The county of Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro in Welsh) occupies the south-western peninsula of Wales and is bounded inland to the north-east by Cardiganshire (Ceredigion) and to the southeast by Carmarthenshire. The landward eastern boundary follows a very irregular line.
Pembrokeshire - founded in 1282 by order of Edward I - is famed for the beauty and ruggedness of its lengthy coastline, stretching from the Teifi estuary on the shores of Cardigan Bay to Amroth on Carmarthen Bay. Indeed, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is the only coastal National Park in Great Britain. Inland the county is low-lying and undulating, except in the north where the Preseli Hills reach 536m (1,760ft) at Foel Cwmcerwyn.
Pembrokeshire has no major rivers (its chief one is the Teifi), but numerous creeks and rivers converge to form the estuary of Milford Haven - a waterway which makes communication between the peninsula on which Pembroke stands, and the western part of the county, very difficult. Indeed, there is no rail or road link south of the main A40 road to Haverfordwest.
Traces of Palaeolithic (Early Stone Age) Man - the earliest cave dwellers of Britain - can still be seen in caves around Tenby. For example, the hearths of ancient fires, together with animal bones and flint tools, have been found in caves such as Hoyle's Mouth, near Tenby, and Priory Farm Cave at Monkton.
Traces of Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) Man, dating to around 10,000BC, are to be found in their more advanced hunting tools - such as shaped flints that could be used as arrow heads or harpoon barbs - all over Pembrokeshire. Many of these people continued to live in caves, such as Nanna's Cave on Caldey Island; but others settled on coastal sites where they could fish. Among the discarded tools and debris of this period was an implement in the form of an elongated pebble that was used for knocking limpets off the rocks. This belonged to a community living on Nab Head.
Neolithic (New Stone Age) Man followed around 3,500BC. These were the earliest farmers, giving up the nomadic hunting way of life of their predecessors in favour of the tending of crops and animals. Stone enclosures created by these people can be found around the area of St David's Head.
In order to make space for cultivation, forests had to be cleared: this was achieved using sharp-edged, polished stone axes. Some of these were made of the spotted dolerite stone that outcrops at the eastern end of the Preseli Mountains, where there appears to have been an axe-factory.
It was Neolithic Man who first started taking an interest in the passage of the seasons, and who attempted to trace this by studying the movements of celestial bodies. The stone circles at Avebury and Stonehenge in Wiltshire are two of the most important of several hundred stone circles throughout Britain that are thought to function as solar observatories. The bluestones used in the construction of the inner horseshoe at Stonehenge came from the Preseli Mountains in the north of Pembrokeshire, while the Stonehenge Altar Stone is of green micaceous sandstone from the shores of Milford Haven.
The Preseli Hills - Ancient History and Legends
Close to Carn Menyn runs the Golden Road, a Neolithic trackway dating back some 5,000 years, which would have been a main trade route between Wessex and Ireland; bringing back gold from the Wicklow Hills. The existence of this trade route may go some way to explaining the myth, recounted in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia, that Merlin the magician was involved in transporting the Stonehenge bluestones from Ireland to Wiltshire. It is quite possible that this account contains an echo of an oral tradition that the stones were transported a great distance over water by 'superhuman' powers.
Overlooking the bluestones outcrop, and adjacent to the Golden Road, is an oval or horseshoe-shaped configuration of 13 small standing stones along with a few others which are now fallen. This is known as Beddarthur (or Arthur's Grave). Some believe that this is a henge and that it may have influenced the building of the horseshoe of bluestones at Stonehenge.
The name Beddarthur draws attention to the collection of medieval Welsh folktales known as the Mabinogion. One of these tales tells of the quest to seek out the wild boar, Twrch Trwyth. Arthur and his knights pursued the swine through the Preseli Mountains and fought Twrch Trwyth on Cwmcerwyn.
The period between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, around 4,000 years ago, saw the construction of cromlechs (also called dolmens) across the western fringes of Europe. A cromlech is a prehistoric megalith typically having two or three upright stones and a capstone. The whole structure was then covered with stones or earth to form a round, or long mound. In most cases the mound has disappeared, leaving just the stones. Cromlechs are considered to have been burial chambers and, according to historians, they are the earliest surviving permanent structures built by people. Thus cromlechs predate even the pyramids of Egypt. There are around 150 cromlechs in Wales, the most spectacular being at Pentre Ifan in Preseli, Pembrokeshire. Its curved facade and portal is reminiscent of the portal dolmens of Ireland.
The cromlech at Pentre Ifan dates back to about 3,500BC and is the most popular megalithic site in Wales. It consists of three uprights across which is poised a huge capstone. The capstone is 5m (16ft 6in) long and is 2.4m (8ft) off the ground. It is estimated to weigh over 16 tons. Once known also as Arthur's Quoit (in another echo of the link between Wales and the legendary King Arthur), Pentre Ifan means 'the homestead of Ivan'.
Although no trace of burials was found here, it is assumed that such a large tomb would have been used for collective burials over many years.
The Bronze Age
In the 2nd millennium BC, a people spread from Spain to France, Ireland, Italy, Germany and eventually to Britain, bringing with them bronze technology. This metal eventually gave improved tools for farming and perhaps for warfare, and a trading culture sprang up. However in the beginning, bronze was too scarce and expensive for use in heavy implements, so they continued to use battle axes made of spotted dolerite.
These people were the so-called Beaker Folk, named after the bell-shaped drinking vessels discovered buried as grave goods under mounds of earth, called barrows. The sheer number of barrows along the upland route on the Preseli Hills, and the Ridgeway in the south, shows that not all those who travelled the trade routes from Wessex to Ireland were able to complete the journey.
Dating from this period (2000BC) is Gors Fawr (Great Marsh), the only stone circle in Pembrokeshire; and standing within sight of Carn Menyn - the source of the bluestones used at Stonehenge. Gors Fawr consists of 16 stones forming an egg-shaped ring, with two outlying standing stones clearly visible just east of north. Although, like Stonehenge, the functions of such circles are not entirely clear, it is likely they had some ritual significance, and an astronomical function relating to the calendar.
The Iron Age
About 500BC the war-like Celts spread throughout Britain with their new material, iron - iron-age fortified settlements are to be found all over Pembrokeshire. These include the promontory fort on St David's Head, whilst the Deer Park is the largest promontory fort in Wales. There are also many hill-top settlements inland including those at Moel Drygarn, Carn Ingli and Garn Fawr. Each of these has the visible remains of hut platforms and enclosures that provided a place of safety for women, children and livestock in the event of enemy attack. Traces of Iron Age fields are to be seen above Porth Melga, whilst Skomer Island has one of the best preserved ancient field systems in Wales. The Celts brought with them a new culture and a language, a derivative form of which survives today as the Welsh language.
The RomansThe Romans never advanced further west than Carmarthen, but are known to have had a garrison in the south of the county. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, the fleeing priesthood of Europe came in droves to the coast and off-shore islands of Pembrokeshire.
Saint David (Dewi Sant)
St David, or Dewi Sant as he is known in Welsh, is the Patron Saint of Wales. He died c589AD.
He was a Celtic monk and during his life, he was bishop of Menevia (later renamed as St David's in his honour) and he became the Archbishop of Wales. He was one of many early saints who helped to spread Christianity among the pagan Celtic tribes of western Britain.
Most of what we know about Dewi's life comes from his biographer, Rhigyfarch. He wrote Buchedd Dewi (The Life of David) in the 11th Century, some 500 years after Dewi died, and so it is difficult to separate legend from fact.
Dewi was born near Capel Non (Non's Chapel) on the south-west Wales coast near the present city of St David's. He is said to have been of royal lineage, his father, Sant, being the son of Ceredig, who was prince of Ceredigion, a region in south-west Wales. His mother, Non, was the daughter of a local chieftain and, according to legend, was also a niece of King Arthur.
Dewi travelled far on his missionary journeys throughout Wales, where he established several churches. He founded a monastery at Glyn Rhosyn (Rose Vale) on the banks of the small river Alun where the cathedral city of St David's stands today.
It is claimed that Dewi lived for over 100 years and his body was buried in the grounds of his own monastery, where St David's Cathedral now stands. After his death, his influence spread far and wide - first through Britain, along what was left of the Roman roads, and by sea to Cornwall and Brittany.
St David's Day dates back to 1120, when Dewi was formally canonised by Pope Callactus II, and 1 March was included in the Church calendar. After Dewi's canonisation, many pilgrimages were made to St David's, and it was considered that two pilgrimages there equalled one to Rome, and three pilgrimages equalled one to Jerusalem.
St Govan's Chapel
In the parish of Bosherston, about five miles south of Pembroke, is the tiny chapel of St Govan's. Dating from the 13th Century and hidden in a deep ravine in the rocks half-way down a cliff face, visitors are only able to access the chapel by climbing down some steps cut into the rock of the cliff face. According to tradition these steps are uncountable, there being a different number on the way down to those counted on the way back up. However, the approximate number of steps is 74.
The Chapel consists of a simple nave (main body) measuring approximately 5.3m (17.4ft) by 3.8m (12.5ft). There is a stone altar at the east end, and there are steps leading to a small cell formed in the rock outside in which, legend says, there lived a hermit. Inside the cell there is a fissure in the rock, the sides of which could be imagined to have the appearance of human ribs. Legend says that these are the imprints of the hermit's body (St Govan) as he lay there.
History does not record a St Govan, but one theory is that his name may be a corruption of Sir Gawain, the bravest of the Knights of the Round Table, thus providing yet another link to Arthurian legend. Some people believe that Sir Gawain spent his life at this spot, and is buried under the altar, having died in 586AD.
There is thought to have been some sort of chapel or religious structure on this site as early as the 5th or 6th Century, thus making this one of the earliest places of Christian worship.
From the middle of the 9th Century onward, eight or more waves of marauding Vikings plundered Pembrokeshire, including the cathedral at St David's. In time, these people were absorbed into the local population and today their legacy is to be found in the Norse names of the offshore islands (Skomer, Skokholm, Caldey) and on a few coastal settlements such as Angle, Goultrop, Dale and Goodwick, near Fishguard.
The Normans invaded South Pembrokeshire in the 11th Century but they were less successful in their conquest of Wales than they were of England. Consequently, they built an impressive frontier of defensive castles and strongholds, known today as the Landsker2 Line, which divided Anglo-Norman Pembrokeshire in the south from Welsh Pembrokeshire in the north. This still forms a cultural and linguistic divide today, with the Welsh speaking areas still being mainly to the north of the line. To this day, South Pembrokeshire is known as 'Little England Beyond Wales'.
Today, particularly fine castles are to be seen at Haverfordwest, Pembroke, Manorbier, Tenby and Carew. The castle at Pembroke formed part of the Lansker Line which, in the 15th Century, became the birthplace of Henry Tudor, who later became Henry VII of England.
Founding of Pembrokeshire
In 1218, Henry III of England recognised Llewelyn the Great (1194 - 1239) as the first Prince of Wales and during the 13th Century Llewellyn made various attempts to secure Wales as an independent state.
Following the demise of Henry III of England, he was succeeded by his eldest son Edward I, who created his son (the future Edward II) the first English Prince of Wales in 1301.
During the 13th Century Edward I set up a chain of fortifications across Wales after finally subduing the Welsh under Llewellyn the Last in 1282, thus preserving English sovereignty. The first batch of castles were built at Flint, Rhuddlan, Builth Wells and Aberystwyth, with a second phase of strongholds at Harlech, Caernarfon, Conwy, and Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey. Each castle was built within a day's march of another, to facilitate the swift deployment of troops. These fortifications are known as 'The Iron Ring'. Edward I also set up a number of English-style boroughs and counties including Pembrokeshire itself.
On 7 August, 1485 Henry Tudor, then exiled in France, landed at Milford Haven together with a reasonably-sized French force. With fellow Welshmen and some Englishmen flocking to his cause, Henry set off on his epoch-making march into England where he met and defeated Richard III's army at Market Bosworth.
More recently, on 22 February, 1797, Pembrokeshire was the site of the last invasion of mainland Britain when 1,400 French troops landed near Strumble Head, Fishguard. This was part of a grander French plan to invade Ireland. Although Fishguard wasn't heavily defended, the French mistook the women standing on the hillside dressed in traditional Welsh costume - red tunics and tall black hats - for British redcoats and, thinking they were hopelessly outnumbered, they surrendered. In fact, they outnumbered the British soldiers by three to one.
According to the 2001 Census, the population of Pembrokeshire is 114,131; just under half live in the five main towns of Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Pembroke and Pembroke Dock.
Although being the largest town (with a population of about 15,380), Pembroke is not the county town. This distinction is held by Haverfordwest (population of 14,000). Another notable town is the seaside resort of Tenby, whose population swells during the summer months due to an influx of holidaymakers. St David's, although being a cathedral city is, in reality, just a village.
Pembrokeshire returns two members to Parliament, one representing Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, and the other representing Preseli Pembrokeshire.
Fishguard is a small coastal town (population is approximately 5,000), but an important ferry port handling passenger-boat services between Pembrokeshire and Rosslare in Ireland. This is the shortest sea-crossing to Ireland (87km; 54 miles). The service boasts a high-speed catamaran and excellent terminal facilities.
Most of the population of Fishguard work in tourism, farming or the service sector that has grown up to serve the tourists and farmers; Stena Line ferries and port are one of the biggest employers in Fishguard, along with Dewhirst Ladieswear Ltd at Goodwick, who manufacture clothes for Marks and Spencer.
Fishguard has provided the location for several films, including Moby Dick and Under Milk Wood.
It was at Fishguard that the last invasion of Britain took place in 1797 and the town houses a fine tapestry depicting scenes from this battle.
A major visitor attraction is the annual music festival held in July/August. Another attraction worthy of a visit is the Ocean Lab at Goodwick.
Haverfordwest is the county town of Pembrokeshire and is the base for the main civic and public undertakings. It is situated on the western Cleddau River, seven miles north-east of Milford Haven. It is a market town and, with a population of 14,000, accounts for about 12% of the total population of Pembrokeshire.
The town grew up beneath the Norman castle (the construction of which began in about 1120) and alongside an early 13th Century Augustinian priory, whose ruins can still be seen. The priory has the only surviving ecclesiastical medieval garden in Britain. Other notable buildings include St Mary's Church (13th and 15th Centuries) and the Old Butter Market.
Haverfordwest is the base for Pembrokeshire College, the county's largest provider of post-16 education.
Pembroke is a market town with a population of 15,381, lying on an inlet of Milford Haven. The partially-restored Pembroke Castle was the birthplace of Henry VII; and the 11th - 14th Century Monkton Priory is well worth a visit.
Pembroke Dock (population approximately 10,000) is a former naval base lying approximately 3km (two miles) to the north-west of Pembroke, on the south bank of the River Cleddau. It is now an important ferry port, operating daily sailings to Rosslare in Ireland.
Pembroke Dock boasts excellent boating and watersports facilities, which are complemented by the marina at Neyland, on the opposite side of the Estuary. The Martello3 Gun Tower is a themed Visitor Centre, which traces the history of the defence network along the Milford Haven waterway and Western Approaches.
The great harbour of Milford Haven is a natural one formed by the drowning of a river valley; and is considered to be one of the finest natural anchorages in the British Isles. It is 16 km (10 miles) long and ranges from 1.6-3.2km (1-2 miles) wide.
The town was founded in 1790 when Quaker whalers who crossed the Atlantic found safe haven there and, indeed, the harbour was pronounced by Admiral Lord Nelson as the finest harbour he had ever seen. At the end of the 18th Century a naval dockyard was constructed there, and many ships were built at Milford Dockyard before the Navy transferred to Pembroke Dock. This occurred when the demand for whale oil ceased, at which time the Irish steam packet ships, which had been operating from Milford Haven, also transferred to Fishguard. As the fishing industry declined during the 1960s, the area around Pembroke Dock and Milford Haven was developed as an oil tanker terminal, with oil refining and chemical industries. The population of Milford Haven now stands at around 13,000.
Agriculture has always been the main industry in Pembrokeshire, particularly arable (vegetables) and dairy farming. In the last 50 years the farming has become increasingly specialised in early potatoes and turkey breeding.
The fishing industry brought prosperity to the town of Milford in the early part of this century, and made it one of the leading fishing ports in the country.
Milford Haven has a number of natural competitive advantages, not least its deep water, 'about 16m at all states of the tide', making it one of northern Europe's deepest harbours, and its geographical position in the south western corner of the UK, making it an obvious choice to receive oil coming from the Middle East and Africa.
Most important countries receive their crude oil supplies by sea and, since a break up of bulk necessarily occurs at the coast, a refinery is often sited at the point of discharge. At first consideration, Milford Haven may seem an unpromising location for an oil port. It is remote from any significant market and communications were poor, particularly at the time it was first developing in the 1960s. Furthermore, the coast is steeply cliffed along much of its length, whereas a modern refinery requires an extensive area of reasonably flat or gently sloping land, to take advantage of the gravity flow of oil from one production unit to the next.
These disadvantages are completely nullified, however, by the advantages of Milford Haven as a safe deep anchorage. At the time of construction, only Milford Haven and Finnart were capable of handling 100,000 tonne tankers, although they were later joined by Port of London and Immingham on the Humber. Nowadays, Milford Haven can handle vessels of up to 250,000 tonnes.
The Esso refinery was established in 1960, joined soon after by the Regent plant in 1964 and Gulf Oil in 1968.
Liquid Natural Gas
Recent years have seen a decline in oil-refining at Milford Haven, as the industry went through a period of rationalisation to reduce operating costs and improve profitability. This saw the merger of BP with Mobil in 1996, and the closure of Gulf's Milford Haven refinery in December 1997. Furthermore the Esso and BP refineries had already closed in 1983 and 1985 due to surplus refining capacity set against reducing demand.
A further consideration has been the increased investment required to meet the demands of new European Union environmental legislation. There have also been concerns over having such an industry in an area as environmentally sensitive as Pembrokeshire. These concerns were crystallised when the Sea Empress oil tanker ran aground in Milford Haven harbour in 1996, spilling a total of 72,480 tonnes of oil. The resulting spill contaminated much of the surrounding area of natural beauty and caused a downturn in visitor numbers to the holiday towns of Tenby and Saundersfoot.
Now it appears that the petrochemical plants at Milford Haven are set to undergo a reprieve. For the past 30 years the UK has had its own supply of natural gas from the North Sea and currently supplies 90% of its own needs. However, these wells are now becoming exhausted, and by 2010 the UK is set to become a net importer of natural gas, rather than a net exporter.
Although these imports of natural gas will mainly use the pan-European natural gas pipe network (which stretches from Bacton in Norfolk to Belgium, The Netherlands and ultimately to northern Russia, Central Asia and Iran), it is envisaged that over 30% of the UK's gas supply will arrive as liquefied natural gas (LNG4).
In 2004 the UK oil and gas producer, BG Group plc, formerly part of British Gas, signed up to build a £250m LNG regasification plant at Milford Haven – the Dragon LNG Terminal. The Dutch firm Petroplus already had planning permission to create the depot for LNG at Milford Haven. The involvement of BG means that Petroplus can go ahead with its plans to upgrade its current storage depot to allow tankers carrying LNG to berth and unload their cargo ready for pumping across Britain.
Leisure and Tourism
With its coastal location and rich prehistory and history, it is natural that Pembrokeshire should have an extensive tourism industry based on these alone. It is estimated that around two million tourists per annum visit Pembrokeshire, staying for one day or longer.
Pembrokeshire has been on the tourist map ever since the 18th Century, when the French wars prevented people from visiting the continent. Furthermore, about this time people were beginning to appreciate the curative properties of sea water.
At Tenby, nowadays Pembrokeshire's main holiday resort, the old fishermen's chapel on the pier was converted by Dr John Jones, 'apothecary of Haverfordwest', into a bathing-house. Other facilities soon followed so that, as a resort, it was 'unrivalled in the Principality'.
Today, Pembrokeshire is still famed for its beaches, of which it has over 50. Some 31 of these are 'Blue Flag' beaches, or hold 'Green Coast' or 'Seaside' awards, meaning that they are among the cleanest and safest beaches in the United Kingdom.
In February 1972, that coastline was designated the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which included also the upper reaches of the Daugleddau and the Preseli Hills.
With its spectacular coastline and extensive pre-history, history and natural history, it should come as no surprise that most of the pursuits within Pembrokeshire are outdoor ones. Click on the links below for more details about each type of activity:
The rocky coastline of Pembrokeshire lends itself perfectly to the relatively new sport of 'coasteering', which is growing in popularity and is currently enjoyed by thousands of people in the UK annually. Coasteering involves activities such as clambering around and up rocks, abseiling into the sea, diving, surfing, and playing in the waves on our beaches, all undertaken as part of a single 'excursion'. It appears to have been born from an idea of rock-climbers when they had difficulty navigating the beaches to reach vantage climbing points.
For more information on coasteering in Pembrokeshire, contact the TYF Adventure activity centre in St David's.
Interesting Places to Visit
Situated 4.8km (three miles) from Tenby harbour, the small but beautiful island of Caldey is well-worth a visit in its own right. A boat service runs from Tenby Harbour to Caldey from about Spring Bank Holiday to late September; although the island is usually closed to all visitors on Saturdays and Sundays. The name Caldey (or 'Cold') Island comes from the Norse 'Keld', following terrorisation of the Pembrokeshire coast by the Norsemen in the 10th Century.
Monks of various orders have lived and worked on Caldey for 1500 years. Today it is owned by the Reformed Cistercian Order, which was founded in France in 1098. The island's community of about 17 monks gathers for seven services a day within the whitewashed walls of the monastery, which dominates the village green. The earliest of these services is at 3.15am. This is partly in keeping with the tradition of the watchman keeping guard, partly to be ready to greet the second coming of Christ, partly because the Psalms exhort Christians to rise in the night to praise God, and partly because in the early hours one's heart and mind is more finely attuned to hear the Word of God.
In addition to this rigorous programme of prayer and devotion the Cistercian Rule dictates that each monk is fully occupied in ensuring that the Abbey is as self-sufficient as possible6. Thus they farm the land, producing milk, butter and other dairy products. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of their various business ventures is the manufacture of the famous range of Caldey perfumes and toiletries, inspired by the various wild island flowers, gorse and herbs. Indeed, Caldey is the only commercial perfumery in the world to use gorse oil in perfume.
Like most of the other Pembrokeshire Islands, Caldey has a long association with pirates, probably deriving substantial income from trading with the Vikings and other freebooters. Caldey's most famous pirate was Paul Jones, who reputedly used the eponymous bay on many occasions to take on water and provisions.
Situated at Eglwyswrw (pronounced Egglee Sooroo), about 6.4km from Newport, is the partially reconstructed iron age hillfort of Castell Henllys. Hillforts, built by the war-like Celts, occur in great numbers throughout West Wales, and often consist of several concentric banks and ditches. The example at Castell Henllys is the best-known and the most extensively excavated hillfort. It has several reconstructed roundhouses, and the site boasts a Visitors Centre which is open from Easter to October.
Oakwood Leisure Park
Situated at Narberth, between Haverfordwest and Tenby, Oakwood Leisure Park is one of the UK's top ten theme parks, and the largest one in Wales. It receives over 400,000 visitors each year.
There are over 40 rides and attractions including 'Hydro' which, with nine tons of boat and a million gallons of water, is billed as Europe's fastest and wettest water coaster; and 'The Bounce' is the UK's only shot and drop tower coaster.
Other family attractions include The Pirate Ship, Treetops coaster, Brer Rabbit's Burrow, The Waterfall, The Bobsleigh, Snake River Falls and Pedaloes on the Boating Lake. For younger children 'KidzWorld' contains The Lost Kingdom, The Wacky Factory, Techniquest and the Clown Coaster amongst others.
Certain areas within Pembrokeshire have restricted public access due to a military presence, and chief among these is the Castlemartin Peninsula, which houses the Castlemartin MoD Range; this being part of the Army Training Estate, Pembrokeshire. Other facilities are at Manorbier and Penally.
The Castlemartin Range was first used by the Army in 1939 and finally purchased by the MoD in 1948. Castlemartin provides one of the UK's major live-gunnery exercise ranges and related manoeuvres facilities for armoured fighting vehicles. During non-firing periods the public have access to a section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path – from Trevallen, via Stack Rocks, to the lower Warren. Places of interest to visit in this area include St Govan's Chapel (detailed above) and Huntsman's Leap. Access to these areas is generally available on all weekends and public holidays. Access is also available on non-firing days as well as before and after firing when the red flags are not flying.
At Manorbier is located the ATE's Royal Artillery Range (RAR), which is the Army's principal range for Close Air-Defence (CAD) systems. RAR Manorbier is used to fire various CAD missiles, area–defence machine gun systems up to 35mm calibre, and provides firing and training facilities for all CAD units of the Field Army and Commando Forces. The Range is also used by the Defence Air Warfare Centre.
Penally Training Camp
Penally Training Camp (PTC) is located adjacent to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with Tenby to the east and the town of Pembroke to the west. The camp provides the principal accommodation for units using RAR Manorbier.
Cawdor Barracks, Brawdy.
This site which once accommodated RAF Brawdy and a US Naval Station is now the home of 14 Signal Regiment, Royal Corps of Signals. Brawdy airfield was originally a WWII RNAS station, then an RAF base and, since January 1996, an Army camp known as Cawdor Barracks.
The US Navy base was officially an 'Oceanographic Research Station', though it was in reality a processing centre for a network of underwater microphones, some of which were submerged off the British coast, listening to submarine movements in the Atlantic.
The SOund SUrveillance System (SOSUS), known as Project Caesar, comprised several bases designed to track Soviet submarine movements via their propeller sounds. Brawdy was its biggest station, opening in 1973 and closing in 1995, when its function was transferred to another UK site, thought to be RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall. Little is known about the activities of the base, though some details may have emerged in 1993 when a whale researcher obtained recordings of whale song from the base. He was told that, on one occasion, US Navy technicians had been able to track an individual whale for 40 days, by which time it had reached Bermuda!
Some Famous Pembrokeshire Personalities
Robert Recorde, born in 1510 in Tenby, had an extraordinary impact on the world. He was a groundbreaking physician and mathematician who virtually single-handedly established the English school of mathematics. It was he who proposed the use of the 'equals' sign in mathematics.
Bartholomew Roberts, born in Little Newcastle in 1682 and known as 'Black Bart' is considered to have been the most influential pirate ever. It was he who established the 'skull and crossbones' (also known as the 'Jolly Roger') as the unmistakeable international flag of piracy.
Gwen John. Artist, born in Haverfordwest in 1876. Sister of the more famous Augustus John, although many consider Gwen to have been the better artist.
Christian Bale. Actor. Born in Haverfordwest on 30 January, 1974, is the lead in the 2005 big-screen movie, Batman Begins.