Last Invasion Trail
The Trail enables cyclists to experience the spectacular scenery in this area of Pembrokeshire and to visit a number of interesting sites including those associated with the French Invasion in 1797. On the afternoon of 22nd February of that year, four French vessels landed 1400 soldiers and weapons onto the rocky shores of Carreg Wastad, a few miles north-west of Fishguard. The invading force was under the command of an American named William Tate. The surrender two days later was generally due to poor discipline and morale of the troops, many of whom had become drunk on stolen alcohol. Many local people resisted the invaders. Most notable was Jemima Nicholas who, armed only with a pitchfork, reputedly rounded up twelve Frenchmen.
If time allows at the end of the tour it is worth visiting the large Neolithic burial site just beyond the car park at Harbour Village which has several exposed tombs. Also the viewpoint at the end of Harbour Village has breathtaking views of the harbour, the coastline (including Fishguard Fort), and the Preseli Mountain range beyond. Numerous tearooms, restaurants, shops and pubs are available for welcome refreshments down at Goodwick itself.
Last invasion and other historical sites, superb inland and coastal scenery, remote beaches and a working woollen mill
18miles (29 km)
|4 hours allowing for hills plus additional time for stops|
|Harbour Village Car Park, Goodwick.(Grid Ref SM947388, Sat Nav SA64 0DU) Proceed up the hill past the railway station, turn left at the Rose & Crown Inn then right up New Hill. At the top of the hill turn left and the car park is on the right.|
|Fishguard & Goodwick 1/2 mile (at bottom of Goodwick hill)|
|Mainly quiet lanes. One short section liable to get muddy in wet weather. A couple of sharp climbs but mostly a gently sloping trail.|
Total climb (sum of all uphill sections) - 467 metres
|Tregwynt Woollen Mill and Goodwick|
|Tregwynt Woollen Mill and Goodwick Beach|
Trail Directions (distances in miles)
0.0 Start. The Trail starts opposite Harbour Village car park entrance.
0.7 Merge with estate road alongside playing field
0.8 Turn right at ‘T’ junction
1.4 Turn left towards St Nicholas
4.4 Straight on at crossroads. (Turn right for optional very short detour to St Nicholas)
4.9 Turn right and on past Tregwynt Woollen Mill
5.3 Turn left at ‘T’ junction then right towards Abermawr (Tregwynt Mansion is further up the hill on the right)
5.8 Abermawr. Turn around (optional walk down to beach)
6.5 Turn left at ‘main’ road and continue uphill past the junction to the mill
8.3 Turn left following sign for Pwllderi and Youth Hostel
9.1 Pwllderi. Turn around (optional walks on nearby sections of coast path)
9.7 Turn left at stone cottage, left again at next cottage, and left again following sign to Strumble Head. The next section is the steepest of the uphill legs of the Trail but is soon followed by a welcome downhill section. Just before the highest point is an access on the left to the path up to Garn Fawr Iron Age hill fort (a short walk up from the car park adjacent to the road)
11.4 Turn left for Strumble Head
12.6 Strumble Head. Turn around (optional short walk to bird observatory)
14.9 Turn left along unsurfaced track signed ‘Unsuitable for Motors’. Note - this can be muddy in wet weather
15.7 Turn right at Llanwnda and follow signs back to Goodwick
16.8 Turn left before the 20 mph zone signs to follow path back to the start of the Trail (or carry straight on for a more direct route down to Goodwick and the sea front)
Points of interest along the way
Location of French surrender
Parc y Ffrancwr (Frenchman’s Field)
Site of fatal skirmish with French troops
Picturesque village with church site dating back to Roman times
Tregwynt Woollen Mill
Shop, cafe and viewing of weaving process. The working mill is open 9.00am to 4.40pm on weekdays, the shop/cafe is also open weekends
A dinner dance was being attended by Colonel Knox, commanding officer of Fishguard Fencibles, when news of the invasion arrived. Knox left immediately for Fishguard Fort and the other guests fled to safety
French fleet forced westwards by canon fire from fort
At very low tides the remains of a submerged forest can be seen, drowned by a sudden flood as the ice sheet melted 8000 years ago. Abermawr and Aberbach (immediately north) have long been associated with smuggling. Abermawr was the terminus for the submarine telegraph cable from Britain to America and was also considered for the terminus of Brunel’s railway link between Britain and Ireland.
Idyllic cliff top setting offering superb coastline views down to St Davids
Iron Age Hill Fort. Outstanding 360o views with Strumble Head to the north and the coastline to its right where the French forces landed in 1797. Snowdonia and the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland are visible on clear days
Mary Williams, fleeing from her house, was shot in the leg by the French and ‘otherwise ill-treated’. She was awarded an annual pension of £40 and collected it for the next 56 years
Famous for its lighthouse, wildlife (best seen from the bird observatory) and for its magnificent views
Home of John Mortimer who was about to get married at the time of the invasion. The wedding provisions were quickly devoured by French soldiers and Trehowel became the temporary headquarters for the invading force.
Location where the invaders came ashore. A memorial, erected in 1897, overlooks the cove. Footpath access available from Trehowel and Llanwnda
Site of Neolithic burial chamber and holy well. The hamlet also has a beautiful Celtic style double bellcote church with early Christian inscribed stones and medieval roof beams with carvings. The French soldiers looted the church and actually tried to burn it down.