“The Natural History of Skomer – Above and Below High Water” a talk by John Archer-Thomson.

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At Crundale Hall on Thursday 2nd November, John Archer-Thomson, retired Assistant Director of Studies at Dale Fort Field Centre, gave a talk on Skomer featuring plenty of his fine photographs.

He talked of  many species of the natural world including  humans. Fortunately the latter crowding the area of  burrows for photographs do not have a negative impact on the puffins. In fact they do the birds a favour by discouraging the food stealing gulls. However man’s fishing habits do have a negative impact on the colourful hidden world of nature on the sea bed.

For a more details click on Jim Price’s write up->Talk on Skomer 2nd Nov 17


Lunch at Lamphey with tour of the Palace. 6th October 2017

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Our guest speaker, Richard Turner, retired Senior Inspector of Ancient Monuments for CADW, started our event by taking us on a tour of Lamphey Palace explaining the history and purpose of the various buildings.

This was followed by lunch at Lamphey Court Hotel. After the meal Richard gave a further presentation where he gave more detail of the other Bishop’s palaces in the area, namely St David’s and Llawhaden, highlighting their differing functions of Work, Rest and Pray.

For Jim Price’s more detailed report click Lamphey PNTA Lunch 6th Oct 17

916A9903PNTA tour Lamphey Palalce 810


“The Redcoat Soldier of 1751” – a talk by Bill Cainan

IMG_2299 Bill Cainan talks in full regalia 900

There was no need for a screen and a digital projector for PNTA’s first talk of the season, which had an explosive ending.

Bill Cainan, former Curator of the Regimental Museum in Brecon made his presentation dressed in a replica redcoat uniform, painting a picture, in words and actions, of the life of a soldier of that time.

To learn more of his talk click on Annie Weaver’s report ->redcoat

Afterwards, Bill gave an outdoor demonstration of the drill to load and fire the musket.

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The musket is loaded…


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…and fired.

Photos by Andrew Weaver

More summer events.

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On the warm evening of 20th June 2017, Steve Whitehead, Manager at Colby NT took us on a stroll up the hill towards Craig y Borion, stopping on the way to point out the ancient Royal Fern in a cottage garden. Up into the fields we were shown the process of  gradual expansion of wildflower plantings to encourage wildlife.

The caretakers of Little Craig y Borion showed us the renovations to the farm house and supplied us with very welcome and delicious homemade elderflower cordial.

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To see Jim Price’s more detailed report click here->Walk at Colby 20th June 17 pdf


The weather was less kind for our walk at Stackpole, with head Ranger Chris Oliver, on 11th July 2017. Nine members turned out, despite the rain. Having walked to the Grassy Bridge, from Stackpole Centre, we progressed towards Stackpole Warren and climbed to Lady Cawdor’s seat. But our thoughts were of earlier inhabitation as Chris pointed out sites of iron age and bronze age settlements, in days when Stackpole had a tidal inlet, before the creation of the lily ponds.

IMG_1894At Lady Cawdors seat Stackpole July 17 800

After the stroll we dried out with a meal at the Stackpole Inn.

For more detail click->Walk at Stackpole 11th July 17 pdf


Our final summer excursion was the boat trip from Neyland Marina to the quayside at Haverfordwest.

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It was a fine day for the journey past Lawrence and Llangwm. The final approach to Haverfordwest was slow, waiting for the tide to peak, to enable access for the quay (and the meals waiting for us t the Bristol Trader).

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Click on Jim Price’s report for more->Boat Trip 25th July 17 pdf

The trip took place on the birthday of the organiser, Tim Sims-Williams, and there was a chance to raise a glass of bubbly, in his honour, whilst on board.

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Photo of Tim Sims-Williams, by Roland Edwards.

Other photos by Andrew Weaver.

Day trip to Royal Mint, at Llantrisant, and Dyffryn NT. 15th June 2017

916A7071time for tea at Dyffryn 800Picture – Dyffryn House and Gardens.

A full coach load of members and friends made the drive on a sunny day to Llantrisant, for a guided tour of the Royal Mint. We then progressed to Dyffryn NT, near Cardiff. There we were led through the various parts of the gardens by knowledgeable guides, with a bit of time left for a quick look at the house or a leisurely cup of tea. It was nice to find a cafe willing to stay open beyond its advertised time of closing of 4pm.

Thanks to Tim Sims-Williams for organising the successful day.

To read more details, please click on Jim Price’s report ->Day Trip Report 15 06 17 pdf

May 2017 tour to Harrogate

PNTA SPRING TOUR to SOUTH YORKSHIRE – Sunday 14th to Thursday 18th MAY

We had our largest Tour group this year with 50 members participating.. There were some rainy spells to cope with but everyone was equipped for the weather and it did not spoil our enjoyment.
Sunday was spent travelling to Harrogate but we took a break at Erddig, a NT property near Wrexham. It was a fine house in 18th and 19th centuries but the Yorke family wealth declined in the 20th century with the family living in ‘genteel poverty’. However there was much to see both ‘below stairs’ and in the family rooms. The walled gardens have been fully restored to their formal 18th century design with lakes, pleached lime trees and, espaliered apples and pears. They were a pleasure on a sunny afternoon. After leaving Erddig we travelled directly to Harrogate and booked in at the very comfortable Crown Hotel.

Monday morning saw us on the way to Ripon Cathedral, an imposing sight from the surrounding countryside. The current Cathedral was built in the 12th and 13th centuries in the austere Early English style. However our tour guides explained that the first stone church on the site was commissioned by St Wilfrid in 672. Its crypt is still accessible in the current building and may well be oldest site of continuous worship (13 ½ centuries) in England.
We then drove to Fountains Abbey and the Studley Royal Water Garden. It is a World Heritage Site now owned by the NT. Building the Cistercian Abbey commenced in 1132 but its magnificent tower was only completed a few years before the Dissolution. Our guides took us through the mediaeval history and explained the working of the Monastery and the different categories of monks involved.
The Water Garden is adjacent to the Abbey. It was created in the early 18th century by the Aslabie family and is a series of lakes running down the valley which are beautiful in their simplicity. The Aslabies bought the Fountains Abbey ruins to add to the view.

Tuesday was spent in Harrogate. In the morning we had conducted walking tours round the town. It was explained that the purpose of Harrogate is to attract visitors and get then to spend money. This started in 1571 when the Tewit Well was recognized to have mineral water properties deemed good for health. Over time 88 wells have been discovered with waters tasting from awful to diabolical, but all doing you good. You can bathe in them as well. The town has many splendid buildings providing leisure activities, shops and hotels. It also has Betty’s Tearoom which has to be experienced by all visitors, including us.
In the afternoon there was a choice of visiting the RHS Harlow Carr Garden or have a bus tour of the local countryside. Both were enjoyed.

Wednesday was spent wholly at Harewood House. Getting through the gate was a test of nerve for our driver, John. Knowing that it was likely to rain, most of us explored the gardens in the morning. The Himalayan Garden was the most eyecatching with many rhododendrons in flower. The House had some splendid State Rooms with valuable pictures, furniture and carpets. There was also a display of costumes from the recent ‘Victoria’ series. Unfortunately the kitchens and other service areas were not open as they were being used for filming.

Thursday was primarily about driving back to Pembrokeshire. However we did visit Shugborough near Stafford. Management of the estate was transferred from Stafford County Council to the National Trust last November and the Trust has a major task on its hands to bring it up to its normal standards of presentation. It would be interesting to go back a few years hence to see how the Trust has managed it..
We arrived back pretty well on schedule. The trip was deemed a great success by all of us. Andrew and Annie were congratulated for their effort and organization.

Report by Jim Price.

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Erddig NT

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Crown Hotel, Harrogate.
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Ripon Cathedral

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The Cellurium at Fountains Abbey

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Looking to the heavens at Fountains Abbey
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After the downpour, our guide Steve Sutcliffe tells the story of Harrogate, outside Betty’s.

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There were still some tulips in bloom at RHS Harlow Carr.
916A6697Harlow Carr stream copy800 This area of stream side planting, at Harlow Carr, is in memory of Geoffrey Smith.

Harewood House
916A6731Himalayan Garden at Harewood 1000 At Harewood House we headed for the Himalayan garden first thing…[/caption]

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…and strolled along the lakeside..
916A6759umbrellas on the terrace at Harewood 800 …before the afternoon rain.

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Inside the house at Harewood we saw some of the costumes used in the “Victoria’ TV series.

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Shugborough NT, on our journey home.

Summer evening walk at Marloes with Ranger Matt Thomson.

916A6530NT Ranger Matt Thomson with the PNTA near Marloes 900

On Tuesday 9th May 2017 about 20 members of PNTA gathered at the Marloes NT car park, on a glorious sunny evening, for a stroll that took us past Runwayskiln (poised for re-development), Marloes Mere, then on to the coast path by the ancient hill fort above Watery Bay.

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In the photo above the group looks across to Gateholm.

For a more detailed description please click on Jim Price’s report Walk 09 05 17 pdf

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