Wiseman's Bridge and Stepaside
Wiseman's Bridge is a tiny seaside hamlet with a rocky beach in between Saundersfoot and Amroth. It is linked to Saundersfoot by a series of three tunnels through which a narrow gauge railway once travelled carrying coal from the local mines to Saundersfoot Harbour.
The old railway line or dramway heads up the wooded valley to the Stepaside Iron works, now a historic ruin. The dramway has recently been resurfaced and makes an ideal off road cycle for children all the way into Saundersfoot - its surface is also suitable for wheelchairs. The valley through which it runs is called, appropriately, Pleasant Valley.
Bus service number 351 connects Amroth, Wisemans Bridge, Saundersfoot and Tenby. The nearest train station is the Saundersfoot station, however the station location is some way out of the village and doesn’t have any facilities or taxis. Alighting at Tenby is a better option.
Parking is limited to the roadside margin above the beach which can get very busy in the summer holidays.
What's in Wiseman's Bridge and Stepaside?
Some great off-road cycling is available along the dramway that links Stepaside Ironworks with Wisemans Bridge and on to Saundersfoot.
There is a public slipway onto the beach for watersports but access across the rocky foreshore could be problematic if the tide is out.
Walking along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in either direction is worthwhile as is exploring inland upto the Ironworks along the Dramway.
Stepaside Ironworks is well worth visiting.
Food and Drink
The Wisemans Bridge Inn is located right above the beach. A conservatory restaurant is a great place to eat and admire the view. Away from the beach at the back of the Inn is a cosy bar with a good deal of character.
A new restaurant is due to open at Coppet Hall, in between Wisemans Bridge and Saundersfoot, in the spring of 2014.
There are a number of caravan and camping sites in Wisemans Bridge There a small selection of B&B's and the Wisemans Bridge Inn provide serviced accommodation. Numerous self catering properties are also available.
The History of Wiseman's Bridge and Stepaside
This valley was a hive of industrial activity from the 14th to the 19th century as it was an integral part of the Pembrokeshire coal field. It’s hard to imagine that now as very little remains apart from the old ironworks at Stepaside and the railway tunnels. There were 12 collieries working in this area at its heyday. More recently Wisemans Bridge was used as a practice beach for D-Day landings, which Winston Churchill witnessed.
Heading along the coast path from Wiseman's Bridge and before you reach the first tunnel, there are several grated cave entrances where coal was mined directly from the cliffs. These are now important bat residences. If you look over the railings on the other side, there's a very interesting radial rock feature, a truncated fold, on the beach.