Neyland and Llanstadwell

Before the 1850s ‘Nailand’ was a small fishing village in the parish of Llanstadwell, with a modest shipbuilding and ship repair industry on the shore of Westfield Pill.

The overgrown ‘Pembrokeshire’ pill-box at Scoveston.

All this changed when Brunel decided to make it the Welsh terminus of the Great Western Railway and a packet steamer port. The village was transformed into a railway town with rows of terraces overlooking the new harbour facilities, while a steamer service linked the town with Ireland. Troop trains became a common sight at the station, with thousands of soldiers passing through Neyland en route to and from Ireland. When the Irish packet service was switched to Fishguard, Neyland became a fishing port. That trade has also dwindled and Westfield Pill now houses a marina full of leisure craft.

There were a number of searchlight batteries in the area, the main battery being at Upper Scoveston (SM 933075) where there were ten huts, three searchlight emplacements and a powerful generator. A smaller battery stood at The Bolster (SM 932046). There were light anti-aircraft batteries, each armed with a 40mm Bofurs gun, at Church Lakes (SM 960053) and Hazelbank, Llandstadwell (SM 949053). No trace now remains of these batteries.

All that remains of the Bath House gun battery.

Similarly, nothing can now be seen of the numerous barrage balloon sites at Hazel Bank, Honeyborough Farm, Little Honeyborough, Station Road and Church Lakes.

Neyland cemetery is situated to the right of the A477, west of the roundabout. Five burials relating to the Second World War can be found in the cemetery, all members of local families.

Bath House Quay

(SM 965047) A battery was built here to defend the naval dockyard (above) during the American War of Independence. Some traces of the battery were destroyed during recent building work on the site, although the gun platform taking the form of a ravelin projects out onto the shore.

Pembrokeshire’ Pill-box

The overgrown ‘Pembrokeshire’ pill-box at Scoveston.

(SM 939065): Close to where the road from Lower Scoveston Farm meets the road from Sentry Cross to Waterston there is a concrete pill-box set in the hedge. Known as a ‘Pembrokeshire Type’ pill box, it dates from 1940 and includes a loopholed blast wall. It is greatly overgrown and hard to spot.

D-Day Embarkation Hards

Two of these hards were built on the foreshore in 1943. Each comprised a large rectangular concrete apron with a central jetty and each hard had capacity for two Landing Ship Tank (LST) tank landing vessels. Today the foundation blocks of the jetties can be seen at low tide while the rectangular hards, built of concrete paviors known as ‘biscuits’, remain on the foreshore. Neyland East Hard (WN2) is below Picton Road (SM 964047) while Neyland West
Hard (WN1) is near the Yacht Club (SM 964047).

Further Reading:

The Pevsner Guide to the Buildings of Pembrokeshire by Lloyd, Orbach and Scourfield

Neyland – A Proud Centenary by Simon Hancock

Down the Slip by David James

20th Century Defences in Britain published by the Council for British Archaeology

Flying Boat Haven by John Evans

The Story of the Milford Haven Waterway by Sybil Edwards

An Experience Shared by Vernon Scott

The Fortification of Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock published by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.
Contacts:

For the history of the Haven forts, visit The Guntower Museum, Front Street, Pembroke Dock. For information on flying boats, contact the Sunderland Trust: sunderlandtrust@btconnect.com or telephone 01646 680144.

Upper Scoveston (SM 933075)

51.728013, -4.9944263

The Bolster (SM 932046)

51.701937, -4.9941505

Church Lakes (SM 960053)

51.709248, -4.9540979

Hazelbank, Llandstadwell (SM 949053)

51.708847, -4.9699963

Bath House Quay (SM 965047)

51.704042, -4.9465209

Pembrokeshire Pill-box (SM 939065)

51.719255, -4.9851590

Picton Road (SM 964047)

51.704006, -4.9479660

Yacht Club (SM 964047)

51.704006, -4.9479660