Dale Fort and the promontory on which it stands, has a long and often secret history. Dr Stephen Morrell acquainted us with this in a lively and informative talk.
From the Caledonian rock formation to the first Dale fort in 800BC, we heard about the ongoing importance of this strategic position at the head of the Cleddau estuary. The earliest structure was East Blockhouse in 1579, as the UK saw the need for increased protection from the French. This was followed by the gun towers of West Blockhouse. Dale was one of three forts built in the haven around 1856. In the late 19th century the rare Zalinski Pneumatic Dynamite gun, developed to attack metal-hulled warships, was sited at the fort, but it was soon superseded because of new explosives. The fort passed into private ownership early in the 20th century. In the second word war it became important for spotting mine laying by the Germans, and also for anti mine activity in order to protect the fleet moored in the haven. In a new era, Dale Fort became the first marine field centre in the world in 1947. With the long shoreline, large tidal range and excellent climatic conditions, it was ideal for studies. From that day to the present time the Field Council has run A level biology, university, junior school and family courses at Dale Fort. All making a contribution to the economy and bringing new generations to enjoy the beautiful coastline.
Report by Jane Mason
Our thanks to the staff of the National Trust shop, at St Davids, for attending the meeting, so that we could buy some Christmas goodies.