Posted by: Jerry Garrett | May 16, 2010

Dark, Oily History of “Robin Hood” Wales Filming Locations

Freshwater Beach near Angle, Wales (Courtesy

Director Ridley Scott’s movie “Robin Hood” is expected to provide a boost for tourism in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Much of the movie is filmed there, with particularly scenic locations around Angle, and Freshwater Beach. I wonder if moviegoers will recognize that this area of such profound natural beauty was not that long ago covered in muck. It has needed much of the last 14 years to recover from one of the worst oil spills in maritime history.

The wreck of the Sea Empress (BBC News Photo)

On February 15, 1996, the tanker Sea Empress ran aground off the coast of the then-pristine Cleddau Estuary, and proceeded over the next couple of weeks to hemorrhage some 73,000 gallons of North Sea crude oil from her ruptured single-layer hull.

Most of the area is a national park, and the damage to the area was extreme. It took many years to clean up, and cost more than $100 million.

The event also drove another nail in the coffin of the single-hull oil tanker (the ship was salvaged and is now in Chinese waters).

Salvaged tanker (BBC)

The Sea Empress disaster reminds us of the heavy toll that oil spills exact on the environment, wildlife, tourism industries, etc. Not to mention what a long, expensive process it is to clean up.

Fortunately, it also reminds us, and gives us hope, that through much hard work and dedication, a picturesque area such as this, much of it within the boundaries of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, can one day have its beauty restored.

Jerry Garrett

May 16, 2010

The price of an oil spill is calculated in more than dollars. (BBC)

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