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Coast, Guest blog, St Davids Peninsula

And we’re off – work begins at the St David’s cottage

The story so far… #3

We are delighted that Phil Yates building contractors have won the contract to carry out the restoration of the cottage , writes Sarah Green, Curator and project manager.

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All the documents were signed and witnessed appropriately in Buildings Supervisor Martin Davies’s van on 16th September.

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Before they could start on site, however, there was a large amount of vegetation to be cleared  ̶  hacking through a thicket of blackthorn which had grown up around the cottage totally preventing any access to the rear of the outbuildings and what was once the small garden behind the cottage.

Three days hard work by Pathfinders Countryside Ltd revealed views of the cottage not seen  for some time… and uncovered the remains of what appeared to be a chicken run as well as the small enclosures drawn on the late 19th-century OS maps – perhaps pigsties against the eastern boundary hedge bank?

The area had also been used as a convenient rubbish dump by past owners.

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The north elevation of the cottage showing the exterior of the dairy – this wall appears to be trench-built (as opposed to free-standing), i.e. it has been built from one side only directly against the earth of the hillside.  Ground level outside was just under the window sill.

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This is the rear elevation showing the trench dug for services. This showed that there was very little in the way of foundations and some underpinning has had to be done.

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At the back on the north elevation of the outshut an unexpected window opening, later blocked, has been exposed (on the right), and there may have been another, also blocked (on the left). These windows would have let light into the kitchen in the outshut.

Archaeological recording is continuing during the building works. The fabric of the building is becoming clearer as surface render, cement and a resin-based waterproof material are currently being removed from the all the exterior faces of the cottage.   The last cess pit to have been used was found to the east of the outbuildings and has been removed. Some of the pipe work needed for the new system has been installed outside the cottage.

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Among recent discoveries in the garden is an iron-shod clog, shaped for a right foot, seen here on a window sill.

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)  – we’ll announce the first open day date shortly.

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