Tenby

Ecotourism Resource

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Birthplace of citizen science.

Early Victorian guide books to Tenby emphasize that the town, its beaches and surrounding countryside would provide endless opportunities for stimulating your mental powers with wholesome educational pursuits. Rock pools, cliff-top flowers and grasses, shells, tideline seaweeds and contorted rock formations, provided the raw material for observation, collection and classification. These earnest guidebooks assured naturalists, botanists, geologists, zoologists and the curious layman, that at every turnTenby's natural delights were waiting to dazzle and amaze.

Much of this local activity was given greater focus and significance by the presense in Tenby of some of the country's leading biologists. All of this commendable behaviour was to be set within a context of long walks, preferably to sites of major historical interest within the neighbourhood, which would further feed the Victorian appetite for knowledge and self-improvement.

This is illustrated by the visit of Philip Henry Gosse in 1854. Taking the first opportunity to search the caverns of the island, Gosse soon confirmed that the Tenby seashore was indeed rich with all manner of marine specimens, in such quantity, as he had never met before. Enjoying their best health for over two years, the family actively searched the seashore in their usual manner, whilst Gosse studied and noted the characteristics of the specimens they discovered, continually making additions to the existing knowledge of seaside zoology. During this visit Gosse made firm friendships with Bishop of Oxford, Dr. Wilberforce, with whom he corresponded, keeping him up to date on his latest discoveries, and also zoologist Dr. F. D. Dyster, buying his microscope for £30, which Gosse used for the rest of his life.

Fredrick Daniel Dyster, M.D. F.L.S., was by then a prominent citizen of Tenby and well known to many visiting naturalists, which included Bowerbank, Huxley, and Darwin, who sought him out for his extensive knowledge of natural history. Dyster's speciality was in the seashore, with a particular interest in Annelidae; marine worms

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