The Royal Naval Armaments Depot, Trecwn was commenced in 1938 as a storage and distribution depot for naval mines and was reputably never located by the Luftwaffe during WW2. It subsequently handled all types of naval munitions and in its latter years some RAF missiles. Its use continued through the cold war until the early nineties when it was placed on a care and maintenance basis and in 1998 sold for £329,000 to Omega Pacific, an Anglo Irish consortium. The company intended to use the surface buildings as a jet engine maintenance facility and the underground caverns for the storage of low level nuclear waste. However due to local opposition this never happened and uses for the site are still being sought.
In June 2002 two parties from Omega Pacific were in court and the judge ordered that the site be sold within 10 weeks to the Hampton Trust, who had expressed an interest. There has however been no public announcement to date although the depot is expected to change hands before the end of 2003. There is still security and maintenance staff at the depot and the buildings and grounds are in good order.
The depot is located in a secluded valley approximately 3 miles south of Fishguard off the A40 trunk road. The site is entirely surrounded by a secure steel fence topped with barbed wire and runs up both sides of the valley, a distance of three miles. A private road 2 miles long brings you to the main gate with the usual guard facilities and a weighbridge. The first buildings are the staff facilities and canteen followed by many surface factory style buildings for the testing and handling of munitions. There is a large boiler house for the production of steam which is then piped on the surface to various buildings around the site.
About a mile into the site the narrow gauge railway facilities commence with maintenance sheds and a covered transfer building.
There are a total of 58 storage chambers, each extending into the hillside for 200 feet, arranged in a herringbone formation along both sides of the valley. Each one has alarmed steel doors with its own siding off the narrow gauge railway
RNAD Trecwn is a railway enthusiasts dream with both standard and narrow (2ft 6in) gauge lines. The depot has its own branch off the Fishguard to Carmarthen line and after a small platform area outside the depot for staff the line enters the site via lockable steel gates into the main marshalling yard where the line splits into 8 parallel loops. The standard gauge line then travels the entire length of the valley alongside the narrow gauge line which has points for the siding to each storage chamber.
The narrow gauge rolling stock consists of the well known ‘Trecwn’ wooden wagons with sliding roofs to enable mines to be lowered in and flatbed trucks for other munitions. Some of the stock can now be seen on the Welsh Highland and Llanfair light railways and there is still a substantial amount on site. Locomotives included small diesel shunters and battery units; some derelict examples of which are on the site. Points on both gauges are manually operated and well greased.
At Fishguard harbour the main line passed the ferry terminal and continued along the main breakwater for transfer of munitions to Royal Navy ships
Firefighting was a major priority at the depot and considerable effort has been made to ensure an adequate supply of water. Two reservoirs on the hill above Trecwn store the water, which is then piped to all areas including all of the storage chambers. Beside each major building there is a hydrant able to deliver a large volume of water quickly.
The depot employed some 400 staff, the actual number varying throughout its working life - many were absorbed from Pembroke Dock when this closed down. There are 3 housing estates in the vicinity, mostly still occupied, with the exception of the depot commandant’s house quaintly named ‘Ordnance House’!
The Western Daily Mail (25/10/2003) reports that The Manhattan Loft corporation, pioneers of loft living in the UK and regenerators of inner city London have taken over Trecwn in a joint venture with property developer Richard Harrington. The surface buildings will be let as industrial units and there are plans to have a sophisticated storage and distribution centre using the 59 underground storage tunnels. The new company is called ‘The Valley (Pembrokeshire) Ltd.
- Western Mail