The bay is roughly 100 metres across and opens out southwest into the Irish Sea. Backed by cliffs and in close proximity to campsites, it features a sheltered and marked bathing area, and there are opportunities for rock-pooling and rambling. It is also popular for watersports, particularly windsurfing, surfing, canoeing, sailing and jet skiing.
The origins of the name are uncertain. Although some claim that the placename is a contraction of Porth Dau Farch ("Harbour of the Two Stallions"), scholars are fairly sure that this is not the case. Indeed, in documents the name has been recorded as Porth Davagh ("Davagh's Harbour") (1545), Porth Daverch (1878), Porth y Dafarch (1799), Porth y Daferch (1789), and the present Porth Dafarch (since 1838). It has been tentatively suggested that "Tafarch" (which takes a soft mutation after porth to become "Dafarch") was a personal name, albeit not a common one.
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