Flemish settlers landed at Sandy Haven Pill

The Normans invaded from Normandy. They were European descendants of Vikings or Northmen – Normanni in Latin. Their Dutchy was formed in 911 under the strong Norman leadership of Rollo. William the Conqueror died on 9th September 1087, some 21 years after the Battle of Hastings. His wife Queen Matilda of Flanders had died earlier […]

Sandy Haven Pill protected by floating boom from Sea Empress oil spill

15th February 1996 is an infamous day in Pembrokeshire and one still remembered with deep sadness. It was the day the super tanker Sea Empress went onto the rocks in the entrance to the Milford Haven Waterway.  Like the Torrey Canyon before her (also on route to Milford Haven), she spilled her cargo of crude oil […]

Sandy Haven was a decoy site for Luftwaffe bombers

Today the hamlet of Sandy Haven, with its 6 houses, is a sleepy quiet hollow on the tidal creek, best suited for summer holidays where small boats are moored, children and families play, catch crabs, swim and kayak.   Not many people know that during World War II the fields lying on either side of […]

The Monks Garden

After The Anchorage was built, the garden in front of the house proved very wet and muddy with a thick red clay soil.   Roses, lavender and flowers put into the clay quickly died in the very acid wet soil.   At the time archaeologists had been working on the then-overgrown ruins of the Elizabethan […]

Another gift from King Neptune

Pembrokeshire, with its three peninsulas (St. David’s, Dale and Castlemartin) jutting out into the Irish Sea, is at the receiving end of anything floating across the Atlantic Ocean drive by the Gulf Stream or North Atlantic Drift.   The south-westerly winds, driving the great conveyor belt in the sea, deliver an astonishing variety of debris and […]

Aluminum wreckage finally identified

It took a long time to solve the puzzle of the aluminium wreckage recovered over a number of years of family summer holidays on Lindsway Bay (See story “The Aluminium wreckage of Lindsway Bay, Pembrokeshire”).  The main conclusion after many years was that it was heavy duty and probably part of a launch or small […]

The big oak tree

In the winter of 2013-14 there was a great gale in Pembrokeshire with very strong winds from the west. A lot of big old trees were blown down all lying with their roots to the west and their tops to the east. Along the side of Sandy Haven tidal inlet, where The Anchorage small holding […]

The bridge is coming up

By John (this story based on fact was modified for submission to a Bloomsbury book company short story competition with the theme of “Ageing” to be judged in February 2016). Saturday morning, 10.00 am, August 2015. An old man, approaching his 72nd year, stands on Sandy Haven beach – the stony one on the west […]

My 69th birthday celebration in Wales

My name is Joop and I am a retired geologist living in Haarlem, Netherlands. On the occasion of my 69th birthday I decided to give a party for some Dutch friends and enjoy the Wales experience. Selecting a suitable house was not a problem, as a friend of mine had built a grand mansion shortly […]

Feasting at The Anchorage

After four years of summer renting of The Anchorage (sleeping 10 persons in 5 bedrooms), it is emerging as a popular place for family reunions. In September 2014, we had our own family reunion there. We were myself and my wife, our four children and their partners and three grandchildren aged between two and a […]

A Day Sail to The Islands

When the balmy days of summer arrive in Pembrokeshire, the world is a warm friendly place and winter gales and rain are but a memory. The sea beckons and sail boats appear on the long flooded estuary of the Milford Haven waterway beneath blue skies with fluffy white clouds. It is a time to get […]

Boat Trip to Stack Rock Fort

This is my first story for The Anchorage website. I am Matt, second son in the Roobol family, and I have spent much of my childhood and time as an adult swimming, fishing, BBQing, and enjoying family holidays in Pembrokeshire. I have fond memories of visiting Lindsway Bay as a young child and my imagination […]

The Nicholas Stone

The Anchorage site when purchased was full of rock and it took several summers of activity to get it all cleared up. The numerous vast sandstone boulders (shed by a thick layer of this rock that crosses the valley in the garden) were used to hold newly-cut terraces (originally sloping vegetable gardens for the two […]

The Black Mud of Sandy Haven

As a teenager in Milford Haven, my old grannie Newman worried about my roaming about looking at rocks in strange places as this was regarded as rather bizarre behaviour. She was always afraid of Sandy Haven tidal inlet and warned me never to go there. The reason was she explained that in the old days […]

Cap Stones for The Anchorage Gate Posts

One summer when our oldest son Peter was 12 years old, we took one of his school friends (Matthew) with us to Pembrokeshire for our annual summer holiday. Our group then consisted of my wife, myself, the two boys, a daughter about 8 years old and our youngest son was about 2 years and travelled […]

King Neptune and The Pembrokeshire Coastline

During a lifetime of summer holidays in Pembrokeshire, mainly spent on the beaches with a family that grew to include what became four children, we all enjoyed beachcombing. For the small children stories of King Neptune and beach searches for “gifts” from King Neptune were an important part of the summer holiday. Tiny tots were […]

My ‘Orrible Dad

In 1982 I bought a plot of land at Sandy Haven and started work on a house and gardens (now The Anchorage). Work had to start immediately as it was in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the site, with a pair of linked ruined stone cottages, had been abandoned for 14 years. Park rules […]

The Aluminium Wreckage of Lindsway Bay Pembrokeshire

When our children were young, August spent in Pembrokeshire was very sunny and the winds blew from the south west. Lately for some years August has become the monsoon season and the winds blow from the south east and south and even the north. In those balmy years we established a holiday routine where our […]

Three Big Waves at West Dale Bay

One very hot sunny summers day on our annual Pembrokeshire holiday when our first child was about 8 years old, we all went to West Dale Bay. It was a perfect day with a calm sea and the tide coming in. The beach was not crowded with few people. We played with the children and […]

The Bottle of Orange Juice at Musselwick Sands Pembrokeshire

One summer when our fourth child was still a baby we spent the day on Musselwick sands beyond Marloes village. This involved parking alongside the road and walking across a field to reach the little valley leading down to the beach (see photograph below of children that day with our oldest son carrying the bottle […]

An Early Winter Storm

Its nice to visit Pembrokeshire at different seasons to see the changes. One time when we had three young children we decided to have a holiday in Pembrokeshire in October at the school half term. On this occasion we rented a large caravan in a caravan park situated on the top of a hill on […]

The Missing Canoeist

It was one of those rare summer days in Wales when everything is perfect. Overhead the blue sky had some fluffy white cumulus clouds and it was a time when a Spring high tide occurred in the afternoon. Sandy Haven creek was filled to brimming with clear green water which at these times is 18 feet […]

The Lost Watch at Lindsway Bay

It was another summer holiday in Pembrokeshire and our family had now grown to four children. Lindsway Bay by the village of St. Ishmaels had became our favourite. We would drive there and park in the Sports Club car park and then everyone with a rucksack would walk to the coast path and then down […]

The Pink Rocks of Sandy Haven

The soils and rocks of the Sandy Haven area are a distinct pink/red colour. These rocks are called the Old Red Sandstone by geologists and they belong to the Devonian period – known as The Age of Fishes. The rocks are about 395 million years old. They can be seen to be mainly red shales […]

Sandy Haven Water Supply

Before asphalt roads, motor cars and electricity and piped water mains came to Sandy Haven, the few inhabitants of this tiny hamlet obtained their drinking water from a spring on the opposite side of Sandy Haven creek. They would cross the creek at high tide by boat and fill their containers with water. Presumably the […]

The Sandy Haven Ferry

Up until the mid 1980s and to a lesser extent today, cliff path walkers heading east for a night at Herbrandston or Milford Haven would appear around high tide in the gardens of The Anchorage asking for the ferry. They were unable to cross the Sandy Haven creek at high tide where there can be […]

Nautical Decor

The interior of The Anchorage is decorated with a nautical decor old-world sailing ship theme, including prints and models. This is because the owner feels that the tiny hamlet of Sandy Haven with its few cottages, quay, and limekiln retains much of its 19th century charm. The settlement was formed by the Beer family who […]

Keel of The Crystal – The Last Trading Schooner at Sandy Haven.

Leaning against the house wall at the side entrance to The Anchorage is a large black piece of wood. This is the largest remaining fragment of the sailing schooner – The Crystal. She was operated by the Beer family who built Rock House and the small stone quay just below the Anchorage. The old trading […]

The Ruins of the First Baptist Chapel

Across the road from the main entrance to The Anchorage, the ivy grown stone walls of the first Baptist chapel at Sandy Haven can be seen. This was built in 1814 and served the communities of Sandy Haven and Herbrandston. The villagers from Herbrandston walked to the chapel by crossing Sandy Haven creek on stepping […]

The Lime Kiln, Weighbridge and Firemans Hut

On the opposite side of the road to The Anchorage is a large stone built lime kiln with an iron weigh bridge and stone firemans hut. They are in a remarkable state of preservation as they have twice been restored in the past three decades. They date from the 19th century and many of them […]

The Coast Path

The 200mile long coastal path of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park comes along the clifftop at the public sandy beach at Sandy Haven on the opposite side to the Anchorage. It crosses the creek by the footbridge and comes up the narrow tree covered road in front of The Anchorage. A few yards uphill of […]

The Crabbing Bridge

A popular and memorable activity for small children at Sandy Haven is The Crabbing Bridge. This is the footbridge exposed at low tide across the stream running down Sandy Haven Creek. It is about 100 yards below the end of the asphalt road leading down from The Anchorage. In the summer school holidays it is […]


Perhaps the major attraction of the Anchorage is as a dinghy, canoe or kayak launching site for the 1.4 mile long tidal creek of Sandy Haven. The high tide line is only 50 m from the Anchorage which has asphalt parking for 5 cars as well as extensive grass parking for boats and trailers. The […]

The Menhirs

Ten menhirs or standing stones have been erected on one of the terraces. While walking the local beaches during the making of The Anchorage gardens (mainly by collecting and arranging the many scattered large blocks of sandstone-conglomerate derived from the thick layer beneath the garage) , the owner was surprised to find menhirs on the […]

Fort Sandy

The Anchorage occupies the side of a small valley. Behind the house, the wooded valley side rises to a raised marine platform that covers the Dale Peninsula and provides the flat farmland. A woodland path leads up from the gardens to Fort Sandy (on the platform) which is a small fort with false wooden cannon […]

History of The Project

The stories and photographs on this website record the history of the Roobol family of John and Anne and their four children, Peter, Joanne, Matthew and Alice over a lifetime of summer holidays in Pembrokeshire. An early photograph taken in 1974 show Anne and one year old Peter on Albion Sands. Throughout the photographs the […]

The Monks Garden

In summer the social center of  The Anchorage is the large patio garden in front of the house onto which two front doors open. This is known as The Monks Garden. It is a delightful place for breakfast, coffee and sundowner gatherings in seclusion with its surrounding of trees, birds and flowers. It has now been […]

The Shell Well

Between the side entrance and the garage is a picturesque water well studded and roofed with seashells.   This originated because the original cottages had a considerable problem of damp and the cottage garden in winter was often flooded with a few inches of water.   By studying the geology of the Devonian sedimentary rocks of the […]

A Bedouin Heaven

The design of the Anchorage and its two acres of gardens resulted from the owners experience as a geologist working in the Arabian deserts in summer. With daytime temperatures of 50 degrees, work was possible only from dawn to 10.00 am and from 4.00.pm until dark. Sometimes midday was spent in black Bedouin tents where […]

The House Design

When purchased in 1982 there was a ruined double stone cottage on the site. Although grants were available to restore it, as the doors were only five feet tall and the owner is over six feet tall, it was demolished. The design of the double cottage is retained in the new modern house with its […]

The Name

The owner of The Anchorage is a geologist originating in Milford Haven but working around the world. The Anchorage is where he would have liked to live with his family but was only able to visit with his family on holidays and “to anchor” there briefly. – John Roobol