Norman Walks: The Town Walls

Step 6 - The Town Walls

  • Location : Pembroke
  • Length : 2 miles
  • Parking : Next to Pembroke Castle
  • Picnics spots : There are benches and scenic views throughout the walk
  • Accessibility : Generally quite a flat gentle stroll with one relatively steep incline
  • Description of this walk : A circular walk around the town of Pembroke

Turn to the south, down the steep slope of New Way. This part of Pembroke is known as Orange Town. Much of this is 19th century but this was also the area where the town's tanneries, slaughter house and gas works were located. Several of these buildings still survive.

Walk east along the bottom of the slope. Here you will find several sections of the old town wall and one or two defensive towers. One of them has a 19th century gazebo built onto the top - incongruous but recently restored.

The town walls
The town walls

The town walls sit at the foot of the ridge and the advantages of this are obvious. Any attacking force would, first, have to scale these walls and then have to struggle up the steep slope to gain the level of the Main Street - all the while with defenders firing down on them.

The open land was known as The Commons, an area that flooded when the tide came in. The town was protected on three sides by water - yet another problem for any attacking forces.

Stories of early sieges come, in the main from the pen of Giraldus Cambrensis and should be taken with "a pinch of salt". In 1096, he says that the town and castle almost fell to the besieging Welsh. Only the desperate ruse of throwing four dead pigs across the wall and dropping a letter to say that the castle was plentifully supplied - saved the day. The Welsh lost heart and lifted the siege! It's a lovely story but hardly credible.


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