Author Archives: Mike Wort

Hidden Treasures of the Southwood Estate – Monthly meeting – July

At our monthly meeting on 7th July over seventy members listened to a talk given by Andrew Tuddenham on the above subject.  For sixteen years Andrew has managed farms and land owned by the National Trust in the North of Pembrokeshire.  His talk, in the main, featured Southwood Farm which lies above Newgale beach and extends to some 950 acres.  His talk was fascinating and with the usual technology he was able to show us some before and after pictures of the Grade II listed Southwood farmhouse and a range of outbuildings which are set out around a courtyard.  A considerable amount of renovation work has taken place at the farm; some of this required the consent of the Pembrokeshire National Park Authority who believed an addition to the range of buildings of a concrete block constructed extension to house the milk bulk tank should not be demolished.  However, said building is no longer!

Andrew Tuddenham


The work of the National Trust is invaluable in preserving our heritage. Questions were asked of Andrew; these were answered clearly and concisely despite one or two concerning land and buildings in the South of the County.  There are events planned at Southwood so look out for these, in particular a Christmas Fayre to be held in the newly renovated outbuildings.

Penny Thomas

7th July 2016

Link to National Trust – Southwood Estate

Welsh Wildlife Trust – Monthly meeting – June

Nathan Walton of the Welsh Wildlife Trust gave a most interesting talk about his work of conservation and management of the Trust’s 15 Reserves situate in Pembrokeshire.  The Reserves cover an area of some 775 hectares 319 owned by the Trust and the remainder on lease from the National Trust and Pembrokeshire County Council.

Nathan Walton 2

Nathan, with the aid of slides, gave us an insight as to what we might find at the various Reserves advising the site at West Williamson to be his favourite but with a tinge of regret he indicated was not owned by the Trust but the National Trust.   On this 20 hectare site one may see Curlews, and the elusive Brown Hair Streak butterfly that lays its eggs on the blackthorn which is the subject of a five year management scheme to ensure it is of the right size and structure to attract this beautiful butterfly.

Each Reserve has its own particular flora and wildlife, herons and, occasionally an osprey may be seen at Westfield Pill in Neyland.   Pengelli Reserve of some 65 hectares is the site of the largest ancient coppiced oak woodland in Wales.

Would you like to see some swamp buffalo then Teifi Marshes is the place to visit, these ponderous looking beasts do a magnificent job of keeping the waterways clear by feeding and wallowing in the water.

A most interesting talk, we live in a beautiful County it is good to know it is being looked after by organisations such as the Welsh Wildlife Trust who rely upon volunteers to carry out a lot of the “donkey work”.

Penny Thomas

2nd June 2016

The Great Pembroke Dock Fire

Derek Church - Speaker May 2016

Derek Church – Speaker May 2016

Monthly Meeting – May

An excellent talk was given by Derek Church, one of our members, on the subject “The Great Pembroke Dock Fire”. Without reference to any notes Derek, spoke for forty five minutes, explaining Pembroke Dock was, primarily, a ship-building dock with storage facilities for oil, there being several large tanks in the locality for that purpose.
Whilst the fighter airplanes of the RAF were engaged in the Battle of Britain and our army was in retreat at Dunkirk, a bomber from the German Luftwaffe, protected by two fighter planes, dropped a bomb on one the oil storage tanks.
A sewing machine Salesman from Neyland, Arthur Morris, who also happened to be a retained fire fighter made his way to the fire crossing the estuary by way of the ferry, taking charge of the situation with help from six hundred and fifty fire-fighters from as far away as Birmingham, Newport, Cardiff, Devon and Somerset. The fire raged for twenty one days unlike the great fire of London which burnt for three. Arthur Morris toiled for seventeen days without sleep, five Cardiff firemen were killed and there were thirty eight seriously injured men.
The fire must have been a most terrifying sight to see and experience, thank goodness we now live in relatively peaceful times.

Penny Thomas
5th May 2016

Derek gave a Masterclass in public speaking/story telling. He delivered an excellent talk with no notes, visual aids, ums & errs, hesitation or repetition which certainly left me with a brilliant mental picture of the events from Monday 19 August 1940.

Mike Wort

SSAFA – Monthly Meeting – April 2016

Valerie Griggs


The Speaker at the meeting on 7th April 2016 was Valerie Griggs who spoke of the work undertaken by SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors & Airmen Families Association).

Valerie, the wife of a retired Naval Officer, came to Pembrokeshire when her husband was appointed as the Royal Naval liaison officer working with the American Navy at Brawdy. When he retired they settled in here where they had grown to feel at home.

When the British Army first fought overseas soldiers were given their pay direct leaving their wives and dependants without any means of financial support resulting in many living in a state of destitution. At the time of the First World War an association was formed to take care of dependants of those soldiers serving overseas thus saw the beginning of SSAFA. In later years the Navy and Air Force joined, forming the Association as it is today. Valerie explained the levels of the lifelong support, covering both material and emotional needs.

Whilst Valerie’s interesting talk was locally based and drawn from personal experience, a short DVD of the work undertaken really emphasised the importance of the Association as it is today. The talk was informative and brought to our attention the various needs of our veteran and serving forces.

Penny Thomas

7th April, 2016


Group Leaders/New Members Meeting

On the morning of 30th March the above meeting was held at the hall in Merlins Bridge.

Without our Group Leaders we would not have a U3A and equally without a flow of new members we would fade away. The meeting included nineteen Group Leaders and ten new members.  It was pleasing to see so many group leaders who introduced themselves indicating their own group and representing those Leaders who were unable to attend.

The discussion was lively with a new member keen to join the Mah Jong group and others expressing an interest in one of the, always popular, walking groups and the table tennis.  We are most fortunate in the number of diverse groups on offer; the new members became aware they could have both their bodies and their minds exercised!

Should you have an interest not covered by one of the groups why not start your own?  The committee and the National Resource Centre will give you as much help as you may need in setting up a group.

May I on behalf of the Committee extend a big thank you to all the Group Leaders who give freely of their time enabling us to have a great and growing U3A.

Penny Thomas

30th March 2016