Ruins of salt house, Port Eynon, Gower

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On the promontory south of Port Eynon stands the ruin of a house where locally produced salt was stored. It’s the last surviving remnant of a salt house in Wales.

It’s thought that the building was erected in the mid-16th century. There’s a written record of it dating from 1598. Salt was a valuable commodity, and when the salt house was enlarged in the 17th century it was also fortified. Holes in the thick walls would have allowed defenders to fire guns at thieves.

Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust excavated the area in the 1980s and 1990s. Its experts concluded that salt was produced by trapping seawater in three large chambers on the beach below the salt house. Some of the chamber walls survive.

The trapped water was evaporated in large iron pans to leave salt, which was carried to the northern part of the salt house for drying. Salt production ended here in the 17th century but people continued to live in the main house until c.1880. The last people to live here were some of Port Eynon’s oyster fishers.

A sea wall was built in the 18th century in response to coastal erosion. A new wall was added in the late 20th century to protect the important historical ruin from the sea and sand.

With thanks to Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust

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