The hamlet of WISEMAN’S BRIDGE straddles a deep-sided wooded valley facing south towards a part rocky and part sandy beach. It is a great location to watch sea life or just sit and relax and watch the activities at sea. The land in this area was owned by an Andrew Wiseman in 1329 and consequently, the owner’s name was used as a place name. The hamlet was to become well-known during the Second World War due to “Operation Jantzen” which was one of several exercises undertaken in the UK to develop and practise the administrative and logistical support for the planned amphibious assault on North-West Europe which would mature as ‘Overlord.’
The object of this exercise was the rehearsal of the maintenance of a corps and supporting troops through the beaches for 14 days under the direction of the headquarters of the Western Command, on beaches including Wiseman’s Bridge, Amroth, Saundersfoot and Tenby. Only administrative troops took part, but some 16,000 tons of stores were landed during the exercise. There was a rumour that Churchill visited the area as the allies practiced for the D day landings but this is most likely to be untrue although he is reported to have had several doubles. Wiseman’s Bridge has a good pub on the beach, caravan and camping sites and is a popular resort for visitors. In the 19th century local high-quality coal was shipped out of Wisemans Bridge in vessels of 50 or 60 tons. The footpath linking Wisemans Bridge and Coppet Hall beach was once a railway track used to transport coal to Saundersfoot Harbour. A bridge crosses the stream Rhath Fechan (the little Rhath).
The earliest record of the bridge in the local St Issells parish is made in 1598 and while some believe the name derives from the fact it was probably wise to use the bridge, Wiseman was the name of a family known to have lived in St Issell’s parish back n the 14th Century when an Andrew Wiseman held land there as early as 1324.
Photos courtesy of Kilgetty, Begelly, Stepaside & Pentlepoir Community Voice on FACEBOOK, Sarah Oliver Photography, Dave Palmer, Ellen Jane Thomas, PCNPA and Wiseman’s Bridge Inn.