The Port of Porthgain: Warpool Court Hotel’s Peter Trier Highlights Its History

Slip on your walking boots and head to the popular little fishing harbour of Porthgain.

“Here’s where you’ll have a chance to enjoy the beauty of some of Pembrokeshire’s finest coastal scenery and explore relics of Porthgain’s once flourishing industrial past up close,” says Warpool Court Hotel proprietor Peter Trier.

Just a few minutes from Warpool Court Hotel, on the north coast of the St David’s Peninsula, the tiny village of Porthgain lies on one of the most exceptional sections of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. For little more than a half-century, from 1850 to 1910, Porthgain served as a key port for exporting bricks, road stone and slate from quarries in the south.  When demand for slate subsided in the mid-19th century, nearby quarries took the lead and turned out granite which was used in paving and building, and brickmaking. Beginning with construction of the brickworks in 1889, bricks were made using waste from the slate operation. Eventually the port was shut down in 1931, and the National Trust acquired the workings in the 1950s. 

Around the village you’ll find the remains of sizeable buildings that hint at how busy and important the Porthgain port once was, like the original limestone kilns that operated here for hundreds of years. At the edge of the village, the row of cottages you see is called Y Strydd ('The Street'). These structures were once quarry workers cottages and are examples of ‘Crog lofts', where the loft is a partial upper floor where residents sleep. To the left of the harbour, you’ll easily spot large brick buildings built into the cliff face. These are the hoppers used to store crushed granite before shipment. The cliffside chutes of the former stone crushing plant are also still visible.

If you’d like to explore a bit further and find the slate quarry, follow the coastal path up the cliff on the left side of the harbour. At the top, follow the path to your left near the ruined brick-built building. A short distance onwards and on your right, you will see the gaping pit that was once a quarry. Backtrack to the coast path and continue along to your left to view the cliff edge quarry that served the road stone business.

Before you visit, be warned that the harbour can get very busy in summer.  If you’re looking for a light bite after your walk, visit The Shed, a small waterside bistro which was once the machine shop for the engines that operated the brick works in Porthgain. Another popular option is the historic Sloop Inn, dating from 1743.

Don’t miss the Harbour Lights Gallery, steps away from the water. It’s a lovely spot to stop and admire the works of art in the gallery. Dozens of contemporary artists original works are on sale here. You'll probably find one you just can't go home without!

Come and explore everything Pembrokeshire has to offer during your holidays, with Warpool Court Hotel as your home base. Book one of our luxury rooms or a stay in our private, self-catering Garden Cottage here at Warpool Court Hotel. Send us an email, or give us a call on 01437 720300. We'll be glad to welcome you.

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