When part of a wrecked ship appeared on the sands of Barafundle social media lit up with various theories.

Various people have shared photos of the wreckage since it appeared on the beach in December, often asking what it is.

Members of the Facebook group Pembrokeshire – I LOVE IT! identified the wreckage as an anchor windlass - with some members believing it to be from the wreckage of the Sea King, which sank in 1896.

Milford Mercury:

Others said it couldn’t be the Sea King because that was lost further east.

This is not the first time the wreckage has been uncovered, one member of the group said: “Wow... [I’ve] seen it appear and disappear over last 50 years but never seen it that exposed.”

Maritime historian Ted Goddard said that the wreckage appears with regularity.

“The Barafundle wreck appears every ten years or so when the sea and weather conditions cut away the sand at the beach to reveal ship's timbers, a windlass and an anchor,” he said.

Mr Goddard said that images in the Carsley Collection taken of the wreck in the 1980s/90s show a windlass, timbers, an anchor and an outline of the wreck.

As for which ship it is, Mr Goddard gave several alternatives.

“It's believed to be a ship which ran on to rocks at Stackpole Head and drifted ashore on to Barafundle beach, between the 1880s and early 1900s,” he said.

“It's, possibly, part of the wooden Norwegian barque Sea King, which foundered on a voyage from Cardiff to Brazil on October 8, 1896, with a cargo which included coal; the much smaller Dublin-registered wooden schooner Enterprise lost on a voyage from Swansea to New Ross on December 21, 1907, again with a cargo which included coal, or the small wooden Wexford schooner Wasp lost on a voyage from Newport (Gwent) to Wexford on December 12, 1887, also carrying coal.”