20th Century (Wyncliffe House to the Fishguard Bay Hotel).
With the harbour at Lower Fishguard driving the machine during the 18th and 19th century, Fishguard continued to expand, and it was only natural for people to migrate across the broad sweep of the tidal flats to the opposite headland. It was there that the town of Wdig developed, and this eventually evolved into Goodwick.
A grand dwelling, some would say a mansion, arose in Wdig, and by 1896 it was known as ‘Wyncliffe House’. At that point, the house was taken over by the extravagantly named ‘Fishguard Bay Railway and Pier Company’, who used it as their base for meetings between Great Western Railway (GWR) and the North Pembrokeshire and Fishguard Railway.
During these discussions, GWR became convinced that Goodwick Bay would make the perfect West Wales location for a transatlantic port. And the more convinced they became, the more they decided that they should establish a prestigious establishment in the area worthy of accommodating their transatlantic guests.
The solution was under their noses. In 1898, Wyncliffe House came under their management and, having made payments to the Pembrokeshire Estates Company for furnishing and running a hotel on the site, GWR spared no expense in an extensive redesign and build programme.
So, as chunks of cliff side were blasted away to make way for the harbour, and recycled at a stone crushing plant into foundations for the breakwater, artisans and craftsmen trundled their horse-drawn way to Wyncliffe house bearing its crystal chandeliers and marble fittings.
When the harbour finally opened eight years later, the ‘Fishguard Bay Hotel’ was ready and standing by with 40 bedrooms and two suites of apartments, a dining hall for 75 people, a smoking room, two lounges and a Billiard Room.
The Fishguard Bay Hotel is built on a hillside, and the property encompasses several acres of this verdant backdrop. GWR employed the talents of a well known Cornish gardener and a considerable number of assistants and set them loose in the wilderness behind the hotel. By the time they’d finished, the newly terraced grounds boasted sub-tropical gardens which included three-quarters of a mile of woodland walks, a croquet lawn, and tennis courts.
Great Western Railway also secured exclusive fishing rights to over 8 miles of the western Cleddau for the hotel’s residents, commencing at Pont-y-duan near Mathry and extending to within half a mile of Wolvescastle Halt, and to Llanwarren Bridge from a point near Pont Felin-Forris. The hotel guests, if they still had any energy left after the fishing, also had privileges at the local golf course at Cwmbrandy, and at Goodwick bowls green.