Newgale Sands

button_lang_welshbutton_lang_frenchNewgale Sands

Remnants of a prehistoric forest were exposed here in the 12th century, according to Gerald of Wales. At the north end of the beach you can see blocks installed to reduce the risk of Nazi invasion in the 1940s.

Gerald crossed Newgale Sands in 1188 while accompanying the Archbishop of Canterbury on a journey around Wales to preach and recruit for the third crusade. He wrote in his journal that when King Henry II had wintered in Ireland (in 1171) a storm had exposed the stumps of ancient trees and thrown eels and fish onto the shore. Gerald, who was connected with nearby St Davids Cathedral, wrote that the stumps bore clear axe marks and were as black as ebony.

He thought they were remnants of a forest felled around the time of the flood in the Old Testament (when Noah built his ark). Forest remnants which survive at Cors Fochno near Borth, Ceredigion, are thought to be c.5,000 years old.

A socketed axe found at Newgale dates from c.3,000 years ago.

Along the edge of the beach’s northern car park stands a row of large concrete blocks, designed to prevent military vehicles driving off the beach. They were installed in the early years of the Second World War, when the British authorities feared a German invasion through West Wales. Newgale Sands would have been an ideal place for unloading tanks and other equipment from ships.

About the place-name:

Newgale was recorded as Nivegal, Niwegal and Neugol in the 12th century. The name could be of Irish origin. The second element may come from the Old Norse geil (“ravine” or “narrow lane”), referring to access to the sands.

With thanks to Richard Morgan, of the Welsh Place-Name Society

Postcode: SA62 6AS    View Location Map

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