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PENRHYN CASTLE FISH TRAP; POPPIT FISH TRAP

Site Details


NPRN 24568

Map Reference SN14NW

Grid Reference SN14674911

Unitary (Local) Authority Pembrokeshire

Old County Pembrokeshire

Community St Dogmaels

Type of Site FISH TRAP

Broad Class MARITIME

Period Post Medieval, Medieval

Site Description 1. Large V-shaped stone fish trap sited on the foreshore of Poppit Sands, currently not fully revealed even at the lowest tides. The fish trap is constructed of stone rubble, now tumbled to a width of 3-5 metres, although dives on the trap by the late Dr Ziggy Otto in 2010 showed that individual piles or posts survived below the water line. The fish trap was first recorded during RCAHMW low-tide reconnaissance, partly through shallow water, on 1st August 2007 (image refs: AP_2007_2418-2428), following which it was recorded on Welsh Government vertical aerial photos and received wider attention.

The trap is aligned with its apex to the west and its open arms orientated south-east. The southern arm is the shorter, measuring 203m, while the northern arm measures 264m. The opening measures 200m across and the fish trap encloses a total area of 2.25 hectares. The apex is located below the low water mark at SN 1458 4916. The stub of a further short length of wall which emerges internally mid-way along the southern arm may suggest a further phase of construction.

The trap appears to be the largest fish trap on the west coast of Wales and Cardigan Bay. It is comparable in size to the large examples known at Rhos on Sea, also near Beaumaris on the Menai Strait and at Oxwich Bay Gower (NPRN 405381). The style of the trap and its position today below the low water mark suggests it may of comparable date to V-shaped traps in use around AD 1200 (described by Turner in Davidson, A, 2002, The Coastal Archaeology of Wales, CBA Research Report 131, p.104). It may possibly have been built or managed by the monks of nearby St Dogmaels Abbey in Cardigan.

T. Driver, RCAHMW, 2007 & 30th Sept 2015.
Site visit carried out on 29th September 2015 by Toby Driver, RCAHMW.

2. The trap is discussed in by James, H., 2016, Pembrokeshire County History Volume 1, pp 500-501.

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