Milford Haven, Wales, United Kingdom
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Since the Neolithic period, settlers have recognized that Milford Haven, in Pembrokeshire at the southwestern tip of Wales, is a special place. While its name refers to a fjord, the town actually lies in a so-called drowned valley—an estuary that's formed when the ocean floods a valley. With its fine natural setting, the deep port has served the area well for thousands of years; in the 12th century, Henry II’s Irish expedition set off from here with 400 warships, and Admiral Horatio Nelson praised the area and its harbor on a visit in 1802. Curiously, Nantucket Quakers were instrumental in further developing the town when they moved their whaling fleets to Milford Haven after the Revolutionary War. Today, at the very places that once buzzed with port activity, visitors relax in cafés and restaurants and watch pleasure boats pass by; perhaps they’ll spot some of the tiny ancient fishing vessels called Welsh coracles. The St Thomas à Becket Chapel has been a witness to much of the town’s history, while the 12th-century Pill Priory is now a garden with atmospheric stone ruins. To see traces of the region’s earliest origins, visit the Neolithic dolmens atop the cliffs of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.