Green Banks

Geese and cocklers' donkeys used to graze here until the 1960s, and in the 19th century there were donkey derbies; the victor saluted with Handel's, 'See The Conquering Hero Comes'.

It is hard to imagine today but until the latter half of the nineteenth century large boats would moor here. In fact there was a depth of water right across the present car park. As evidence we have the tragic story of John Griffith who, in October 1836 was '...drowned attempting to jump into his vessel from Mr Stackpooles wall (i.e. Island House garden wall) during a violent storm.'

Over the last 150 years the spit at Ginst has steadily grown across the mouth of the Taf so it has diverted silt round into Laugharne bay, building up levels of mud and contributing to the decline of Laugharne's port, although competition from the railway at St Clears and the increased size of iron-clad boats which were too large for Laugharne were other factors in that decline.

Most years dozens of cars park up as part of the annual Under Milk Wood Run for classic cars which journey to Laugharne from the Gower.

Dylan Thomas once said he wanted to be buried on the Green Banks and it's the location of the 'crystal harbour vale' in his poem, Over Sir John's Hill. But because it is an estuary and not a seaside town it hasn't had the tourist trade of nearby Pendine.

Indeed, a 1904 Tourist Guide said, 'There is one important drawback: there are no bathing machines. They would add to the attraction... in addition to their advantage from a moral point of view. However, several caves are used for this purpose.'

Laugharne stands on a stratum of red argillaceous sandstone which can be seen on the path to the Boathouse. This is part of a large group of rocks which were formed mainly in the late Silurian and Devonian age and were formed around 420 million years ago.

This era is known as The Age Of Fishes, as water-bound creatures starting walking on land. They were formed in a semi-arid desert environment which has given them their conspicuous red colouring through the intense weathering of iron-bearing minerals.

'A Sea Monster Captured in Laugharne' rang out as a headline in July 1892 - 'The fish as taken to the Market-place... most of the inhabitants availing themselves of the opportunity of having a good look at it. It's length was seven feet... and it certainly weighs considerably over half a ton.' The Sea Monster was a Sun Fish (below). One can understand why the people of Laugharne were 'greatly excited'.

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