Tel: 01438 715050

The Last Invader

Saturday 9 June 2018

The very last invasion by foreign troops on to British soil took place as long ago as 1797 and the location was Fishguard, which just happens to be the farthest extent of the main line from London Paddington to West Wales.

This is a journey worth doing for its own sake, no less than 260 miles in all. We enter Wales by means of the Severn Tunnel and pass through the industrial landscape of Newport and Cardiff. Once through Swansea as we run along the coastline with truly inspirational views over Carmarthen Bay.

We take a left turn to avoid the station at Carmarthen and from here we wind our way through very sparsely populated countryside often compared to that of Cornwall. In due course we reach one of Great Britain’s famous ‘railway outposts’, the end of the line at Fishguard Harbour, alongside the ferry terminal and overlooking Fishguard Bay. Here we enjoy a break of around two hours.

On our way into Fishguard, and again on the way out, the train will stop briefly at the recently reopened Fishguard & Goodwick Station. The distance between the two stations is only half a mile, but the latter is more central for the town itself. You might choose to arrive at one, explore the town, then rejoin at the other, enjoying the coastal walk along the way.

Fishguard’s ancient Royal Oak public house was the site of the signing of surrender after the Battle of Fishguard in 1797, the last successful invasion of Britain, when a force of 1,400 French soldiers landed near Fishguard but surrendered two days later. The story is told in the Fishguard Tapestry created for the 200th anniversary to emulate the Bayeux Tapestry, and is displayed in the Town Hall Library.



Instead of travelling right through to Fishguard, you can leave the train at remote Ferryside station which recently featured in the TV series ‘Paul Merton’s Secret Stations’. Here coaches will be waiting for the short transfer to the Gwili Railway. This is a recently extended standard gauge preserved railway running from Abergwili Junction and terminating at picturesque Danycoed. It was part of a former GWR line linking Carmarthen with mid-Wales.
You can travel as you wish on the line, possibly breaking your journey at the line’s headquarters, Bronwydd Arms, or at Llwyfan Cerrig where some of the line’s rolling stock is on view.

All timings are provisional and intended only as a guide.

London Paddington07.1022.20
Slough (for M25)07.3521.55
Bristol Parkway09.4019.50