Friday, August 19, 2011


Whitchurch, near to Solva
19th Century well down the lane from the church
Old settlement above the well

wall through the woods showing old field layout

If I had more time on this earth, I would solve some of the puzzles that irk my curiosity, one of them is the history of the area around Middle Mill, two places come to mind King's Heriot just up the lane, and Whitchurch - the white church, which is also on one of the lanes leading away from the pack horse bridge at the mill.  Welsh history is a self-sufficient tale of small communities, reading as I have been this morning on a survey done on church/chapel attendance on a single day in the 19th century and you will find that chapel attendance was well attended the church not so. The church above was on the pilgrim trail to St.David's Cathedral, and if you were to follow the lane past the church to that small city you would find on your right an old airfield as shown on this map.,225500

The photos above show the church, it is supposed to have a cross-stone by the gate but I have never found it, walking down the lane from the church to Middle Mill, there is a small footpath on your right into the woods, just opposite some cottages.  Taking this footpath you come to the rather pretty 19th century well deep in the wood, to your right there is the wall of an old field and above you can trace the outline of an old settlement.  What the old settlement is I can find no information on, Magic Map (Scheduled Ancient Monuments) gives no clue; it could be Iron Age or medieval, but its distinct narrow pattern plus the bank, points to I/A.

But the reason one falls in love with Wales is because so many parts are neglected, overgrown and beautiful, sadly because  there is literally no way of earning a living in the more remote parts. Life had always been hard, the brutal force of Norman castles bears testimony to overlordship, the topography of the land difficult for farming.   Solva and St.Davids rely on tourism, but they are protected from the worst influxes of the tourist trade by the fact that it is a protected National Park along this particular part of the coastline.
But if you wander around the area as I have done for many years, mostly looking for prehistoric stuff, you chance on other stuff.  One of them is old airfields, the defence of the Atlantic coast in WW2, meant that this part of the coastline seems to have a disproportionate amount of airfields.  Brawdy for one, still occupied just outside Solva; the disused airfield that borders Whitchurch and Solva, and another disused airfield out of Upper Solva which lies just above Nine Wells.

The photos below are of somewhere on the Presceli's; parking further along the road from Waldo William's stone,  from here is one of the places you can walk to Carn Meini and the Bluestones.  Several years ago meandering along on a long walk that way I happened to come across the remains of a plane and a dedication to the men who had lost their lives in the crash.  As you can see it must have been one of the planes coming in to land on one of the coast airfields.  70 odd years later, traces still remain, though I have no history of this for the moment, my partner wrote a small article on The Journal entitled Battle of the Prescelis , which shows the interest the War Office had after the Second World War to turn Prescilis into a permanent military training area, similar to Salisbury Plain by Stonehenge, which is ironic given the Bluestone connection.

Refs;  Trevor Bloom - History of Solva

Note; The Heritage Journal is run by a small group of people, ostensibly for prehistoric stones protection, but we have been running other articles as well....


  1. I so like this blog. I never knew that well existed - must go and find it. Have you been to the 'holy spring' at the back of the church yard at Llandeloy?

    Last time I went to the church at Upper Solve I walked in and there was coffin in the aisle.

  2. A shame, with the price of fuel, that we're not nearer to the far reaches of Pembrokeshire, as I should love to do some exploring after reading your blog posting. Ah well, we may get a day out later in the year . . .

  3. Hi Mark, No I have'nt been to the church at Llandeloy, will see it next time we are there. I used to stay in a cottage in a place called, Llandinogg, standing stones down the lane somewhere.

    Hi BB, Yes petrol is expensive for just pottering around nowadays looks like it is going up by 35p a gallon next year too ;(