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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 33210

Map Reference SM82SW

Grid Reference SM80532427

Unitary (Local) Authority Pembrokeshire

Old County Pembrokeshire

Community Solva

Type of Site TOWN

Broad Class CIVIL

Period Multiperiod

Site Description Occupying the mouth of the River Solva, Lower Solva is set back from the sea along a narrowing inlet providing excellent sheltered harbourage. This inlet has long been considered advantageous. Solva Head promontory fort (NPRN 94269) has overlooked the harbour from a promontory to the east since the Iron Age, and a Roman bronze bow brooch or `fibula' of late first century A.D. type was also found here. Solva was once a vibrant fishing and trading port where in its heyday, between c.1750 and the mid-nineteenth century, it was recorded that there were some 30 trading ships, nine warehouses and a population of over a thousand people. Remarkably, emigrants once sailed from here to New York for a single fare of £3 but had to carry their own food. It was from the same harbour that equipment, cast-iron fittings and timber for the world's earliest pile-built lighthouse on the Smalls Rock were sailed in 1775/6 by Henry Whiteside, and also for the present stone lighthouse which was erected in 1858-61. Voyages to the notorious Rock by the construction team often ended in failure due to changing wind conditions. A major role of the harbour at Solva was the importation of lime, and a number of kilns can still be seen (NPRN 40731). Today Solva is something of an artists' colony and a popular destination for tourists.

Extract from: Driver, T. 2007. Pembrokeshire, Historic Landscapes from the Air, RCAHMW, Chapter 4.
T. Driver, 28 June 2007.

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