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Welsh: Solfach
Solva is located in Pembrokeshire
 Solva shown within Pembrokeshire
Population 1,420 (2001 census)
OS grid reference SM8024
Principal area Pembrokeshire
Ceremonial county Dyfed
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district SA62
Dialling code 01437
Police Dyfed-Powys
Fire Mid and West Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Preseli Pembrokeshire
Welsh Assembly Preseli Pembrokeshire
List of places

Coordinates: 51°52′28″N 5°11′20″W / 51.8744°N 5.1889°W / 51.8744; -5.1889

Solva (Welsh: Solfach) is a village and community in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK.


Solva lies on the north side of St Bride's Bay, in North Pembrokeshire in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.[1] It lies on a deep ravine at the mouth of the River Solva. In the ravine is Lower Solva, consisting of a long street ending at the small harbour. Most of the modern development has been in Upper Solva, on the cliff top to the west of the harbour.

History and amenities[edit]

Solva Harbour showing Lime Kilns

The rocks at the entrance to Solva Harbour made it one of the most sheltered anchorages between Fishguard and Milford Haven.[2] Solva became the main trading centre of St Bride's Bay in the medieval period, and was important for lime burning. Several lime kilns are preserved in the harbour area. In the 19th century, Solva had around 30 registered trading ships.[3] The fading coastal trade has been replaced by tourism, and the harbour is now a popular boating centre.

Solva Woollen Mill is the oldest continuously working woollen mill in Pembrokeshire. Tom Griffiths erected it in 1907, powered by a 10 foot, overshot water-wheel which was restored in 2007. Over the years, machinery was installed to undertake the complete process of converting fleeces into fabric. Today the mill mostly manufactures carpets and rugs. There is a tearoom and a shop, and visitors are able to see the looms at work.[4]

The village was the location for Wales' first butterfly farm, Solva Nectarium, which opened in 1979.[5] The spectacular local cliff coast is popular with walkers, and the classic cliff exposures of Cambrian rocks attract amateur and professional geologists.

Traditional events[edit]

Every year on Easter Monday Solva hosts a Duck Race for charity. The ducks are released into the River Solva near Middle Mill and float down stream to Solva harbour. The winner is the first to cross under the footbridge in lower Solva car park.[6]

Each summer, Solva hosts a Regatta which features rowing for adults and children.


Solva Harbour is a good example of a flooded valley known as a ria. Local rocks contain fossils from the Cambrian period[7] and the village gives its name to this rock sequence.

Notable people[edit]

  • The musician David Gray moved with his parents to Solva at the age of 8, and attended Solva Community School.[8][9] His parents ran the "Window on Wales" craft shop in the village.[10]
  • Ex-professional footballer Simon Davies, who played for Fulham and represented Wales, was brought up in Solva. His career started as a teenager at Solva AFC, and it was here that he was talent-spotted.[11][dead link]
  • Meic Stevens, the notable Welsh singer/songwriter, was born in Solva, and spent much of his early life here.[12] In 2002 he released a song and album called Ysbryd Solfa ("The Spirit of Solfa") which contained songs about his childhood in Solva during the 1940s and early 1950s.[13][14]

TV & Film[edit]

In June 2014 Solva was used for the filming of Dylan Thomas's Under Milkwood. [15]


  1. ^ Pembrokeshire Coast Path Retrieved 18 December 2011
  2. ^ Raggett, Jean; Raggett, P (2003). Solva — An Introduction to Village Life. Paul Raggett. p. 3. 
  3. ^ Raggett, Jean; Raggett, P (2003). Solva — An Introduction to Village Life. Paul Raggett. 
  4. ^ Solva Woollen Mill
  5. ^ Beauty is a Butterfly, County Echo, 25 September 1984, p.7
  6. ^ "Solva Duck Race". Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  7. ^ "Solva". Pembrokeshire Outdoors. Retrieved 2008-04-30. .
  8. ^ Pembrokeshire website - David Gray Revisits Solva
  9. ^ The Independent - David Gray profile
  10. ^ The Times On-Line - Local Knowledge : Pembrokeshire
  11. ^ BBC South west Wales - Profile
  12. ^ BBC - Meic Stevens biography
  13. ^ Na-nog website
  14. ^ BBC Radio Cymru
  15. ^ BBC News - Solva taken over for Under Milkwood filming

Images of Solva[edit]

External links[edit]