Angle village has a long seafaring tradition, perpetuated in the form of the local RNLI lifeboat. Situated at the entrance to Milford Haven, the Angle Peninsula has long been recognised as an important defensive site and the area is rich in military heritage.

Along the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park coast path can be found the ruins of a Tudor blockhouse, three Victorian forts, numerous gun and searchlight emplacements from the First and Second World Wars and the scattered remnants of a military airfield. The village itself contains some interesting examples of ‘colonial’ architecture, introduced by local squire Colonel R W B Mirehouse following his service in South Africa during the Boer War.

East Blockhouse to Freshwater West

A walk along this section of coastline passes numerous remnants of the World War II coastal defences. On the headland above Castles Bay there is an Iron Age promontory fort. The hollows in the bank of the fort housed anti-aircraft machine-gun posts and there was also a searchlight battery here. Just inland from the path at East Pickard Bay can be seen one of the ‘E-pens’ where the fighter planes which operated from Angle airfield were held in readiness. East Pickard Iron Age promontory fort was used as a searchlight emplacement, and there are the remains of circular pits which protected the men and their Lewis guns. In the field close to the 1914-1918 war memorial overlooking Freshwater West can be seen remnants of the Gravel Bay anti-aircraft battery – four gun emplacements and a command post. Rusty metal sticking out of the dunes adjacent to the path from the north car park to the beach was all that remained of anti-invasion beach obstacles cleared and buried by German prisoners of war (most old metal removed in December 2007).

Angle Point to Chapel Bay Fort

This section of coast path runs along the south shore of Milford Haven. Just past the lifeboat slip, next to a stile, is a circular earthwork which was once an anti-aircraft machine-gun post. The site was later used to house a 40mm Rolls Royce gun, originally designed for use on Hawker Hurricanes but converted into a ground-based weapon when it proved inadequate for aerial combat. At North Hill are the remains of a Liang hut with secondary corrugated sheeting; this was used as accommodation for an anti-aircraft searchlight battery.

Chapel Bay Fort to Thorn Point

The rocky patch of ground at West Pill was once the site of an anti-aircraft battery designed specifically to target German mine-laying aircraft as they sowed their mines in Milford Haven. On Thorn Point are the brick remains of a mine-watcher’s post; if the enemy aircraft managed to drop mines in the Haven, it was the job of the mine-watchers to observe their position and direct the mine-sweepers to the danger.

Further reading

Angle Peninsula Walks, published by PLANED;

Action Stations 3 by David J Smith, published by PSL An Experience Shared 1939 – 1945 by Vernon Scott, published by Laleham Publications.

All the sites listed are either open to the public or can be viewed from public thoroughfares