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Earlier this week I was lucky enough to stumble upon, literally, a series of trenches that were dug during WW1.  These trenches still survive, although somewhat shallower than they once were, opposite Penally Camp near Tenby, South Wales.

At intervals around the coast of Wales systems of First World War (1914-18) practice trenches survive as grim reminders of the training given to fresh conscripts before their transport to the Western Front. The surviving earthworks at Penally show many standard characteristics clearly laid out in manuals and guidelines of the day. Trenches were built in parallel lines, usually three, linked by communications trenches. Two frontline trenches were supported by a third reserve one, although, as artillery power strengthened and increased in range, changes were made during the war to the standard layout. The saw-toothed plan prevented shell and bomb blasts travelling along the trench. This also made it impossible to see more than ten metres along a trench, maintaining the security of the system even if the enemy infiltrated one particular part. The Penally system measures 260m E-W by 100m and consists of two lines of firing trenches, linked and extended by communication trenches or saps, facing north and apparently based on an east-west running field boundary feature. In places the system has been dug through bedrock.

Source: Driver, T. 2007, Pembrokeshire: Historic Landscapes from the Air, RCAHMW, pages 260-1. RCAHMW, 06 November 2008.

photo1 deep

For an overview of the entire trench layout, click here

Paul McCormick
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5 Responses to WW1 Practice trenches at Penally, Tenby.

  1. […] continuing on over the cliff tops to Lydstep (passing some WW1 practice Trenches https://www.loyalregiment.com/ww1-practice-trenches-at-penally-tenby/ )    where we could not continue any further along the coastal path due to Military artillery […]

  2. Shaun Guy says:

    Are these accessible to the public?

  3. Belinda Charleton says:

    Hi my father was in Penally in WW II. My brother and I may want to visit but trying to find out if the site can be visited and if any building remain from 1944 and where I can find any pictures or info from that time. I know you are researching WWI but am hopefull you can help me. Thanks.

    • Belinda, yes the camp still exists and is pretty much in it’s original form. It is still an active camp so you won’t be able to get on, but you can see most of it from the road including the old accommodation huts etc. Hope this helps, Paul

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