Cookie Information: To help us make this website better, the cookie settings are set to 'allow all cookies'. If you continue without changing these settings, you consent to this - for more information and to change this at any time, see our privacy policy.   

Weather  |  Tide Tables


Home » Enjoying » Visitor Centres » Oriel y Parc » The Gallery » Exhibitions

Oriel y Parc Exhibitions


Reading the Rocks: The Remarkable Maps of William Smith

24 September 2016 - 26 March 2017

williams map

© National Museum of Wales

The Pembrokeshire Coast is renowned for its spectacular and varied geology, one of the reasons it was given National Park status in 1952. But how is it that we know what lies beneath our feet as we walk the coastal path?

At Oriel y Parc this autumn, discover the story of William Smith, the man who developed what is regarded as the first true geological map of any country. Smith transformed understanding of rock strata, and discovered that fossils could be used to identify rock sequences. His work had great practical application for locating coal and other raw materials, at a time when the industrial revolution was in full swing.

200 years after his monumental A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales, with part of Scotland, Smith’s beautifully hand-coloured maps are icons in the world of geology. Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum of Wales holds more original versions of these huge, spectacular maps than any other public institution in the world. Two different editions are fully displayed in this exhibition along with unique documents and smaller maps, all depicting the story of Smith’s life and work.

This exhibition was originally shown at National Museum Cardiff in 2015, as part of the William Smith Bicentennial celebrations. The Learning activities are funded with thanks to SRK Consulting.

To coincide with Reading the Rocks, Oriel y Parc will also be exhibiting The Colour of the Earth: Art and the Material Landscape**. In 2015, as part of a residency at the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, artist Rodney Harris recreated William Smith’s map of 1815 using geological pigments made from corresponding ground-up rock samples from each area of the UK. The resulting full-scale map is a unique and surprising overview of the true colours of the British landscape.

Harris’s map will be on display at Oriel y Parc, alongside work by four artists for whom the material or geological nature of the Pembrokeshire coast has been a starting point for their practice – Adam Buick, Brendan Stuart Burns, Mike Perry and Graham Sutherland. The works on show present a fresh perspective, inspired not by views but by the forms and textures of the physical surface of the landscape - the colour of the earth itself. 



Enchanted Landscapes: Pembrokeshire in myth and legend

8 April – 17 September 2017

Did you know that an ancient kingdom is said to lie off the north coast of Pembrokeshire? Or that a yew tree in Nevern churchyard appears to ‘bleed’? Described in the Mabinogi as gwlad hud a lledrith – ‘land of mystery and enchantment’, the ancient Pembrokeshire landscape has many extraordinary tales to tell. In this exhibition of artwork from Amgueddfa Cymru collections, discover some of these stories and learn how they reflect the coastal landscape today.

The Most bleeding yew

Copyright: Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales



 Partner Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales

 The gallery showcases artists' interpretations of landscape, taken from
Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales' collection of art and antiquities.

Oriel y Parc Gallery is a unique collaboration between Amgueddfa Cymru and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, in which services for visitors are joined by displays from the national collections to celebrate the landscape.

Admission is free and the building is fully accessible. For opening times and events please see the Oriel y Parc website.