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Historic Background
A character area comprising a narrow coastal strip, lying within the parishes of Dale, Marloes and St Bride’s. Historically, this coastal strip has always been marginal land, outside the boundaries of cultivated land. In the past it has been used for rough grazing, but now its main function is as a corridor for the Pembrokeshire Coast Path set between farmland and the edges of the sea cliffs. However, this area includes many former occupation sites. These include Gateholm Island which has a long history of occupation, the most important stage of which is represented by a complex of turf-walled huts dateable to the Roman and post-Roman periods, and an iron age promontory fort at Great Castle Head, which was reused during the medieval period as the caput of the Manor of Dale, and later as a World War 1 defence post. There are few places suitable for landing small boats along this stretch of high sea cliff. The exceptions being Westdale Bay, Marloes Sands and Martin’s Haven. It is these locations that served as shipping points for the agricultural hinterland, although at no location were formal quays or wharves constructed.

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Description and essential historic landscape components
This historic landscape character area consists of approximately a 20 km strip of high, hard-rock sea cliff topped by a narrow band of moor, scrub and rough ground. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path runs along the entire length of this area. Although it comprises a very narrow strip of land, sometimes just a few metres wide, this area is very different from the highly cultivated land that bounds it, and for long sections there is no connection between the cultivated fields and coastal strip. Essentially the historic landscape of the coastal strip is characterised by its many and varied archaeological sites. The most obvious and important of these are several iron age promontory forts, such as Tower Point, Wooltack Point, and Great Castle Head which was re-used in the medieval period. Also of great importance is Gateholm Island with its sites dating from the prehistoric period through to the post-Roman period. Other upstanding sites include 19th century limekilns, three of which are grade II listed, and 20th century military coastal defences. There is also a wealth of buried archaeology including numerous prehistoric flint working floors, the best known of which is Nab Head, and an early medieval cemetery at St Brides. There are no inhabited buildings in this area.

This is a distinct and very well defined area. It is bounded by the sea or farmland.

Sources: Crane 1994; Edwards and Lane 1988; Ludlow, in Crane forthcoming; Murphy and Allen 1997 and 1998