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Dale

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General details:

Dale (OS Ref: 813058) is unique in these parts as it's the only E facing beach in the area & therefore very useful when the wind's all wrong on the coast. Dale is not actually on the open sea - it faces into Milford Haven (Haven being a "safe waterway" or harbour - as opposed to Milford Haven the town!!!) and as such provides pretty safe, sheltered sailing. It's listed in the Good Beach Guide (1997) as consistently attaining minimum EU standards & due for sewage treatment upgrade in 1998 (which is what I should do with my Good Beach Guide!), although only 360 people live there.

Dale works well in anything from NW clockwise thru' ESE. Anything with more S than this is problematic due to the headland. NW funnels down the valley & over the marshes & the inlet (called The Gann). It's always a flat water venue although it can get choppy in E wind.

Dale gets very busy on bank holidays & in the summer. There's a car park on the R, adjacent to the beach, as you drive into Dale. It's free in winter. In summer, get there early 'cos it fills up quickly. If you can't get into the car park, either:

drop off your kit at the top of the beach & drive 300 yds round the one way system & park by the houses, or

If the tide's in, you can park at the head of The Gann & sail from there. However, there are an alarming number of rocks & boulders scattered around the area. Quite worrying when you see it at low tide.

The beach is a shingly bank - not too steep & the shingle's quite small, so launching & recovery are never dramatic.

On low springs, the water drops off the bottom of the shingle bank & there's sand below this. The tidal range is still around 5.5m (springs) so don't expect to be able to stand up on the bottom on neaps or more than 1 1/2 hours away from low tide on springs. October 1999, I saw the lowest spring tide I've ever seen there: The water retreated about 200m from the beach and was still only ankle depth 200m beyond that! The corresponding high tide saw the sea coming onto the road at Broad Haven

Dale is great for flat-water blasting & practising those all-too-elusive fluid, planing carve gybes when the wind's up. It's also an excellent place for beginners, so it's no surprise that Dale is home to West Wales Windsurfing who have a shop and offer all levels of windsurfing, surfing & sailing tuition and can arrange accommodation (I think).

Keith in the Haven

Keith endangering the shipping.

Dale beach looking N(ish) across the Gann

In light winds, you can have many a happy hour exploring the Haven on a long or wide board. The only things to watch out for are the shipping - mainly oil tankers and the Pembroke to Ireland ferries - and the disturbed, choppy water adjacent to the harbour entrance.

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Directions to the right place:

From Haverfordwest, take the B4341 going out past Tescos etc. Just as you leave Haverfordwest turn left onto the B4327 and follow the signs to Dale.

If you have a big car, car with trailer, camper van or other large vehicle, DON'T try to drive from Broad Haven to Dale via Little Haven - there's a really sharp road junction going into Litttle Haven that you'll not make. Instead, take the L road as you climb up the hill from Broad Haven. At the top, take a L turn, followed by a R turn after another 100m and turn right after 1 mile or so onto the B4327 at Rosepool.

Click here for location map.

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How the winds work:

NE - Wind starts to get interference from the hills - best wind is up near the top of the Gann

N - Wind funnels down the Gann

NW - Wind funnels down the Gann

E - Fluky wind as the hills tend to get in the way

SE - Wind blowing on shore. Cross the weed beds of the Gann valley, once clear of these then is reasonably enjoyable with small wind chop on the far side of the bay. A hard slog to get beyond the fort and out into the haven

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Tidal conditions:

HW springs tend to occur around 07:30 - 08:30 (19:30 - 20:30). HW neaps around 13:00 (GMT).

Dale can be sailed in all states of the tide - on spring low tides there is a long walk to the water but it is a shorter walk than most other local beaches and most of the locations on the Bristol Channel.

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Hazards:

There isn't really anything particularly threatening around Dale. When sailing watch out for the wind shadow from the near by hills when sailing close to the edge of the sailing area.

If you launch from The Gann, watch out for the rocks which are all covered up at high water. In Aug 2016 there was a lot of weed in the Gann valley to the left/North of the main beach, particularly the long stringy fin hugging type. If you have to sail over this area then you may need to stop & clear your fin before heading further out.

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Facilities:

Car parking just behind the beach. Aug 2016 parking rates were £1-2hr, £2-4hrs. £3-50 all day.

Public toilets down the path on the left hand side of West Wales Windsurfing.

Café + Shop (Planet Dale - unreliable opening hours between Oct - April).

Pub

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B&B's / campsites

There is a very basic campsite just behind the beach at Newgale. Stronger recommendations come for:

South Cockett campsite, on the Haverford West side of Broadway just before you reach Broad Haven on the Haverford West to Broad Haven Road. Tel: 01437 781296
Nolton Cross capsite, on the cross roads outside Nolton (not surprisingly) on the Broad Haven to Newgale road.

Loads of B&Bs in the area. E.g. There's the Anchor B&B right on the beach front at Broad Haven, providing plenty of off road parking where your windsurfing kit is well out of sight. There is also another (Lion Rock) on the road to Newgale.

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Pubs and eateries

Try meals at The Griffin or snacks at Planet Dale (if open!).

Nearest Chippy is in Haverfordwest.

Dale is also home to The Griffin - previously a CAMRA Good Beer Guide-listed pub. Meals can be had here & it gets very busy in summer.

Alternative food is available at Planet Dale - the greasy spoon cafe belonging to WWW. I think they have discos here from time to time too. Planet Dale is usually closed Oct - April.

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Content supplied by . Update from Graham Utteridge, Aug 2016. Thanks Graham.

Note: All comments and opinions mentioned in this section of the site are the personal opinions of the various contributors. Inevitably, one person's favourite may be another person's least favourite.

The information provided here is provided in good faith. We can take no responsibility for the consequences of any inaccuracies. Should you find any inaccuracies, then please take the trouble to tell us, using any of the update links.

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