17 – West Dale Bay

View Dale Coast Walk in a larger map

Stop 17: (180 m) West Dale Bay – SM 799 058

Stop 17: West Dale Bay – SM 799 058

Walk down the path to the beach. Notice the geological material either side of the path. This was deposited after the last glaciation, when the glaciers melted and melt waters carried material down from the sides of the valley. The coarsest material containing pebbles is at the base of the deposits, with the grain size decreasing to fine sands at the top. This is called a ‘graded’ deposit. Coarse material was deposited by fast-flowing water. As the valley filled, the flow-rate decreased and finer sands and silts were laid down.

Post-glacial deposits at West Dale Bay

On either side of the bay the rock strata show a different angle of dip, less steep on the south side. In places there are sudden changes in angle. This valley was formed along a massive system of geological fault lines that extends right up through Milford Haven, under Cardigan Bay and along the top of the Gower Peninsula. When the Earth enters its next warm period and sea levels rise again, the valley will be flooded and the peninsula will become an island.

From the path down to West Dale Bay you can continue the circular walk around the peninsula straight back to Dale, or alternatively take a short detour off the circular path to visit Dale airfield. For those of you who are interested in Second World War heritage sites, it is well worth the visit.

To see the airfield, continue along the coast path, taking the steps up to the top of the hill.

Go through the gate, turn right and walk a short distance to the gated entrance road. The southern perimeter road of the airfield is 200 metres along this road. A path marked on Ordnance Survey maps follows the southern and western perimeter roads, although the airfield itself is private property.

17a – Dale Airfield

18 – Dale Castle

16 – Great Castle Head