Saturday 14 January 2012: Netpool
Today being crisp and clear I went to Cardigan/Aberteifi, my favourite town in this area and reachable by a 35 minute bus ride up the coast. In past times it was a small but busy port on the Teifi estuary with ocean-going ships and coastal traders coming and going on the high tides. That all dwindled away when the age of sail came to an end and today only pleasure craft use the waterway.
Ship-building was also a major occupation that died during the second half of the 19th century. My photograph is of the part of the river, below the town, known as Netpool, where the boat yards were clustered and a very busy place until the end of the 19th century. Here (it's a bit slow to load) you can see one of the last ships to be built at Netpool, beached right beside the self-same cottages visible in my blip, in the 1890s, and here is the same place with the view upriver (click on the image to enlarge it.)
Redundant vessels were left to rot on the foreshore and there was one remaining hulk visible until a few years ago. A small book of memoirs by a local man born in Cardigan in the 1920s paints a vivid picture of Netpool in his childhood. Lying just outside the town it was a prime spot for anyone wanting a bit of seclusion in order to get up to no good: kids messing around in broken-down boats or throwing stones at floating animal carcases, lovers looking for a sheltered nookie-nook, men and women wishing to booze and snooze in peace or poachers aiming to snare rabbits in the bushes.
Now you can walk or squelch along the muddy shore and still find derelict craft, fishing tackle, rubbish and, if you're lucky, a trophy from Netpool's disreputable past. My only one today was the base of a beer bottle with a boar's head embossed upon it. I've discovered it to be from the Liverpool brewery T.B.Hall who had a licence to bottle Guiness but retained the use of their own trade mark emblem, a boar's head. It could be 100 years old.
In the distance on the opposite bank is the village of St Dogmael's/Llandudoch.