Llawhaden is an ancient settlement, dominated by the shell of a ruined castle which was once the splendid residence of the Bishops of St David’s.

Ridgeway House to the south was once the home of Admiral Sir Thomas Foley who commanded the Elephant, Lord Nelson’s flagship at Copenhagen. During the Civil War the decisive action known as ‘The Battle of Colby Moor’ took place on the western edge of the community.

(Llawhaden Castle is in the care of Cadw)

Canaston Wood

At the eastern edge of the wood, not far from Returno Farm, is an underground operating base (OB) which would have been used by the Home Guard Auxiliary during the Second World War.

This was a top secret force of local men, welltrained in guerrilla warfare, who were to act as a focus for the Resistance movement in the event of a German invasion.

Cleverly concealed hiding places were created all over the country, both in towns and in the countryside, from which these secret forces could strike at the invaders.

The Hide in Canaston Wood is one of the larger so far discovered in the county – many still remain a secret, as do their attendant ammunition stores. The Hide, which is hidden in woodland, consists of two chambers with connecting tunnels and could house a number of men.

Searchlight sites:

There were two WWII anti-aircraft searchlight sites in the area. One was a single light near Wiston; the other was a ‘Troop Site’ with three lights in a field to the north west of Llawhaden Church.

Further reading:

The Llawhaden Book by Mary Houseman, 2004.