Thursday, 2 October 2014


The main street of the village of Solva leads down to an inlet which has been likened to a mini Norwegian fjord, due to its steep sides and the extent to which it penetrates into this stretch of the Pembrokeshire coastline.  This topography makes for a delightfully sheltered haven for the leisure craft that call in here.  During the 19th century there was a fleet of 30 ships based here, and there were scheduled departures for America from the harbour.  However, the village's last steamship came to an unfortunate end, torpedoed by a U-boat in 1915.  Solva is the kind of place which was beloved by pirates and smugglers, and as was usually the case where these activities were rife, many of the houses had concealed cubby-holes which were used to hide contraband.  Even the local chapel was not immune to being linked to the smuggling trade: its candles were made from tallow smuggled into Solva.  The story goes that the excise officer got wind of this, and confiscated the candles, leaving the congregation fumbling in the dark.  

Solva Harbour. Photo by Garethrees, via Wikimedia Commons

Solva is divided into two parts, Upper Solva and Lower Solva.  Lower Solva wends its way through a deep valley, and its main street has a pleasant mix of pubs and shops and leads down to the harbourside, where there is a pub and a cafe.  The village makes an ideal starting point for walks along the Pembrokeshire coast path.  Solva Woollen Mill, on the banks of the River Solfach, was established in 1907 and is still making carpets and rugs.  There is a shop and tea room for visitors, who can also see some of the old mill workings.  Regular events in the village include a Duck Race held each Easter Monday and a range of regattas in the summer.

Colourful Lower Solva

Map of the area.

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