A bay is an open, curving feature cut into the coastline. In Pembrokeshire, bays can be big or small, St. Brides Bay is a large feature, that gives the county its distinctive shape when seen on a map. It is almost as though a giant has taken a bite out of the side of the county!
Other bays are smaller. Barafundle Bay, in the south of the county, close to the village of Stackpole, is a beautiful bay, popular with visitors. The bay nestles between cliffs, and marks the end of the Carboniferous Limestone cliffs of the Castlemartin peninsula to the south-west, and the beginning of the red sandstone rocks of Devonian Age at Stackpole Quay, to the north-east.
The bay is sandy and gently sloping, and the beach has developed a dune system to the landward side. The land was once owned by the Cawdor family of Stackpole Court. Barafundle Bay was the private beach for the family, who would travel overland from the big house. On the northern side of the bay are steps and a wall built by the family, so that they and their guests could access the beach. Today the beach and estate are managed by the National Trust. Access to the beach is on foot, and visitors need to leave their vehicles at Stackpole Quay. Thus, the beach is largely unspoiled.