I have a very close connection to Freshwater West beach on the far reaches of south-west Wales. My family and I spent summer holidays in the area and an enduring memory is of sitting in the car on stormy days, watching strong westerly winds whip the sea into high waves which, in turn, thundered against the cliffs of the military no-go area on the northern end of the Castlemartin Ranges. I scattered some of my Dad’s ashes near this beach a few years ago, as was his wish.
I’ve only visited half-a-dozen times since those family holidays. Since my childhood, the beach has become better-known amongst fans of the Harry Potter series of films, as the protagonists and their mortally-wounded elfen friend Dobby arrive on the beach1 after escaping Malfoy Manor. When Dobby dies, Harry decides to bury him in the dunes here; this has inspired fans to add a stone to their own memorial, photographed here from above.
- Although the book’s location for Shell Cottage and the beach are in Cornwall, the film sequences were recorded here in Wales.