Coastlands Local History Group ambassadors welcome visitors to the Old Stables Heritage Centre at Dale.
Open between April and October, the Old Stables has a large collection of photographs, documents and recordings which vividly illustrate the area’s heritage.
‘Coastlands’ is made up of four communities fringing the western tip of Pembrokeshire: St Ishmaels, Dale, Marloes and St Brides. The group also runs a programme of talks and tours, encouraging locals and visitors to enjoy the area’s rich and diverse history.
St Ishmaels is characterised by large farms and edged by inlets like Monk Haven, each with a story to tell. Dale, which hosted Henry VII on his way to Bosworth in 1485, is a popular sailing centre, still providing hospitality today. Marloes has a distinctive village centre clock-tower and a breathtaking beach, popular with film-makers and birdwatchers. St Brides, is known for its early potato production and cliff-top castle which served as Kensington convalescent hospital between 1923 and 1978.
The offshore islands of Skomer and Skokholm, reached by ferry from the National Trust harbour of Martin’s Haven, offer a different perspective. Recent archaeological work on Skomer employing new technology has revealed previously unrecorded field systems and settlements.
Standing stones, windmill, castles, forts, kilns and quays are among the area’s landmarks. Its heritage is also captured in traditions and stories; summer fairs were marked by specially made rice puddings, each village guarding its secret recipe. At New Year, children called house-to-house, singing for pennies and carrying a wren
in a cage. Why were residents of Marloes known as ‘gulls’ and those from St Ishmaels termed ‘mice’?
At the Old Stables Heritage Centre local ambassadors will answer such perplexing questions as well as providing information about archaeological finds; shipwrecks and military manoeuvres.
Explore the Coastlands villages along the Pembrokeshire coast path, enjoying local hospitality at a cafe, pub or hotel along the way.