Why name the race Battle on the Beach?
Pembrey Country Park has a fascinating history, with relics of the former munitions factory still visible throughout.
For riders, the race will seem like a battle, against others, and themselves but the true history of the area and park goes much deeper. The area known as Pembrey Sands was a barren, unpopulated space, but still had good transport links and these made it the great location to construct the first munitions factory on the ground in 1882. The site has been through several phases, originally to support explosives required for mining and construction, and later to support both World War efforts and the Korean War. After multiple tragedies, and surviving a German aircraft bombing the site was handed to the local authority to become a country park. Wander through the park today, the ruins are still visible, with several forming parts of the course.
1882Powder Works OpensStowmarket Explosives Company open a Powder Works for the manufacture of explosives. The explosives used were mostly for use in mining and construction.
November 1882First major explosionWithin the first year, a major explosion took the lives of seven people.
1885Explosive production ceasedWork producing the explosives finishes, but the area continued to be used for storage and distribution.
November 1914New factory build beginsNobel’s Explosive Company begins production of a major factory for the production of explosives. Between 800 and 1000 men were employed for the construction work.
1915Major production beginsOver a short period the production of various explosives takes place, to include: TNT, cordite, ballistite as well as the filling of shells.
July 1917Second major explosionSix people were killed by a huge blast, and the verdict of the coroner was ‘’the deceased were accidentally killed by an explosion due to some unknown cause."
1926Factory site soldThe factory and site are sold for scrap, priced at £30,000.
December 1939New factory construction beginsRoyal Ordnance Factory opens, for the production of TNT.
July 1940Site bombedSeveral bombs are dropped by a German aircraft, killing two men.
1944Decommissioning beginsRoyal Ordnance Factory Pembrey used for decommissioning of munitions
1964ROF Pembrey ClosesAfter a brief increase during the Korean War, the site seizes production of explosives.
1980Pembrey Country Park opensThe site was taken over by the local authority in the 1970s, and in 1980 it formally became Pembrey Country Park, now owned and run by Carmarthenshire County Council.
March 2014Battle on the BeachIt may have seemed like madness to some, but the idea to create an off-road cycle race on the sand was an instant hit, and the event has sold out in every year.
Pembrey & Burry Port Heritage - An Explosive History of Pembrey
WWWMP.Wales - Pembrey Munitions Factory