Stop 11 - Mill Bay
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OS Grid Ref
SM 809 035
Stop 11: (1000 m) Mill Bay
The name ‘Mill Bay’ is marked on maps from as long ago as 1595, although there is no evidence of
a mill here now, unless the masonry wall at the top of the beach is the remains of a mill. Nearby are the few
remaining parts of a ship that was wrecked here in 1964. Luckily it was only a vessel being towed to Swansea for
Mill Bay was the site of an important event in English history. On Sunday 7th August 1485, Henry
Tudor (Henry VII), landed in the bay from his exile in Brittany. He marched inland to England, on the way
collecting an army of 5000 men. On 22nd August he defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, bringing
the ‘Wars of the Roses’ to an end, and starting the Tudor dynasty.
As at Castlebeach, a small stream runs along the bottom of the valley. These streams are far too
small to have cut through the cliffs to form the valley – a much greater force was needed. This was supplied by
melting of ice after the last glacial period, colloquially known as an ‘ice age’. This last glacial period in the
Earth’s recent geological history lasted from about 110,000 to 10,000 years ago, with the maximum extent of
glaciation about 18,000 years before the present day. The southern limit of glaciers in this part of Britain was at
about the latitude of the Dale peninsula. Since then the climate has warmed, and the ice sheets have retreated.
(Although technically we are still in an ‘ice age’ since ice sheets still cover much of the poles.)
At the maximum stage of glaciation, sea level fell by about 75 metres (compare with the elevated
sea levels discussed at Stop 8). After this the ice melted and the glaciers retreated northwards. Vast volumes of
melt water flowed down the valleys of the time, making them deeper and wider – much more so than could have been
formed by the small streams existing today.
Continue up the hill to the buildings on St Ann’s Head. Beside the path above the bay is an
information board describing the landing of Henry Tudor.
The path continues past a derelict walled garden and up across a field towards the lighthouse on
St. Ann’s Head.