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Guest blog, St Davids Peninsula

Getting to grips with our little St Davids Cottage

The story so far… #2

Since the first blog post we’ve made a lot of progress, writes Sarah Green, Curator and project manager.

Safety fencing installed alongside the footpath

Safety fencing installed alongside the footpath

At the end of June the planning application for ‘ Restoration for holiday let, demolition of roofless block work lean-to, addition of roof lights at rear, change of roofing materials on rear extension & outbuilding to corrugated’ was submitted and registered with Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.  Planning permission was granted yesterday (Application No NP/14/0346 for the curious), and we’ve also received Listed Building Consent for the scheme.

Meanwhile our Buildings consultant Martin Davies has issued the tender documents for the work, deadline 28th August, so we’re on track to appoint a contractor by the beginning of September.

Running in parallel with this we have appointed a Construction Design and Management coordinator and are arranging asbestos surveys and a search for local services with Dwr Cymru.

The cottage now looks more than a little forlorn behind its protective fencing but we have had visitors whose interest in, support and enthusiasm, for the project is reassuring. The Pembrokeshire National Trust Association and the Pembrokeshire Historic Buildings Trust both had visits (thanks to neighbour John Beer for letting us use his land to park some of the cars on).

It seems that the message is spreading in the local press and further afield that the National Trust is now the proud owner of the cottage. Jonathan Hughes, General Manager Pembrokeshire, was interviewed for an ITV Wales news item at the end of July.

The news about the cottage has spread as far as David Wilson whose excellent black and white photographic collection publication ‘Pembrokeshire’ has the cottage as a striking and evocative cover image.  We’ve received an enthusiastic email from David, recalling his encounters with Mr Griffiths and expressing his pleasure that the cottage is to be saved by the National Trust.

David Wilson also sent us some of his images of Mr Griffiths which we hope to be able to use in the future. There is a very characteristic one of him holding a large black and white cat.

As mentioned in the July blog post, the wallpaper samples sent to our wallpaper specialist Andrew Bush were received with much enthusiasm.  Here’s a preview of the approximately 40 wallpapers he has unpicked to date, not in order or to scale but showing the variety.

Wallpaper sample from the cottage
The earliest are possibly c1900 or a little later. The earliest ones are really only represented by small fragments. I am very happy that the two black plastic bin liners of wallpaper that I had been storing at the North Pembrokeshire office have now been sent to, and very happily received by Andrew Bush in the search for more of these early wallpapers.  I wonder which are still being made?  I am beginning to think about willow pattern plates for the holiday cottage…

Although the cottage sits alongside a public footpath, there’s no convenient parking nearby so unless you’re prepared to walk a few miles from St Davids or Whitesands, please follow the blog for further updates!  We welcome organised groups – just get in touch by email (northpembrokeshire@nationaltrust.org.uk) to arrange a visit.

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