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image for Town item typeMilford Haven

Town

Milford Haven

Milford Haven

Milford Haven dock

Details

The word ‘blessed’ may not be the first adjective to spring to mind when thinking about this industrial port at the mouth of the River Cleddau, but who would argue with Shakespeare? The epithet given to Milford Haven in Cymbeline referred to the fishing port on the Pembrokeshire Coast that had been used as a staging point for journeys to Ireland for centuries, and although Milford Haven has suffered from the cycle of boom and bust that accompanies big business there are clear signs that the good times are returning.

In the last ten years the harbour has become a marina and a considerable amount of investment has regenerated the quayside. Visitors of all ages will find something to enjoy in the new Milford Haven, whether it is a day out at Pirate Pete’s with the kids, a play or a concert at the Torch Theatre, or even just a leisurely round of golf. Milford Haven has a railway station - the terminus of the line from Carmarthen and Whitland.

HISTORY & CULTURE
The town of Milford was founded in 1793, after Sir William Hamilton obtained an Act of Parliament in 1790 to establish the port at Milford, and takes its name from the natural harbour of Milford Haven, which was used for several hundred years as a staging point on sea journeys to Ireland and as a shelter by Vikings. It was used as the base for several military operations, such as Henry II's Invasion of Ireland in 1171, and Oliver Cromwell's 1649 invasion of Ireland while forces which have disembarked at the point include Jean II de Rieux's 1405 reinforcement of the Glyndwr Rising and Henry VII's 1485 landing at the waterway before marching on England. By the late 18th century the two local creeks were being used to load and unload goods, and surrounding settlements were established, including the medieval chapel and Summer Hill Farm, the only man-made structures on the future site of Milford.

Sir William Hamilton, the town's founder, persuaded the Navy Board's overseer to lease the site for the Navy Board and develop a dockyard for building warships. Seven royal vessels were eventually launched from the dockyard and the town was built on a grid pattern. In 1814 the Royal Dockyard was transferred to Pembroke Dock though a commercial dock was started in 1824 which became the home of a successful fishing industry. By 1849, the district of Hakin was described as a considerable centre of boat building.

In the late 1850s, work began on a network of forts on both sides of the Milford Haven estuary; they were designed with the intention of defending the UK against French invasion, although were never used for this purpose. Notable examples in the town were Fort Hubberstone in Gelliswick and Scoveston Fort to the north east of the town. In 1863, the railway network came to Milford, linking it to the Haverfordwest line and beyond. In 1866, work was completed on an additional extension which provided access to the docks and ship-breaking yard on the eastern side of the town.

By 1901, the town's population had reached over 5,000 and Milford had become the sixth largest fishing port in the UK by 1906; its population had doubled by 1931 to over 10,000. During the Second World War, Milford Haven was chosen as a base for allied American troops, and roughly 1,000 American military personnel were housed in the town at this time. They manned an amphibious base which included a hospital built in Hakin and a docks complex at Newton Noyes.

Children welcomeDisabled accessFacilities for hearing impaired

Contact

Tenby Tourist Information Centre

Address

Pembrokeshire,
SA73 3LS

Location

Directions

Plan route to Milford Haven using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: SM 900060  Lat: 51.71380 Long: -5.04038

A40 from Carmarthen to Haverfordwest, then A4076.

Accessible by Public Transport: 0 miles from Milford Haven station

Facilities

  • Children welcomeChildren welcome
  • Disabled accessDisabled access
  • Facilities for hearing impairedFacilities for hearing impaired