Carmarthen Rifle Range was a Victorian firing range used by the local barracks and rifle volunteers, created in 1860 after the formation of a local volunteer rifle corp (1). Clearly marked on Ordnance Survey mapping of the area until the early 1960s when the site became disused and the fixtures removed. Prominent remains of the target area are now obscured by trees.
The range is located at Danyrallt, Llangunor, on the floodplain of the River Towy on the opposite side of the river from the town. Early OS maps portray a firing range of 600 yards aligned north-west by south-east. The target area was located to the south-east at the foot of rising ground, the cutting of the Towy which constituted the stop-butt. Firing positions are shown at 100 yard intervals towards the river with the 600 yard position on the opposite bank.
First edition OS map (surveyed 1886) shows the ‘Markers’ Butts’ as two adjacent earthwork features at SN42882044: a prominent scarp cut into the slope, adjacent to a bank cut out of the slope.
By the Second Edition (1906) this part of the range had developed into a more complex arrangement the traces of which are still visible. The Markers’ Butt (target mound) is a broad, overgrown gravel bank 5.5m wide and 1.8m high. It is revetted to the rear by a slightly battered wall 17.7m long, 2.1m high and 0.55m thick. Behind the wall is a broad ditch 3.5m wide and 1m deep cut into the slope; along this the targets would have stood. Slots visible in the wall may have been related to the mechanism for raising and lowering the targets or, alternatively, a protective awning for the markers. The wall terminates at its north-east end in a short end wall at right angles to it, of cement rendered brick; and at its south-west end in the remains of a small brick building 3.1m square; it is built against the wall on the north-west and into rising ground on the east and south-west.
Adjacent on the east is a bank 10m long (NE-SW), 4m wide and 1m high with a rear ditch, and appears to be the remains of a larger feature portrayed on the First Edition map, probably the Victorian target area and markers' butt.
The rifle firing positions towards the river shown on early maps were defined by linear banks all of which have now gone (local informant).
(1) The Welshman, 28.09.1860
David Leighton, Medwyn Parry & Daryl Leeworthy, RCAHMW, 6 June 2014.