to the midsection of the beach.
The surrounding cliffs are layered with red sandstone and grey shale. A feature of the beach are the Three Chimneys, three vertical lines of hard silurian sandstone and mudstone. There used to be four chimneys, but the fourth crumbled in a severe storm of 1954.
Marloes Mere is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (or SSSI) in Pembrokeshire, South Wales. It has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest since November 1985 in an attempt to protect its fragile biological elements. The site has an area of 17.17 hectares and is managed by Natural Resources Wales.
This site is notable for its wet acidic vegetation. It lies in a hollow on the Marloes peninsula lined with glacial silt and clay and each winter the pasture floods. Such pasture is rare in West Wales. Scarce plants occur and the shallow winter waters and ponds are frequented by waterfowl. The mere was common land until 1811; at that time Richard Fenton mentioned that it abounded in medicinal leeches (Hirudo medicinalis), from which the villagers derived a considerable trade.
Rare species include: three-lobed crowfoot (Ranunculus tripartitus); tubular water-dropwort (Oenanthe fistulosa) growing on the margins of the ditches, reservoirs and pools; wintering wildfowl include wigeon, shoveler, pintail, teal and mallard the great green bush-cricket (Tettigonia viridissima); the marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia); six dragonflies including the emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator).
The Marloes Peninsula is a truly special place with wildlife aplenty, spectacular flora and refreshing coastal walks. Tucked away on the western edge of Pembrokeshire, it’s very much a hidden gem that’s just waiting to be explored.
Birds you’ll find along Marloes’ coastline.
Puffins. With their monochrome feathers and brightly-coloured beaks, puffins are unmistakable. The seabird is rather fond of Pembrokeshire too, with around 6,000 pairs of puffin breeding on Skomer Island. Ravens. Ravens are huge with diamond-shaped tails and are early nesters. Listen for their deep croaks during your visit.Chough. Another crow, but with red feet and bill. Around 60 pairs nest along the Pembrokeshire coast.
Peregrine. Often disputing airspace with ravens, peregrines are the other kings of the Pembrokeshire cliffs. Kestrel. While the peregrine hunts flying prey, the kestrel hovers, hunting for beetles and voles below. Gannet. Around 39,000 pairs of gannets nest on Grassholm. Watch them dive for mackerel just offshore. Dartford warbler. Dartford warblers are an exciting new addition to Pembrokeshire's birdlife and you may be lucky to find them in areas of dense gorse and heather in the Deer Park.
Birds you'll find at Marloes Mere
Marsh harrier. This spectacular bird of prey can turn up at any time, but you’re most likely to spot marsh harriers during spring and autumn migration. Two or three may be present, hunting over the Mere for birds and amphibians. Teal. Teal, our smallest duck, hide in the dense wetland vegetation – they can be flushed out by a peregrine falcon or marsh harrier overhead.
Snipe . Snipe feed at the wet edges of the marsh and can be hard to spot. Cold weather forces them out into the open and when disturbed, they zigzag wildly away with a sharp 'ketch' call. Stonechat. Stonechats are resident all year round, and like Dartford warblers are vulnerable to hard winters. Listen out for their noisy 'squeak chack chack' calls from gorse bushes. Whitethroat. Whitethroats are common in spring and summer. Watch as they hurl themselves in the air for their noisy song flight. In winter they head for sub-Saharan Africa.
Marloes’ marine life is rich, with the coast surrounding the peninsula a designated Marine Conservation Zone. The high diversity of habitats means you’ll spot all kinds of creatures in the water and on the shoreline. In late summer, you can see Atlantic grey seals and their pups on remote beaches around the peninsula. Around 150 pups are born each year and you’ll get the best view of them from the Deer Park’s clifftop. Join one of their ranger-led walks to see the seals – the guided trips are great for getting to learn more about the wildlife and area.
The rough stretch of water known as Jack Sound, which is between the Deer Park and Middle Isle, is a popular haunt for porpoises. Watch them make a splash and, if you’re lucky, you might see a dolphin or two – they’re known to make an appearance every now and again.
Delve a little deeper into the water world and you’ll actually find nationally scarce species including the seafan sea slug, pink seafan sponge crab and crawfish, along with caves, reefs and wrecks. Diving off the Marloes Peninsula is possible, but you’re best booking an organised trip with a local diving operator. They’ll work within the Pembrokeshire Marine Code and have the expert knowledge on tides and peak places.
The National Trust’s 600-acre Trehill Farm is balanced on the cliffs of the Pembrokeshire coast and grows superb potatoes. Savoured for their sweet and earthy taste, the spuds are award-winning. They acquired Trehill with Enterprise Neptune funds in the mid-1960s. It's run by Peter and Gina Smithies, whose family have been tenants since 1968.
The Smithies say it's the sea spray that helps give their early potatoes their distinctive sweet and earthy taste. It's this closeness to the sea that keeps the soil frost-free and allows it to warm up quickly as spring approaches, enabling them to get planting in February and March. Look at the farm gate as you pass by from mid-May to mid-July and you'll see the result of those labours – delicious, fluffy skinned, sweet-tasting early Trehill potatoes to buy loose in their distinctive Trehill Farm bags.
Heath restoration at Trehill Farm - 7.34
Discover Marloes Sands - 8.38
Birdwatching at Marloes Mere - 8.58
Car parking charges at manned car parks - Marloes (OS: SM 779082) and Martin's Haven (OS: SM 763089) = £5. Assistance dogs are welcome as are dogs on a leash. Access is not easy for the disabled. There is a shop, cafe and pub in nearby Marloes Village.
Location : Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire, SA62
Transport : Haverford West (National Rail) 14 miles. Bus Routes : services are provide by Puffin Shuttle from St Davids to Milford Haven.
Opening Times : Daily, Dawn till Dusk
Tickets : Free.
Tel : 01348 837860