Yesterday we packed up the Chucklebus and headed into West Wales, and we’re now staying at a farm CL called Upper Marros Farm, a few miles west of Pendine. It’s small, quiet and only a mile from the Carmarthenshire coast. An ideal location to explore some of this great walking country.
Today, having checked the tide times, we walked down to the beach at Marros Sands. The first thing you notice is the firmness of the sand and how flat it is. This accounts for the area’s importance in the early part of the 20th century as the site of attempts at the World Land Speed Record. More on that later.
So with the Mutt happily running around like some sort of crazed animal(very apt) we headed east along the beach towards the small coastal village of Pendine.
As we walked, over our right shoulders we could clearly see the main resort of Tenby and in the middle of the bay; Caldey Island, famously occupied to this day by a working monastery.
As we rounded Ragwen Point, looking inland into the small bay of Morfa Bachan, you get a visible reminder of the area’s importance in WW2. Prior to the D-Day landings, Allied troops practiced landing operations all along this coastline. To add realism the military planners built fortifications for the troops to practice against. Lying at the foot of the Morfa Bachan inlet is a large reinforced concrete block, some 30ft across and approx 12 ft high. The sea facing aspect of the block has explosive craters blasted into it, probably where the practicing troops have fixed explosive charges on it, as they would later do on german pillboxes on the beaches of Normandy. This is a part of the areas history that needs to be preserved, it adds an interest to the coastal path that passes alongside it. Sadly there’s no information board there to mark its important past.
Heading further east along the sand, we passed Gilman Point and entered the area of Pendine Sands. This huge stretch of flat firm sand was the site of world land-speed records back in the 1920’s. Two very prominent men for several years between 1925-27 vied for the top spot; Sir Malcolm Campbell and Wrexham born JG Parry-Thomas, who was the son of a Wrexham vicar.
During this period the record changed hands 5 times. Parry-Thomas holding the record in 1926 with a top speed of 170mph, which he achieved in his car that he’d named “Babs”. He actually made 12 successful records attempts over a 5 month period, pretty impressive stuff.
Sadly he was killed on the sands in 1927, whilst testing Babs. After his body was removed, the car was buried in the sands, and that’s where it was to remain until 1969, when the MOD(they own the sands, which they also use for weapon testing) gave permission for the car to be recovered. A team of enthusiasts then spent 15yrs renovating the vehicle. It now has pride of place at the Museum of Speed, which is located on the beach front of Pendine. The car is still running and this year was on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The car is a hugely important part of our automotive industry’s history……
After having a wander around Pendine, we followed the coastal path back towards Marros. In comparison to Cornwall’s gently undulating path, this one is not for the faint-hearted, the never-ending concrete steps from Pendine up to Gilman Point….”Absolute Killer” even the dog was laughing at me. Once your on the top though, great views.
We’re remaining in the area until Wednesday, before heading inland to take a look at the River Cleddau. Tomorrow we might take a stroll in the other direction towards Amroth.
That is all.