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Storms uncover ancient forest

ancient forestA FOREST frequented by hunter gatherers up to 10,000 years ago has been uncovered during storms at Newgale in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Archaeologists from the National Park Authority have been working with colleagues from Pembrokeshire County Council to protect the remains of the forest as part of the clean-up operation.

Storms battered the Pembrokeshire Coast last week and Newgale was one of the most badly affected parts of the National Park.

The pebble bank sea defence was pushed back across the road, making it impassable, but when the stormy weather had died down, the forest remains were revealed on the beach.

The National Park Authority’s Culture and Heritage Manager Phil Bennett said: “We’ve known of the existence of this forest for many years but I, for one, have never seen it so close to the road.

“The storms and high seas have pushed the pebble bank back and scoured the sand, exposing the remains of this woodland. We have been able to identify some recognizable timbers from the Mesolithic period.

“Ten thousand years ago this woodland area would have been visited by hunter gatherer bands from time to time, looking for game and collecting edible plants, nuts and berries as these resources became available during the year.”

Pembrokeshire County Council officers have been working to clear away the debris after the storms and reopen the only road through Newgale.

National Park Archaeologist Pete Crane visited the site during the clean up to advise the council as they restored the pebble bank on top of the extremely fragile remains.

The Council are covering the most vulnerable parts of the submerged forests with pebbles to preserve them, as extended exposure to the sun will dry them out and they will be lost.

Phil added: “It’s really important that people are aware of how fragile these remains are and understand that unless we protect them they will be gone forever.”