Industrial Wales - South West Wales
Saundersfoot, Porthgain, Abereiddi and others.
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The industrial history and archaeology of Pembrokeshire

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Porthgain and Abereiddy

Porthgain Harbour SM 8142 3255

Porthgain and Abereiddi were both slate quarries from around 1840 to the 1890s, by which time Abereiddy was disused. In 1893 the focus was on stone quarrying and brickmaking at Porthgain. Various companies came and went until final closure in 1931. Being so remote the infrastructure has just quietly decayed. What is left is a veritable paradise for Industrial Archeaologists and all easily accessible.

The harbour was the site of the brickworks, crushers and ore hoppers, gradually developing over the years, with major re-building of the harbour in 1902-1904. The brickworks has disappeared except for one building, now a cafe, with the stump of one chimney next to it. The huge bulk of the hoppers stand guard over the harbour, the crusher in the centre and ore chutes at each end.

St Brides Quarry, Porthgain - SM 8122 3246

St Brides Quarry was the original quarry at Porthgain, operated by inclines and briefly Blondin ropeways up and down to the harbour. Later a tunnel ran straight through to the harbour, emerging near the Eastern ore chutes. The engine shed, weighbridge and water facilities were located here, probably a little more sheltered that at Pen Clegyr.

Pen Clegyr Quarry, Porthgain - SM 8075 3270

The waste tips were nearest to the hoppers with the tramway, known as 'Jerusalem Road' running down to the main stone quarry at Pen Clegyr. Inclines ran to the two working faces and the smithy and other engineering facilities were here.

St Brides Slate Quarry, Abereiddy - SM 7945 3150

St Brides Slate Quarry, Abereiddy had a fairly short life and was linked to Porthgain by a horse-worked tramway following the contours of Barry Island (but this Barry Island is not the pleasure beach of the valleys). At some time the stone between the quarry and the sea was blasted away to create the 'Blue Lagoon' that you see here now. The 'lift' may have been a steep incline as in North Wales, rather than a vertical lift.

The Castlemartin gunnery ranges

Castlemartin Ranges - SR 9681 9305 to 9711 9303

A group of three target bunkers, the middle and Western are connected by a 2'6" tramway. Two more bunkers are on the headland with tramways and wagon turntables but I didn't see them on this visit.

The Saundersfoot Railway and its industries

The Northern reaches of the railway

Acknowledgments, sources and further reading.

'The Railways of Porthgain and Abereiddi' by R C Jermy
'Industrial Saundersfoot' and 'The Saundersfoot Railway', both by M. R. C. Price
Castlemartin ranges - IRS Bulletin 945, Brian Cuttell

All rights reserved - Phil Jenkins