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Solva
SolvaHarbor(Garethrees).jpg
Population 865 (2011 census)
OS grid reference SM802243
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HAVERFORDWEST
Postcode district SA62
Dialling code 01437
Police Dyfed-Powys
Fire Mid and West Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament
  • Preseli Pembrokeshire
Welsh Assembly
  • Preseli Pembrokeshire
List of places
UK
Wales
Pembrokeshire
51°52′26″N 5°11′38″W / 51.874°N 5.194°W / 51.874; -5.194Coordinates: 51°52′26″N 5°11′38″W / 51.874°N 5.194°W / 51.874; -5.194

Solva (Welsh: Solfach) is a village, community and electoral ward in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The village comprises principally Lower Solva and Upper Solva. The community also includes Middle Mill and Whitchurch.

Location

Solva lies on the north side of St Bride's Bay, in North Pembrokeshire in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. It lies on a deep valley at the mouth of the River Solva. In the valley is Lower Solva, consisting of a long street ending at the small harbour. Most of the modern development has been in Upper Solva, on the cliff top to the west of the harbour.

History

Solvach Bay and harbour in Brides Bay Pembroke Shire
Solvach Bay and harbour, 1748
Solva - Pembrokeshire
Solva c. 1830 by engraver Henry Gastineau
Solva Harbour 1
Solva Harbour showing Lime Kilns

The rocks at the entrance to Solva Harbour made it one of the most sheltered anchorages between Fishguard and Milford Haven; it was marked on a 1578 parish map of Pembrokeshire as Dolvath Haven. On a 1748 map it is named Solvach.

Solva became the main trading centre of St Bride's Bay in the medieval period, and was important for lime burning. A prominent row of lime kilns is preserved at the harbour edge. By the end of the 18th century Solva had begun to expand, and could accommodate vessels of 500 tons, or up to 1,000 in an emergency. Some 30 vessels were registered to the port at this time, though this number reduced during the 19th century. The fading coastal trade was replaced by tourism, and the harbour became a leisure boating centre.

In 1943 the RAF established an airfield, named RAF St Davids, but which now lies within Solva community. The area was the subject of an archaeological survey in 2000.

The village was the location for Wales's first butterfly farm, Solva Nectarium, which opened in 1979.

Geology

Solva Harbour is a good example of a ria — a flooded coastal valley or inlet. Local rocks contain fossils from the Cambrian period, and the village gives its name to the Solva Group, a rock sequence.

Governance

An electoral ward of the same name exists. This ward extends to Brawdy and in fact some of the community was transferred there. The total population of the ward at the 2011 census was 1,877.

Traditional events

Every year on Easter Monday Solva hosts a Duck Race for charity. The ducks are released into the River Solva near Middle Mill and float down stream to Solva harbour. The winner is the first to cross under the footbridge in lower Solva car park.

Each summer, Solva hosts a regatta which features rowing for adults and children.

Solva now hosts its own festival each year being held at the end of July or Beginning of August. The festival is called 'The Edge Festival Solva' with its profits going to community based projects

Amenities and attractions

The local cliff coast is popular with walkers, and the classic cliff exposures of Cambrian rocks attract amateur and professional geologists.

Solva Woollen Mill, located at the nearby village of Middle Mill, claims to be the oldest continuously working woollen mill in Pembrokeshire. Today the mill mostly manufactures carpets and rugs. There is a tearoom and a shop, and visitors are able to see the looms at work.

Listed structures

There are 37 listed structures in the community, including the church (of Whitchurch parish) of Saint Aidan.

TV and film

In June 2014 Solva was used as a location for the filming of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood.

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