Marloes is situated on the Marloes Peninsula 11 km west of the port of Milford Haven and forms the westernmost tip of the southern shore of St Brides Bay. It is within part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The parish has 10 km of mainland coastline accessible throughout by the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
It also includes the island of Skomer, accessible from Martin's Haven at the tip of the peninsula, and the small islands of Grassholm and Gateholm. The parish, together with St Brides, constitutes the community of Marloes and St Brides (population 323 in 2001).
The name appears to derive from Old Welsh mail = "bare" and ros = "moor" or "promontory", identical to Melrose in Scotland. It is locally pronounced "Marlas". Part of Little England beyond Wales, it has been essentially English-speaking for 900 years.
The beach (on Marloes Bay south of the village) is rated as one of the best beaches in Britain but involves a fairly long walk to reach it. There is excellent car parking that is free to National Trust Members. The National Trust owns the western half of the peninsula, including the open-access deer park on its western tip, which is a favourite area for picnicking and viewing the wildlife of Skomer Sound, including seals, choughs and puffins. The deer park was originally part of the Kensington estate of St Brides.
Every place in Wales was described by Samuel Lewis in his 1833 book A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. His description of Marloes is as follows:
MARLAIS (MARLOES), a parish in the hundred of RHÔS, county of PEMBROKE, SOUTH WALES, 11 miles (W.S.W.) from Haverfordwest, containing 427 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the southern shore of Muggleswick bay . . . It comprises a considerable tract of arable and pasture land, which, with the exception of a comparatively small portion, is enclosed and in a good state of cultivation. The village is principally inhabited by fishermen, who obtain a livelihood in the lobster and crab fisheries, which are carried on here to a considerable extent, and by the sale of leeches, which are found in great numbers in a sheet of water covering from sixty to seventy acres, called Marlais Mere, and which, during the summer months, when it is dry, affords excellent pasturage for cattle. . . The church, dedicated to St. Peter, is a small edifice, not possessing any architectural details of importance. A former structure, which was dedicated to St. Mary, and situated near the beach, was destroyed by an encroachment of the sea . .
If you like swimming, surfing or beach combing on a relatively uncrowded beach, Marloes Sands is a great destination. A broad and curved sandy beach, it’s got some pretty unusual geological features boasting stunning cliffs layered with red sandstone and grey shale. A dramatic feature of the beach and the best way to appreciate the unique rock formations is the Three Chimneys, three vertical lines of hard Silurian sandstone and mudstone. There used to be four chimneys, but the fourth crumbled in a severe storm of 1954. At the western end of Marloes Sands is Gateholm Island, accessible at mid-tide and a fantastic place to camp wild. It’s a site of great archaeological importance and is thought to have been an ancient monastic settlement. Pottery, pieces of jewellery and over 130 Iron Age hut circles have been found here over the last few years.