Neyland marina is located near the site of the old village of Neyland (or ‘Nayland’) which grew up here around 1700. Here was a salt refinery, a large herring fishery and a private shipyard which was especially active in the 1830s and run by the Scurlock family. The village had around 200 inhabitants served by a schoolroom, the Royal William Inn and the Shipwrights’ Arms.
In 1852 Parliament authorised the extension of the South Wales Railway (later taken over by the Great Western Railway) to Milford Haven. The recommendation that the line reach the haven at Neyland was made by the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who had surveyed the area. In 1845 the Admiralty had surveyed Dale (west of Milford Haven) as a potential port for Irish Sea mail ships.
During 1854-55 the original inhabitants of Neyland were bought out and their buildings demolished. The SWR opened on 15 April 1856, and Neyland developed as a Victorian railway boom town.
Brunel envisaged a major transatlantic port at Neyland, which was transformed by new technology including two lines of tracks, arrival and departure platforms, engine sheds and an hydraulic lift. In 1856 steam ferries began sailing to Waterford, followed by sailings to Cork. Holding the monopoly of transport between South Wales and Ireland bestowed on Neyland great prosperity and prestige. During these golden years the town was also known as New Milford.
In 1906 the Irish ferries transferred to the shorter sea crossing between Goodwick, near Fishguard, and Rosslare. In Neyland the GWR’s Marine factory, which repaired the company's ships, closed in 1907 with the loss of 200 skilled jobs. A successful fishing industry began in 1908, with a fish market and ice factory constructed at Barnlake Point, but was soon stifled by the First World War and the boats being taken for government service.
The railway closed in 1964 and the ferry to Pembroke Dock in 1975. The opening of the marina in the sheltered water of Westfield Pill in 1985 marked another change in Neyland’s fortunes, transforming the area from a post-railway wilderness into a marina with associated businesses. This provided a boost to local self confidence. Today the marina boasts 420 berths.
With thanks to Simon Hancock
Postcode: SA73 1PY