Travel – St David’s Head and St Patricks chapel

 

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From St Davids we headed by car to the coast to Whitesands beach. The wide sandy beach was full of surfers, apparently from a junior surf school, and when the sun came out it looked spectacular and far more exotic than you might expect! We had a picnic in the car park, with a cheeky jackdaw begging titbits, then decided to walk along the coast.

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St David’s Head is a dramatic headland northwest of St David’s and Whitesands beach dominated by the peak of Carn Llidi. The path is one of many along an historic route of pilgrimage to the ancient cathedral. The cathedral itself was built with stone from the cliffs at Caerbwdy on the Solva Coast.

 

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Described in a Roman survey of the known world in 140 AD (Ptolemy’s Geography) as the ‘Promontory of the Eight. There are magnificent views in all directions, the wide expanse of the Irish Sea to the north, to the west the Bishops and Clerks rocks; south, Whitesands Bay to Ramsey Sound and Ramsey Island and to the east, the slopes of the large rocky outcrop known as Carn Llidi.

Nearby are a number of ancient monuments showing signs of early occupation, including, an iron age cliff fort, prehistoric settlements, a prehistoric defensive wall, signs of various neolithic field systems and Coetan Arthur burial chamber.

It was a gorgeous walk, we just went a couple of miles to the headland, but the views were spectacular, and we really got a feel for this ancient wild coastline.

Back towards the bay, we were lucky enough to see the progress on the last full day of the recent excavations of St Patrick’s chapel. The chapel lies in sand dunes immediately above the high tide level. Excavations in 1924 uncovered the foundations of a small stone-built chapel and several well preserved burials. In 2013-14 storms, coastal erosion revealed several human remains, so a two week excavation in May 2014 investigated the graves and other remains. Further digs have revealed more about this chapel and the bodies within.

The archaeology project is a collaborative research project between Katie Hemer, University of Sheffield and  Dyfed Archaeological Trust. There is a diary of the dig here

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Travel – St David’s Head and St Patricks chapel

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