Penny Brace is the local ambassador for the Saundersfoot Bay communities: Saundersfoot, Wiseman’s Bridge, Stepaside, Summerhill and Amroth, which are linked by the easternmost section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and share a captivating heritage.
Today, dynamic festivals, charity swims, fish week and fireworks are popular with locals and visitors but respect for the past, so evident in landscape and buildings, remains an integral part of community life.
Saundersfoot harbour once clanged and steamed as tons of ‘black diamonds’, world- acclaimed local anthracite coal, were loaded onto ships from ‘drams’ hauled by the ‘Rosalind’ and ‘Bulldog’ engines, joined by Stepaside iron and Wiseman’s Bridge bricks later in the 19th century.
Experiencing this rich industrial heritage is integral to gaining a feel for the locality and is embedded in plans for the harbour’s development as an international marine tourism destination.
Follow a wave-lapped trail to Wiseman’s Bridge, then walk wildlife-rich ‘Pleasant Valley’. Silent furnaces and skeletal kilns announce Stepaside’s ironworks; iron ore was mined at Cwms Level, between Summerhill and Amroth, where quarries and kilns are still evident.
Chugging along The Strand, once known as Railway Street, the ‘Rosalind’ would have shaded bakers and butchers shops.
Today a wide variety of local businesses, ranging from gourmet hotels and restaurants, to stylish and quirky shops, create a colourful vibrancy across the bay. Colby Lodge gardens owned by the National Trust, offer a great mix of tranquil corners and new adventures for children.
As archivist for Saundersfoot historical society and member of the local regeneration trust, Penny and fellow volunteers help visitors share in the Saundersfoot Bay story.
Maritime and wartime, as well as industrial heritage, is presented through exhibitions, leaflets, talks and tours. Locals whose fathers worked the mines and drove the engines, share vivid memories with local school children, while Tomos, a friendly cartoon character invites visiting families to follow in his footsteps.