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History and overview
Pembrey and Burry Port is a fast developing community situated on the coastal belt of the Carmarthenshire Burry Estuary, a protected haven retaining its natural beauty.
Today the harbour consists of an impressive marina catering for small leisure craft, with the town offering an excellent selection of restaurants, café’s and friendly pubs, fast food outlets, and a supermarket amongst other facilities to serve the third largest town in Carmarthenshire.
Burry Port and Pembrey lies on the Millennium Coastal Path and is very popular with ramblers, offering over 25 miles of walkways and bridleways and cyclists with the National Cycle Network.
The community has expanded hugely since it’s origins around 1850, when records show Burry Port emerging as a town, springing up around the new docks adjacent to Pembrey, with it’s established community and church. The current population of Pembrey and Burry Port communities exceeds 9,000.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, livelihoods and income was derived from farming and fishing. The Industrial Revolution brought the railways and collieries to the area, and these formed the cornerstone of the now thriving communities.
In 1832 a harbour was built at Burry Port, and a few years later the nearby harbour at Pembrey was opened. Fed by a series of chaotic canals and wagon-ways, it finally offered a way to ship Gwendraeth coal out by sea across the world.
The importance of the newly emerging town was plain when the Railways reached Burry Port, and the railway station serving both communities was built. This railway station is still serving the community today, on the mainline to London in 4 hours, and the west coast at Fishguard linking with Ireland.
Pembrey Burrows offered hazardous navigation and local tales of shipwrecks and wreckers abound. Pembrey Sands has proved the final resting place of many ships, some by mishap, others it is said lured to their doom deliberately to provide plunder for the wreckers known as ‘ Gwyr-y-Bwelli Bach’ or ‘The Men of Little Hatchets’. They were named after the locally made tool, a hatchet incorporating a claw for ripping open cargo and equally useful for dispatching unwanted witnesses to the wreckers activities.
Today the sands offer a beautiful beach with breathtaking views of the Gower. The award winning Cefn Sidan Beach and Pembrey Country Park are one of the top visitor attractions in Wales. Thankfully the Gwyr-y-Bwelli Bach are but a distant memory!