Norman Walks: Wogan's Cavern

Step 2 - Wogan's Cavern

  • 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
Pembroke Castle
Pembroke Castle - an example of a motte and bailey castle structure that enabled the new Norman conquerors of England and Wales to secure areas of land quickly and cheaply.

The castle as we see it today dates from the years after the Earldom of Pembroke was created in 1138 when the first Earl, Gilbert de Clare, decided to extend and improve the fortress. Gilbert's son Richard Strongbow, the man who first conquered Ireland, continued the work.

Follow the flat and even path around the walls of the castle, keeping the fortress on your left. You are barely a few hundred yards from the town centre but the walk is quiet and rural. Bird song is all that you hear.

This must have been what Arnulph de Montgomery, son of Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, first experienced when he came here on a "commando raid" in 1093. Realising the defensive qualities of the area, he threw what the writer Giraldus Cambrensis later called "a slender fortress of stakes and turf" across the neck of the ridge and Pembroke's history had begun.

Wogan's Cavern
Wogan's Cavern is a natural cave thought to have been used as a boathouse by the Normans

Stop to view Wogan's Cavern, a natural limestone cavern. This was never a dungeon, just a natural cave that the Normans used as a storehouse and, possibly, a boathouse. A ditch used to run down to the river to allow access. The name Wogan is not attributable to any particular person but probably comes from the Welsh word "ogof", which means, simply, cave.


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