INSPIRING LOCATIONS, THRILLING ACTIVITIES AND RELAXING BREAKS
GET MORE FROM
LLANSTEFFAN ONE VILLAGE… NUMEROUS EXPERIENCES
• Ammanford, the Amman Valley & Black Mountain • Burry Port & Pembrey • Carmarthen • Kidwelly & the Gwendraeth Valley • Laugharne • Llanelli Waterside • Llandovery & the Western Brecon Beacons • Llandeilo & Towy Valley • Newcastle Emlyn & the Teifi Valley • Pendine • Whitland & St Clears
Ammanford, the Amman Valley & Black Mountain
BLACK MOUNTAIN WILL TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY The vast boulders strewn in the River Amman buffeting and white frothing the tumbling waters from their Brecon Beacons source are a legacy of the quarrying and mining that has gone before in the Amman Valley The towering and majestic hills all around so popular with walkers have long given up their industrial mineral extractions and much of the landscape has reverted in looks and feeling to the time of Arthurian legend.
egend has it that King Arthur and his knights hunted wild boar on the slopes of the Amman Valley that is why the Wild Boar is featured on historical trail boards and great metal sculptures about Ammanford. It is little surprise that out of this fabulous landscape was fashioned the acting skills of world famous thespian John Rhys-Davies who is best known to film audiences for his roles in the Indiana Jones films and Lord of the Rings. When you look or take to the hills you can imagine the films being shot
there. The Black Mountain that is part of this dramatic landscaped are regularly sought out by film makers and especially impact car series like Top Gear because of the sweeping ribbons of road on the A4069 that can test the skill of driving ability and road holding capability of untested new cars. Many of the top new cars launch advertising is shot in the hills. But it is not only machines this landscape and environment tests. Many sporting stars have been nurtured in the Amman Valley and the former world rugby player of the year Shane Williams of Wales and British Lions fame still lives there. Whether biking through the Beacons hang gliding with the Red Kites or on a gentle stroll or energetic hiking amid scattering rabbits, the views and experience of the Black Mountains and Amman Valley will take your breath away.
LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN WILD ON FABLE TRAIL This is a bracing and family friendly ride of 18miles along leafy lanes and startling history that starts at Pantyffynnon just up the road from the train station
he route is exceptionally well signposted and totally traffic free on a good tarmac trail, with frequent breathtaking views of the Afon Amman. There is ample opportunity to soak up the local history from the beautifully illustrated and documented many interpretation panels along the trail. Why not let your imagination run wild and catch up on the fabled Mabinogion stories that come to life on the interpretation panels too. The tales will have you looking over your shoulder for a wild boar or two on your scent.
NOW YOU SEE IT… NOW YOU DON’T
Coffee & Picnic • Fuel up on caffeine and cake and scale the heights Velvet House at the Arcade in Ammanford makes a coffee you will want to return for time and again. As you sit in the window and watch the busy world go by as you can relax enjoy a mouth-watering cake! For the perfect picnic buy a few pastries from Jenkins, or a carvery roll from Martin Jones butchers and saunter to the top of Betws mountain where you can and picnic and enjoy breathtaking views over the whole of Carmarthenshire. Take a walk to the Black Mountain summit, a short two mile stroll will give you great views over the whole of South Wales from the Bronze Age Cairns above Glanaman.
GLYNHIR GOLF CLUB Sink some putts and pints
t is a little known gem of a golf club that has a quaint club house that is a renovated barn that is reputedly one of the oldest of its kind in Wales. Once bitten by the course set in mature parkland and surrounded by fine countryside, beautiful views and the rivers Loughor and Gwyddfan, you will want to return and that is not just for the lovely food but to sink some beers after sinking some putts.
BRUSH STROKES FROM MOUNTAIN TOPS TO COAL MINE DEPTHS If you want to witness amazing works of arts with brush strokes ranging from mountain tops to the depths of deepest mines then the intimate Ty Cornel Gallery run by Anthony Richards is a must visit destination for man imagination exploding art attack.
orks at the gallery include those by the famous artist David Bellamy (not the nature guy) who creates amazing atmospheric watercolours of mountains while also recording quite emotion stirring and gritty paintings of coal mines. There are many and various artists original paintings, prints and even the odd sculpture and objet d’art!
There is nowhere else in the UK you will see a lake like the one in Carmel… and then again, you might not
armel Woods Nature Reserve is built round a great quarry near Llandybie and it boasts a turlough (seasonal lake). That is an oval shaped spread of water hundreds of yards long that is resplendent in autumn and winter and into the spring but yet disappears in summer. However making up for the disappointment if it has vanished when you visit is the experience of magnificent woodland and vast carpets of wild garlic which you will scent before you stumble upon them. www.discovercarmarthenshire.com
GET HOOKED ON BRYNCOCH
FRIENDLY LEISURE OPPORTUNITIES
Said to be Britain’s biggest pastime fishing can be no better than the experience at Bryncoch Fishing Farm because of its dramatic surroundings.
The friendly Amman Valley Leisure Centre is a great a stop off point for a swim or as a meeting place to join friends for a range of activities organised by qualified staff.
et against a backcloth of the Black Mountain within Brecon Beacons National Park at Llandyfan, Ammanford, the lake has been sensitively stocked with a range of fresh water fish including common and mirror carp, tench, roach and rudd over many years. Visiting day tickets are available and because of its popularity it is advisable to make sure you secure a landing stage by booking in www.southwalescamping.co.uk
here is free on site car parking at this middle of town venue that attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year. www.actifsirgar.co.uk
KEEPING A WELCOME IN THE HILLSIDE One of the principal towns of Carmarthenshire, Ammanford, was the heartland of mining in west Wales.
ith sensitive and considerable regeneration, substantial pedestriansation, new transport links – including a bus station and spacious and plentiful car parking, it is growing in popularity and is renowned for its traditional Welsh welcoming and friendly people.
Ammanford, the Amman Valley & Black Mountain
• There are a gastronomical number of reasons to go good food guzzling in these parts with endless opportunities. The Red Kite Pub, Cottage Pub, Mountain Gate and Red Lion all serve good local foods, or for a treat try Valens in Llandybie.
• Some of the county’s most stunning walks are locked in these hills and riverside valleys in the shadow of Beacons. Wildlife abounds from rare dippers to the ghosts of wild boar that once roamed here.
Burry Port & Pembrey
WRECK STREWN BEACH IS JAW DROPPING ATTRACTION The ancient wrecking beach of Cefn Sidan is still giving up its treasurers and puzzling historians They wonder at why so many of 180 known registered and another 380 guessed at brigs, brigandines and schooners that foundered on the golden banana curve of this eight-mile long beach over hundreds of years, can suddenly appear and disappear.
ome are buried in the dunes by the wind-blown constantly shifting sands. Some have been sucked into the sands at beach level or smashed to smithereens. Some lie under the forestry behind as the beach that has grown out seawards over 400 years on a huge peninsula of sand. Whatever it is that causes them to come and go makes for great beachcombing and great family days of fun. You can find anything on this beach from a coconut to a dolphin after any tide or even treasure from the cargoes of the wrecks. The vessels that perished carried cargoes ranging from juniper berries, indigo, copper and cochineal, rum and silver bullion bars to whale oil, seal skins, brandy, buffalo hides, cotton and coffee. Pembrey has a Bermuda Triangle type reputation with vessels bound from France ending up on its shores – the famous Le Jeune Emma wrecked there in 1828 was bound from Martinique to Le Havre carrying rum sugar and coffee. Thirteen lives were lost including Lt Col Coquelin and his daughter Adeline, niece to Josephine, consort of Napoleon Bonaparte. A memorial stone to her loss and burial site in the 1066 Norman towered St Illtyd’s Parish Church attracts tourists from round the world.
In another Bermuda styled mystery the first woman to fly the Atlantic Amelia Earhart landed her seaplane nearby and she thought she was in Ireland. There are scores more similar and equally riveting “Bermuda” style occurrences involving famous World War 11 aircraft around this glorious Peninsula that links in with Llanelli Millennium Coastal Park covering 11-miles of golden coastline that attracts more than a million visitors a year. Just round the coast from Cefn Sidan Burry Port Marina is a tranquil safe haven of clanging boats bobbing where people love to ramble about the nearby paths and dunes or park up and enjoy and ice cream or a crepe. But it is the beachcombing paradise that is Cefn Sidan that will keep whole families enthralled for days on end. If the beach gets too hot or too much there are stunning forestry walks and 500acres of one of Wales biggest and most popular outdoor visitor attractions, Pembrey Country Park right alongside. It has naturally among its trees grasslands and dunes the biggest naturally range of species of butterflies and moths or anywhere in the UK. You can forage for fungi or even startle a weasel in these woods. It is a magical place. Sitting alongside all this nature and wildlife the park also boasts Wales’s longest toboggan ride that has carried an astonishing 1.7-million riders; an artificial ski slope, restaurants, miniature railway, bicycle hire and pony trekking and a year-round events calendar featuring such wonders as sand sail championships, dog sled races, beach bicycle races and steam engine rallies. But it is the beach that is the star attraction. It is a jaw-droppingly extraordinary stretch of sea and sand that proudly boasts having flown the Blue Flag longer than any beach in Britain. It has 18.5-square miles of beach ranging from motorway hard that allows it to accommodate all kinds of sports, to fine flour sieved like sands that attracts holidaying families and swallowing them up by their thousands. It is impossible to overcrowd such a vast area because people just melt round a sandy disappearing horizon on the swirling convex shaped desert proportions of this beach. Cefn Sidan and surrounding parkland, because of its remoteness was commandeered by Ministry of Defence for munitions manufacture in years gone by and was first brought into significance more than 100 years ago when Nobel established a gunpowder factory there. The RAF developed their WW11 Spitfire fighter base at RAF Pembrey Sands and the 500-acre airfield now hosts Pembrey Circuit which has a packed motor racing calendar of events and a busy small private airfield.
• Watch the world fly by at Amelia’s Restaurant, Pembrey Airport. Sidan Cafe at Pembrey Country Park has a great selection of coffees, sweet treats and snacks. Burry Port is sizzling with fish and chip opportunity and a great restaurant at the Cornish Arms.
HI HO SILVER (SANDS OF CEFN SIDAN)
Walking • The coastal path that runs along the seam of land meeting sea is a timeless frothy, sandy joy summer or winter. Hit the St. Illtyd’s Walk from Pembrey Country Park and head for the hill. Roman soldiers once watched over their fleet from a hilltop fort from this panoramic viewpoint.
Coffee & Picnic • Hi Di Hi Happy Campers Pembrey Country Park reputation for camping and caravanning is mushrooming as more discover Carmarthenshire’s best kept secret. The parkland, forestry and miles of golden sands afford visitors day long opportunities in this get away from it all land of tranquil opportunity with nothing other than the sound of surf pounding miles of silken sands. There are designated picnic and barbecue sites with cafe’s on site and beach kiosks.
BOTANIST’S GLORY COMES FROM FAR FLUNG PLACES Take a stroll around the harbour in Burry Port, its picturesque and a great place to admire the assembled boats and pleasure craft… where would you go if you owned one?
erhaps venture further towards Pembrey on the MCP where you’ll see numerous orchids and the old silted up Pembrey Harbour. Many of the wild flowers growing at the harbour side are a progeny of seeds cast ashore in ballast emptied from ships over many centuries when this was a thriving coal exporting coastline. Botanists have been astonished at the range of flowers and plants discovered that have adapted to their Carmarthenshire environment since being accidently imported from foreign climes.
Take to the saddle to trek the forest and Cefn Sidan Beach when visiting Pembrey Country Park
HOTEL’S HISTORIC PIONEERING AVIATION LINKS AND GIANT’S FOOTPRINT The Ashburnham Hotel is where Amelia Earhart –the first woman to fly the Atlantic – stayed after landing in the Burry Estuary and being towed in her flying boat the Friendship to Burry Port Harbour.
he Hotel has sweeping views to the sea and overlooks one of Wales’ oldest golf courses, the Ashburnham, a championship links course. The conservatory is the place for coffee and perhaps treat yourself for a few cakes before talking a stroll along the embankment that runs through the
car park North to ancient coal mines and South to the quaint and scenic Pembrey Old Harbour. This was once the Industrial Revolution’s hub in south west Wales with one of the oldest canal systems in the world running close by created by Thomas Kymer. Just North of the embankment up the Cwm there is the legendary Giant’s Footprint on a way marked footpath that tracks across the main Pembrey Mountain Road. The footprint in a horizontal lump of granite was the last step on this side of the Burry Estuary – the matching opposite footprint is on Gower.
THROW IN A TRIP TO THE POTTER’S WHEEL The heart of Pembrey village is formed around St Illtyd’s Parish Church that dates back to 1066
he village square in set the shadow of the magnificent Norman towered church’s shadow. It is a welcoming micro community of pubs, properties, church tea rooms, guest house and a Pembrey Pottery business where there is a chance to see a master craftsman at work. The pottery By Graham Newing is popular with locals and visitors and is exhibited through the UK and across continents. The chance to see Graham at work on pots, art pieces in stonework or ceramics and all thrown on a potter’s wheel is a special treat not to be missed. www.pembreypottery.co.uk
he resident stables within the Park has opportunities for riders of all abilities with even introductory sessions for complete novices. Riders of experience have the chance to gallop the surf of Cefn Sidan a truly memorable, lifetime bookmarking experience.
PEMBREY Pembrey has glorious views of Carmarthen Bay from the mountain side
t is a fabulous viewpoint to see the delights of Carmarthenshire’s coast with wide sweeping views of Burry Port, the quaint harbours and the majestic Cefn Sidan beach. From the hill of Pembrey Ski, on clear days you can sweep from the mouth of the Loughor Estuary to Gower’s Worms Head, distant Lundy Isle and round to Caldey.
Burry Port & Pembrey
A RIVERSIDE WALK – CORACLES AND SAIL SHIPS Head for the river from Carmarthen’s town centre and with the wave of Merlin’s magical wand you step into Merlin’s Walk yet another shopping centre watched over by an 11-foot statue of the Wizard himself.
h i s centre and its s i d e streets is a kaleidoscope of natural wonders created out of 18th Century houses that tumble down to Carmarthen Quay created by the Romans and until a century ago berthed ocean going sail ships. River Towy is famous for its salmon and sea trout sewin and on its upper reaches fishermen still use coracles to catch them.
TARGET A ‘TURKEY’ AT XCEL Trot along to a bright new attraction of Carmarthen’s Xcel Bowling Centre and claim your ‘turkey’ – that’s tenpin talk for three strikes in a row.
here’s 12 lanes, free car parking, a soft play area for toddlers and a licensed bar and restaurant with a surprisingly good menu. www.xcelbowl.co.uk
IT’S A TOUCH OF MERLIN’S MAGIC Merlin conjured up a magical place of intrigue and pleasure when he created Carmarthen The oldest town in Wales has evolved around its sturdy Roman defences with a rich blend of modernity woven into its mystical and gladiatorial heritage.
ust strides away from the Roman ramparts sitting majestically over the serene River Towy, coursing like a silver ribbon down arguable one of Wales’s most beautiful valleys, is the ultra modern St Catherine’s Walk. It boasts all the top shops and retailers behind glitzy glass emporiums
and yet round every corner you can slip down historic streets sprinkled with the dust of days of yesteryear to stumble on retro and chintzy bijou shopping opportunities selling everything from cheeses to fashions and fine wines. Nearby, Carmarthen market has been restyled and relocated to jigsaw old with new and it is a fabulous opportunity to shop for anything from the famous Carmarthen Ham – a favourite of HRH Prince Charles – to laver bread and cockles. There is even an old jailhouse dating back to the 1530’s that has been
turned into a museum at Castle House nestling within the outer walls of the imposing County Hall that dominates southern and eastern approaches to the town. You can pop in its cells and sense and the screaming solitude and anguish. Don’t let the door clag shut unless you have the keys. Documented stories of prisoners and the reasons for their arrest will make you laugh and cry, especially for those whose fate was to be extradited to the land of Oz or more inhumanely, the hangman’s noose from the gallows on the Castle walls.
Walking • Take a stroll by the river, there’s a path that will take you as far as Johnstown. See if you can spot ducks, swans and perhaps even an otter?
GO NUTS AT THIS MARKET
Coffee & Picnic
No you’re not going nuts - with apologies to Beatrix Potter’s Nutkins fans – you really can add squirrel to shopping list at the game stall near Carmarthen’s Indoor Market.
• There are many pit stop opportunities for coffee and cake breaks meandering about Carmarthen’s ancient streets. There are even secret hideaways on castle walls and on the riverside walks where you can picnic.
here is wild boar and speciality venison too. If you are out to impress! Inside the market there is the more traditional Carmarthen Ham that carries the Royal seal of approval being a well publicised particular favourite of HRH Prince Charles.
GET CLUED-UP & LOCKED-UP AT CARMARTHEN TIC Carmarthen TIC serving Carmarthen and the county is housed in atmospheric Castle House, and it is a tourist attraction in its own right.
ou can get clued up and locked up here! The building was a jail dating back to 1532 and the cells are still there and a great picture opportunity. The TIC has a library of information about the surrounding countryside and attractions in the County, and offer a free information service, with expert advice on how to make the most of your visit or accommodation requirements in the area. The TIC has a selection of quality Welsh gifts and local crafts, along with reference
books, guides books, maps and much more in its Gift shop. Opening Times Monday – Saturday, 9.30am – 4.30pm. Castle House, Carmarthen Castle, Castle Hill, Carmarthen SA31 1AD. Parking available at weekends or nearest weekday parking at St Peter’s Car Park, SA31 1LN. Castle House is also the starting point for free Town Tours which take place during the summer months on most Wednesdays, depending on weather conditions. For further information or Group Bookings call 01267 235199.
WHEN IN CARMARTHEN DO AS THE ROMANS DID Play where the Romans did and marvel at the gladiator combat site in an amphitheatre considered to the furthest west in the great Roman dynasty.
t is one of only seven sur viving e xamples in the UK and a l t h o u g h Carmarthen was principal Roman fortress town this site represents the only above ground Roman remains in Carmarthen. The amphitheatre in Carmarthen is found on Priory Street. (From St Peters car park continue out of town for around 300m and the amphitheatre is on your left. Entrance is near a large slate plaque stating 'Carmarthen Amphitheatre'). The 'Cavea' or seating area is 46m x 27m and is quite large when considering the size of the town it served. The reconstructed arena wall can be seen delineating the seating area from the arena itself and would originally have had wooden seating benches for the public. The amphitheatre would have been used for roman games,
including gladiatorial contests, beast hunts and public executions, to military and civic parades and religious holidays and events. The amphitheatre would have been used by the roman inhabitants of the town itself, but also by the local native ‘Demetae’ tribe. Roman artefacts from various excavations in Carmarthen can be found in the Carmarthenshire County Museum at Abergwili.
AND EAT WHAT THE ROMANS ATE... The Queen and Prince Charles are fans of Carmarthen Ham. Its secret recipe has been handed down through so many generations of Albert Rees and his forefathers the family legend has it that the Romans when in town nicked the recipe and whisked it back to Italy and hence Parma Ham evolved. From Rick Stein’s restaurant to Royal garden parties the delicacy is frequently served. But it is available to everyone at the family’s flagship store at Carmarthen Market (Monday to Friday) and it is even available mail order on email@example.com
GWILI RAILWAY – ALL ABOARD A PUFFING PARADISE Here’s an attraction that will appeal to all members of the family and for steam buffs, it’s a puffing paradise and just a short drive from Carmarthen Town.
t is chance to climb aboard a 1960’s steam train hauling a variety of coaches including a dining coach and enjoy Orient Express style white napkins and waiter dining service as you tuck into your Sunday roast leaving a plume of feathery steam billowing through a heavenly steep sided river valley. Through the year the Gwili Railway Society organise a truck full of treats appealing to all ages with trips ranging jazzy Chattanooga Choo Choo excursions, train driver excursions and children specials including Thomas the Tank engine days.
WHEELIE SURPRISING PARK ATTRACTION Just a short walk from Carmarthen’s shopping centre is a delight park with an unusual attraction, a Velodrome. So if you have your bicycle in tow it is one of those rare chances to cycle an oval dished track. Carmarthen’s has been recently refurbished. There a skateboarding and children’s play area set in spacious grounds and a tea room to take the edge of any exertions.
• Con Passionata, Blasus Deli, and Waverley Cafe for vegetarians.
Kidwelly and the Gwendraeth Valley
Blood was spilled on the lower valley plains as the many well recorded battles over centuries raged in the shadow of the splendour of Kidwelly Castle’s walls.
he castle dominates the lower valley and is remarkably well preserved. It attracts visitors in profusion every year. From its arrow slit towers, ramparts and dark dungeons you get a sense of what it must have been like to be under siege. The gatehouse still has its murder holes and portcullis slit from which were poured boiling oils or rocks hurled to rebel its invaders. Riverside walks will take you southwards to the sea via an ancient quay that was served by the world’s oldest recorded industrial canal system created by Thomas Kymer. The canals brought coal from Pembrey and Llanelli and walks will take you in the other direction passed an industrial museum that coal fuelled - the site of the UK’s second oldest recorded tinplate works. Nearby the Ffos Las racecourse was the first newly created horse racing experience in the UK for 70 years and is enjoying a heavy calendar of events throughout the year because of its mild climate and forgiving course. It attracts masses to its race and special event days that see huge f a m i l y entertainment opportunities. While Princess Gwenllian is said to haunt lands near Kidwelly Castle, further up the valley at Llyn Llech Owain is a 63-acre park that has an equally fascinating history. It has spectacular lakeside walks and a well worn legend about Owain Lawgoch – Owain of the Red Hand. He led an army of French mercenaries against the English in the Hundred Year’s War. At the head of the valley, Mynydd Sylen stands testimony to yet another landmark of history with the famous Rebecca Rioting against toll road charges. The whole valley has suffered conflict from the medieval times. Kidwelly is one of the oldest communities in Wales and flourished when, to consolidate the Norman hold on the district, the Flemish, French and English migrated to the area. Belying this bloody past the valley is now a tranquil milk and honey basket of agriculture oozing refreshment and fine dining opportunities as you waft the bird filled skies where once arrows flew.
MILK & HONEY FLOW MEDIEVAL BATTLEGRO Forks of the River Gwendraeth flow by the sport of kings at Ffos Las Racecourse to the home of Welsh Princes at Kidwelly Castle
KIDWELLY QUAY UNLOCKS RICHES OF GOLD AND FEATHERED FRIENDS The Romans were the first to discover the landing stage that is now known as Kidwelly Quay
t was from where they shipped Dolcothi mined gold to Rome. There followed years of Industrial Revolution ship landings there served by the Kymer’s Canal that wends through to the Quay from Pembrey. Slowly the silts of the infamous Burry Estuary strangled the deep- water throat of the Gwendraeth Fach and Fawr. There are heart stopping estuarine walks through an ornithological wonderland. The area has vast riches of a feathered kind. It is the most diverse bird species populated area in the whole of the county. Breeding passerines in the thickets close to the canal include Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Cetti’s Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler. In autumn or winter, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret, Peregrine, Barn Owl, Pintail, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper Common Sandpiper, Greenshank., Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Snipe, Curlew, Kingfisher Redwing, Fieldfare. Shelduck numbers increase towards the end of winter and some stay to breed. Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Goldcrest around the sewage works. Kingfisher and Water Rail on the canal. Scarce and rare birds spotted there include Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and Lesser Yellowlegs. In winter, Hen Harrier hunt over the saltmarsh and Marsh Harrier, Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Little Owl, Firecrest, Black Redstart have been recorded. Sewin run the gauntlet of Ospreys there and the glorious fish eagle has even been seen feeding there in snowy conditions.
DUSTY TRIPS DOWN LOST INDUSTRY TRAIL Kidwelly’s Industrial Museum is a great day out for a trip down the dusty corridors of time to see how the workplace for many has changed so dramatically over the centuries.
here is ample parking and something of interest for the entire family from steam locos to relics of tin plate and early days steelmaking. It reflects an age too when newspapers were hammered out on massive presses and prepared on Linotype machines (complex lead font producing typewriters) that are the size of a garage. All staggering to see are marvel at. www.kidwellyindustrialmuseum.co.uk
BLACK ‘HOLE’ IS NOW A WHOLE LOT OF FUN
Walking • Miners Trail walk, Swiss Valley Reservoirs, Swiss Valley to Cross Hands Cycle route, Tumble Mynydd Mawr Woodland Park
SWING LOW SWEET GOLF CART Glyn Abbey Golf Course offers the whole family an opportunity to sample or play golf over tremendous 200-acres of rolling countryside with fairways cast like a green duvet blanketing the landscape.
he championship course is suited to all levels of playing ability and ideally suited for non golfing visitors who want to chance their arm on the “Mission” course, a nine-hole beginners’ course. www.glynabbey.co.uk
• From the top of Pembrey Mountain Road there is a glorious panoramic view of Kidwelly and the Valley from a well set out picnic area. Farm shops offer coffee stops and Cross Hands at the top of the Valley’s reach has a multitude of refreshmenty opportunities.
Why would you want to visit an area that was once described as “the biggest hole in Europe?”
ell, now it has been transformed to “Whole lot of fun area” attracting race goers from around Europe. When the comment was made is disparaging terms Ffos Las was a massive black scarred area ravaged by open cast mining. It has been transformed to a racecourse nestling in the valley between attracting top flight races, trainers and horses to a year round season or entertaining family fun days. www.ffoslasracecourse.co.uk
PARK BOASTS OWAIN THE RED HAND AND LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD TRAILS Breathtakingly set in an 158-acre expanse of woods and lakeland near Cross Hands Llyn Llech Owain Country Park has nature trails, an adventure area and visitor centre.
t the heart of this stunning spectacle is a dramatic lake surrounded by peat bog and that’s carressed with a myth associated with Llyn Lech Owain. The story goes that Owain Lawgoch (“Owain of the Red Hand” - who led an army of French mercenaries against the English in the Hundred Years’ War), was entrusted to look after a well on the mountain named Mynydd Mawr. Each day, after extracting enough water for himself and his horse, Owain was always careful to replace the stone but on one occasion he forgot and a torrent of water poured down the side of the mountain. The lake that formed was named Llyn Lech Owain – the lake of Owain’s slab. There are specially constructed paths allowing for safe access over the bog and around the lake. The paths are well-surfaced and accessible to wheelchair-users. A fairytale forest track provides a Little Red Riding Hood longer walk or you can cycle ride around the country park. There’s a rough mountain bike trail for the more adventurous cyclist. Much of the park consists of coniferous woodland, planted by the Forestry Commission during the 1960s and there are also areas of dry heath and broad-leaved woodland. Signposted on the A476 from Cross Hands to Llandeilo. Regular bus services to Gorslas.
WS IN OUND
Coffee & Picnic
HEROIC PRINCESS The castle holds an important place in Welsh history as the target of Princess Gwenllian’s ill-fated attack in the 12th century.
ear the gatehouse is a memorial to Gwenllian, the warrior princess. At a time when succession to the English throne was being hotly disputed, Welshmen saw their chance to regain some of their lost lands from the Norman invaders. Gruffydd ap Rhys, Prince of Deheubarth, went north to seek help in this struggle from the family of his wife, Gwenllian. During her husband’s absence, Gwenllian took the initiative against a new Norman threat. She led a courageous attack against Kidwelly Castle, but was not successful and one of her sons was killed in the battle. Norman revenge was swift and brutal. Gwenllian was beheaded for treason. Legend has it that a spring flows from the spot where she died at Maes Gwenllian (Gwenllian’s Field).
9 Kidwelly and the Gwendraeth Valley
• Bringing home the bacon. Get stuffed in the nicest possible way with a farmer’s sized carvery at the Cwmcerrig, Cross Hands. They don’t only bring the bacon home here but just about everything else you can see from the restaurant in the surrounding fields.
LAUGH AWAY WRITER’S BOB & DYLAN BLOCK AT LAUGHARNE Laugharne is the Jerusalem of poets and writer’s – thanks to Dylan Thomas
If it is inspiration you are looking for Laugharne is the cat’s (Captain Cat’s) whiskers Apologies to the genius of Dylan Thomas but anyone with a poetic soul cannot fail to be inspired by the black boat bobbing shore’s of Laugharne overlooked by the world famous boathouse where so many of the great man’s creations were inspired and penned.
ylan lived in the Boathouse with his family for four years before his untimely death in 1953 in what was his golden period of literary creations. And this wooden structure is renowned around the world for it literary and romantic association with the great poet. The Laugharne township that wins global attraction is a higgledy piggledy array of properties nestling in a crook of mountainside that tumbles to the sea. Get your wandering walking boots on because there is so much to see,
wonder and ponder on with the great man’s words from masterpieces like Under Milk Wood fresh in the mind. Dylan drank at Brown’s Hotel which attracts you like a moth to see the light and scan for the characters that come to life in so many of his works. The locals tirelessly enthuse at their icon of the literary world celebrating in style his posthumous 100th year. Just a short and emotional walk above the village is the graveyard of St Martin’s Church where Dylan and his wife Caitlin are buried.
n the way pilgrims are inspired spiritually to walk where Jesus walked, writers have a penchant to write where Dylan wrote – or at least achieve the inspiration the great poet and writer breathed in from the salty, crusty cradle of Carmarthen Bay that is Laugharne Spiritual folk down millennia have had a great yearning to walk where Jesus walked once in their lifetime. Now in much the same way poets and writers have the same longing to experience the Dylan Thomas Birthday Walk to sharpen their writing mindset. Just walk this way to unlock your writer’s block. Many make the pilgrimage on one of their mid-life crisis birthdays before too many candles burn a path to life’s oblivion to savour and experience the ‘beguiling island of a town’ that so inspired Dylan. On his 30th birthday on the 27th October, 1944, Dylan wrote ‘Poem in October.’ It’s all about his birthday walk
Walking • Try Dylan Thomas Birthday Walk, do it on your birthday and you’ll even get a free pint in Browns!
Coffee & Picnic • Browns Hotel, recently refurbished, vintage chic interior, and its where Dylan Thomas hung out, he even used to give the hotels phone number as his own! They do great coffee, and you can sit in Dylan’s spot near the window to enjoy it!
S’ BIRTHDAY WALK while striding out to the shoulder of Sir John’s hill. The poem is quite simply about his love of Laugharne and getting older. He waxes lyrically about the call of birds in the hedgerows, the clanging of boats against harbour walls, the slumping sounds estuary waters and whistling trees. The heavens and the uncertainties of age and the future were all on his mind. In just 2.2 miles (3.2 kilometers) he wended his way uphill to absorb the sweeping views of the estuary, the precarious perch of the hillside boathouse – his inspirational home. Higher still can be viewed the looming monstrous Worm’s Head from darkened waters with sun dappled glimpses of north Devon beyond and round to the biblical bauble that is Caldey bumping out of the sea in front of the tumbledown cliffs of Tenby properties. The views are spectacular, like the “brown as owls” Laugharne Castle. It is easy to understand how this kaleidescopical and giddy green landscape can inspire and move you write creatively or become as motivationally lively as the larks on the wing about walk’s headland.
LAUGHARNE CORPORATION Through this charter, later ratified by Edward I, Laugharne Corporation was founded.
t is an almost unique institution and is the last surviving medieval corporation in the United Kingdom. To this day, the Corporation is presided over by the Portreeve, wearing a traditional chain of gold cockle shells, the Aldermen and a body of Burgesses. It still holds a half-yearly court-leet to deal with criminal cases and a fortnightly court-baron to deal with civil suits within the lordship. Their Town Hall, which once contained a jail, is a fine building. Laugharne’s open field system is one of only two still in use in Britain today. The Medieval field pattern of strips can be seen on Hugden hill, strips which are owned by the individual burgesses of Laugharne for life. On Whit Monday, every three years, the bounds of the common land are beaten, with locals and visitors trekking some 25 miles around the boundary of Corporation lands. At significant historical points along the route a person is selected to name the place. If they cannot answer, they are ceremonially hoisted upside down and ‘beaten’ three times on the rear!
THE TIN SHED EXPERIENCE Most visitors won’t have memories of the 1940s – it will be history, but a fascinating period, not least because of the Second World War.
he Tin Shed Experience is a quaint and quirky 1940s museum set up by two enthusiasts in the garage built by one of the owners’ father in 1933. The storytelling is imaginative and often humorous.
• The Cors is a great place to eat, a wonderful sculpture garden, interesting interiors and good food too.
…‘Out ‘n’ About’ in Carmarthenshire…
…‘OUT ‘N’ ABOUT’ IN
Key 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62
Aberglasney Gardens Amman Valley Riverside Walk Brechfa Forest & Mountain Biking / Walking Burry Port Harbour & Beach Carmarthen Castle Carmarthenshire County Museum Carmel Nature Reserve Carn Goch Hill Fort Carreg Cennen Castle Cefn Sidan Sands, Pembrey Cwm Cerrig Farm Shop Coastal Path Crychan Forest Dinefwr Park and Castle Dolaucothi Roman Goldmines (N.T.) Dryslwyn Castle Dylan Thomas Boathouse Ferryside Beach Ffos Las Racecourse Ffwrnes Theatre Gwenffrwd-Dinas RSPB Reserve Gwili Railway Hywel Dda Centre, Whitland Kidwelly Castle Kidwelly Industrial Museum Laugharne Castle Llanelly House Llandovery Castle Llandysul Paddlers WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre Llansteffan Beach Llansteffan Castle Llyn Llech Owain Country Park Llyn y Fan Fach Marros Riding Centre Merlin’s Hill Centre Millennium Coastal Park Motor Sports Centre Museum of Speed Mynydd Mawr Woodland Park National Botanic Garden of Wales National Coracle Centre National Wool Museum Newcastle Emlyn Castle Norwood Gardens Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery Parc Howard Art Gallery & Museum Parc Y Scarlets Rugby Ground Paxtons Tower (N.T.) Pembrey Country Park Pendine Beach Play King – Childrens Indoor Soft Adventure Play Centre Quad Challenge, Ammanford Red Kite Feeding Centre, Llanddeusant St. Catherine’s Walk Shopping Centre Stradey Castle Talley Abbey The Gate Craft Centre, St. Clears Trostre / Pemberton Park Retails Shopping centre West Wales Museum of Childhood Xcel Bowling Centre Ynys Dawela Nature Park
Not far from Carmarthenshire we also have... 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73
Aberdulais Falls Arthur’s Stone Folly Farm Gower Heritage Centre Oakwood LC2 (leisure centre) Mumbles Pier Neath Canal Oystermouth Castle Manor Park Country House Heatherton Family Leisure Park
…‘Out ‘n’ About’ in Carmarthenshire…
The sleeping giant that is Llanelli erupted from its tranquillity to become the world’s mightiest tin producer and undeniably prosperous. From green hills and fields and flood plains and a simple small village, Llanelli grew to a 72-tower chimney stacked grimy industrial enclave spewing clouds of grime over a century. But blue skies have returned.
hrough the melting pot of the industrial revolution starting with ship building coalmining then tinplate and steelmaking the town has now reverted to a green space fringed by the seas of Carmarthen Bay and is growing in popularity as a leisure destination. Like a magician’s trick of pulling the tablecloth, there has been a tremendous transformation in the last few decades. All the heavy industries that scarfed, scarred and buried the magnificent coast have been cast to history or tossed to inland modern industrial parks. There has been a tremendous regeneration programme with a wealth of new office and work space created, a proliferation of bars, restaurants, shops and promises of more hotels and a massive demand for exclusive and affordable homes. Just minutes away from the town centre that has its own parks and sparkling water features is the award winning Millennium Coastal park where a walk or a cycle can make life truly worth living. Those who visit have their breath taken away by the glorious sea views across Carmarthen Bay to Gower and Caldey, incredible sunsets back-clothed by a town that has an historic treasure box of nuggets of history to tell.
LLANELLI CHANG PLACES & FACES Once bitten by the bug of Llanelli you will be forever smitten by a town embellished with so many hidden gems. A colony of monks was the first to find Llanelli creating a monastery and a bank on its coastal flood plain still known as Machynys or Monk’s Island
MANSION WITH A GHOST AND A LOT OF SPIRIT There is a 24-acre park in the middle of urban Llanelli that you could drive by without seeing.
MODERNISING TOWN RETAINS OLD CHARMS Just as the coast has changed Llanelli’s town has been regenerated handsomely to keep pace the modern era and generating a spiral of growth.
he town is built on a plethora of communities that are the catalyst for the emerging invigorated Llanelli. It has a constantly modernising town centre with a new Odeon multiplex cinema and a state of the art theatre, Ffwrnes that has a fast changing feast of entertainment and a range of restaurants catering for every taste around every corner. There are office spaces emerging about the regeneration laying the way for a wave of employment opportunities. Mingling with all the top shops and retail outlets is a modern library, historic landmark Edwardian property in Llanelly House all linked by canopied streets, footpaths and cycleways around upgraded properties. Glass pyramids in the roofing give a light airy feel to St Elli’s Shopping centre built right at the heart of the town and sitting alongside its 64-stall popular indoor market.
ou would be missing out on a treat. Parc Howard Mansion is a historic place with a well documented ghost and a small museum that often plays host to local artists for exhibitions of their work. It’s grounds are a delightful splash of varied and seasonal flower beds and there is a collection of specimen trees offering shade in the grounds that roll over a hill giving up bowling greens and children’’ playgrounds and Druid’s stones. Build by the Buckley brewing dynasty the house was taken over by the Stepney family who gifted the treasure to the council of the day in 1920 and it has been maintained by various authorities to this day. Easy to find on the road to Felinfoel it can be difficult to park but is just a brisk 10 minute walk from the town centre unless you want to chance finding street parking nearby. The reward of the Parc Howard experience is worth the effort.
Walking • Take a short walk around the lake at Sandy Water Park, it’s a great walk with plenty of birdlife and great views over the estuary and along the MCP.
Coffee & Picnic • In Llanelli you are spoiled for choice for great coffee, It’s a close run thing between the balcony at the clubhouse at Machynys Peninsular Golf Club, or the balcony at Flanagans at the Discovery Centre, both have great views, both have great coffee, perhaps visit both!
DR WHO’S TARDIS LANDED AT THIS CASTLE On a wooded hillside as you leave Llanelli travelling west is the stately mid-Victorian mansion of Stradey Castle where Dr Who’s tardis has landed. The castle is the family seat of the Mansel Lewis’s that has been lovingly restored and is favoured by film location seekers like Dr Who. The home has occasional open days that are well worth looking out for and special charity raising tea parties in a stunning location. www.stradeycastle.com
» PIMMS AND ARIAS, SOSPAN FACH HAS IT ALL Around the world Llanelli is known for its legendary rugby team, Llanelli Scarlets.
t screams great players down more than 100 years – Albert Jenkins to Phil Bennett and George North. The Club has gone posh – not quite swapping Pimms for pints – with a new home Parc-y-Scarlets replacing the grand old renowned if cobwebby Stradey Park. The upgrade was necessary to match Scarlets swashbuckling European brand of rugby and stay at the forefront of the game. The new stadium is worth a visit to sense not only the great aura around about it, but also experience history in abundance with the history at the club that now calls it home. Llanelli is also a town with so much more sporting traditions from bowls to biking and horse riding to wind surfing. It has a leisure centre that is packed with sporting opportunity with world class sporting facilities, accessible and super healthy outdoor pursuits and opportunities.
15 Llanelli Waterside
• The new Sosban restaurant is a must for foodies, you’ll find it next to the North Dock in Llanelli. Its uber cool, and the food is great too.
FROM ‘HEATHROW’ TO THE MABINOGION LEGEND P
Within Llanelli’s coastal parks there are many hidden gems to be explored by cycle, foot or car. At the eastern end of the Millennium Coastal Park is the National Wetland Centre that is the Heathrow for more than 600 species of birds that fly in from around the globe.
rofessional bird watchers to family groups are enthralled by the vast variety of birds you can see from pink Caribbean Flamingos or chance upon, like Great Bustards. There are ducks and swans in profusion and variety of event days from glorious mud frolics to dawn chorus walks with a home cooked breakfast afterwards in the centre’s restaurant that is to die for. Llanelli’s North Dock has a magnificent promenade with viewing platforms and foot and cycle paths linking it to parkland in all directions. There are spacious car parks too so this an ideal place to embark on park exploration. At its heart is the Discovery Centre, the heartbeat of the park with a visitors’
centre and Flanagan’s Restaurant that has a viewing balcony with the best views of Carmarthen Bay. There is an ice cream kiosk and indoor ice cream parlour there with more than 50 flavours of ices in a range of chocolate and sugar treats decorated cornets and wafers. Travel to the end of the prom and climb over two of the biggest land bridges anywhere that exist in the park over main railway lines and stumble on Sandy Water Park over looked by Mabinogion Woods. In the woods are carved statues that tell the Maginogion story on a mound that was created out of the spoil of the demolished former Duport Steelworks. The magnificent below the woods is on the site of the works itself.
Wander west along the coastal path and you will be dizzy with the magnificent coastal views that have been described as among the breathtaking best around the UK coast. Stop of at Burry Port Woodlands and you will find fishing ponds and a towering spiral land sculpture built like a conch shell out of sand and soil that kids will scramble along in dizzy circles up its spiralling path. From the summit you can see west to Caldey, South to Lundy and east to Loughor Castle over Carmarthen Bay that fill twice daily on swirling tides. There are trails and picnic havens and a stunning secluded sandy beach. This is a little paradise waiting to be discovered.
Play King sits neatly at Dafen just off the M4 on the spur round into Llanelli where children up the age of 12 can play themselves dizzy. It is a seven-day carnival of amusements with a soft play area, ball pools amusements and cafe where adults can chill as their young charges thrill. www.theplayking.com
RAMP IT UP â€“ SLITHER & SLIDE Ramps skate park is not what you would expect to find on the outskirts of town but it is attracting attention from skateboarders near and far for its convenience and varied ramps experience. It has a 70-seater cafe where all the exponents of the slip sliding art can exchange tips, share skills and the park shop stocks all the latest apparel. www.rampskatpark.co.uk
LET THE YOUNGSTERS RUN THEMSELVES RAGGED
Llandovery and the Beacons
• The Castle Hotel has great food, try their amazing Scotch Eggs!
GET MINTED FOLLOWING IN ROMAN FOOTSTEPS
Walking • Walk to Llyn Y Fan Fach or follow the waymarked Cilycwm Waterfall Walk, giving you fantastic glimpses of the waterfall through the trees. See http://www.forestry.gov.uk /website/ourwoods.nsf/LUWeb DocsByKey/WalesCarmarthens hireNoForestCwmRhaeadrCwmR haeadrCarParkWaterfallWalk.
Coffee & Picnic • For coffee you have to see the expert barista at the Penygawse Tearoom, perfect coffee, great surroundings and tasty cake, perfection!
The Roman’s can claim to be the first tourists to this part of the world. They were minted when they found gold in the hills of Dolaucothi.
A SPLASHING EXPERIENCE Sauna’s, Jacuzzi and fully qualified staff running the modern Llandovery swimming pool have made a family destination for those wanting to enjoy a splashing, relaxing experience.
ou have a chance to do the same because the goldmine is now a National Trust attraction and offers the chance for you to pan for gold. The shaded and secluded Cothi Valley that nestles this gold reserve is a complete contrast to the backbone of Wales, the towering Brecon Beacons. Dolaucothi is designated both as a
geological and biological site of Special Scientific Interest because of it diversity of wildlife and habitats. It has a precious collection of mosses and lichens, liverwort and fern species that are quite rare and are protected by law.
eeling more energetic, then be sure to ask staff for their programme of activities which includes aqua aerobics. www.actifsirgar.co.uk
Llandovery and the Beacons
The meaning of the Welsh name, Llanymddyfri, is ‘church or settlement among the waters’. Look at a map and you’ll see why. The Tywi is a river of some strength by the time it reaches Llandovery, where there was a ford even in Roman times.
he other rivers are Bran (to the north) and Gwydderig to the east, not forgetting two streams, the Dyfri and the Bawddwr (lit. dirty water) which was an open sewer at one time! This was and still is a market town. Note the architecture of the craft centre with its octagonal tower – it was originally the meat market. The golden age of Llandovery must have been in the eighteenth century when the drovers brought sheep and cattle here on their way to huge livestock markets in Hereford, the Midlands and Smithfield market in London. Note the drover statue outside the Tourist Information Centre. Famous people of the town include Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan who was slain for his support of Welsh leader Owain Glyndwr ˆ – the steel sculpture testifies to the drama; Welsh hymnist William Williams Pantycelyn lived
nearby and is buried in Llanfair-ar-y-bryn churchyard; Vicar Pritchard’s infamous encounter with a goat made him change his ways. The Tourist Information Centre has his story. The castle was built by the Normans from local sandstone. Rhys ap Gruffydd seized it in 1158 and rebuilt it. Over the next two hundred years it saw much fighting between Welsh princes as well as with the English crown. Now only fragments of two towers and some walling remain. Other buildings of note include the Tourist Information Centre off the car park, full of informative displays, and the King’s Head building, a traditional coaching inn which was where the Bank of the Black Ox was first set up by drover David Jones. There are two churches, Llandingat built where there may once have been an early Celtic church. Llanfair church is on the site of a Roman camp, so Roman bricks are used in its structure. Note too a fine stained glass window by John Petts.
GO SIGHT A KITE Look to the hills all around and you will almost certainly catch a glorious sighting of a great acrobat of the sky, the Red Kite. The story of the recovery this magnificent bird that was so close to extinction is quite extraordinary.
ust before the millennium there were fewer than 30 breeding pairs of the kites that have a distinctive red hue and spectacularly fanned forked tail. There are now estimated to be more that 5OO breeding pairs and they have spiralled across the skies to colonise territory extending to Llanelli’s coast
and beyond. It is a magnificent story of man’s intervention paying great dividends for the cause of nature and there is a chance for you to experience the breathtaking sight of these masters of soaring space at the Red Kite feeding station in the quaint village of Llanddeusant. From the security of a specially built hide you can see the birds compete for food naturally provided by the feeding centre several times through the year.
Llandeilo and the Towy Valley
PAST v PRESENT CASTLE CLASHES WITH GLASSHOUSE
• Both the Angel and the Cawdor Hotel have great chefs, they are experts at serving locally sourced ingredients in imaginative ways.
Walking • There are plenty of walks to keep you amused at Dinefwr Park. Follow the waymarked, Castle walk, or try one of the other walks, there are plenty to choose from and there are leaflets available from the visitor reception at Dinefwr. There are walks of differing lengths to go with your mood.
Coffee & Picnic
• For a great cup of coffee visit Cafe Braz or opposite there is Barita, whichever you choose, don’t forget that must have piece of homemade cake! Great picnic sites are everywhere in Llandeilo, try Dinefwr Park, nearby the castle is spectacular! For a more challenging picnic site try hiking to the top of Garn Goch, an Iron Age hillfort near Bethlehem.
Llandeilo and the surrounding Towy Valley have the most iconic structures, ancient and modern, in the whole of Wales. The heart stopping beauty of Carreg Cennen Castle perched precariously and almost inexplicably on a steep cliff compares insanely with an equally breathtaking yet modern structure lower down the beautiful valley – the world’s largest single span greenhouse that is home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Insane, because it seems ridiculous to mention both iconic and different manmade structures so improbably in one sentence.
arreg Cennen Castle dates back to the 12th Century. If it is spotted when driving by for the first time there is an irresistible urge to pay it a visit. From its ramparts there are astonishing panoramic views; a spookily vaulted passageway and a nerve jangling, ghostly, underground cave. You can only marvel at the engineering ingenuity of Carreg Cennen’s Castle builders and the bravely of its assailants. They would have faced
Herculean body sapping efforts to strain up the steep hillsides or tackle the steep cliffs supporting its formidable walls. From one extreme to the other and the fragile looking masterly engineered glasshouse at the National Botanic Garden has over 8,000 plants decorating 560 acres of countryside. The Gardens have a comprehensive programme of activities and plantings change throughout the season with occasionally rare flowerings of exotic plants that attract attention from around the world. Close by are the Aberglasney Gardens that have been the inspiration to poets and artists for nearly 550-years and in the last century, photographers too. It has been described without favour as the finest garden in Wales, so deserving of its heritage garden of excellence label. In addition the surrounding countryside offers the enchanting Dinefwr Castle; the Welsh Princes battlements of Dryslwyn Castle that is steeped in the Welsh history of betrayal and blood and the well preserved National Nature Reserve and Castle at Dinefwr Park and Castle. In juxtaposition with all this splendour there is the folly of Paxton’s Tower commanding exceptional views over an extraordinarily beautiful valley.
TRADING ROUTE CROSS ROADS Llandeilo is a modern trading route with a stagecoach past that is reflected in its great diversity of retail opportunity. From fine wools and linens to Heavenly ice cream and sweets; fashion experts there are a veritable treasure trove of unusual gift opportunities from the shops that tumble through the town.
Walking • Try the Circular Walk around the castle, it’s easy going, and gives you some great views of the castle and river.
Coffee & Picnic • The Teifi Valley has lots to enjoy on a break in one of Wales’ most scenic areas. Picnic opportunities abound alongside the river coursing from mountain source to sea. From exploring castles and viewing arts & crafts, to outdoor activities.
CAMP OUT CHEROKEE STYLE AND WATCH SALMON LEAP
The babbling River Teifi Valley offers visitors a range of experiences ranging from camping out Cherokee style to watching salmon leap.
BRUSH UP ON ARTISTIC ABILITY WITH HELEN
he communities that flank the River Teifi as it courses through rural Carmarthenshire are stepping reluctantly from a past steeped in food and textile production for the wider world. Visitors can revel in the heritage trail along the river experiencing anything from spinning and coracle boating to camping out under an international variety of home style canvass canopies. The woollen industry was once one of Wales’s most important industries and it is no surprise the National Wool Museum is in the historic former Cambrian Mills at Drefach, Velindre. Its shirts, shawls, blankets, bedcovers stockings and socks have marched their way across the world. At a commercial mill at Merlin Teifi visitors can follow the wool making process from fleece to fabric on intricate machines and young ones enjoy attempts at carding, spinning and sewing. At Cenarth Falls the river not only served local mills but also attracted coracle fishermen. The famed waterfalls create a staging area for migrating salmon and sewin and in the right season they can be seen leaping their way through this swirling rocky stretch to their spawning grounds. The Cenarth National Coracle Museum has a collection of this deceivingly flimsy but remarkable resilient river craft.
Not often do you get the chance to see a remarkable artist at work.
« There’s cheese making and even an opportunity to get wild and trigger happy at the Cenarth Adventure Centre offering paintball range, laser combat, woodland archery and off road remote control buggie racing. The West Wales Museum of Childhood draws oohs and aahs from children attracted to vast collection of Teddy Bears and as many sighs of delight from dads and their sons at the exhausting array of Dinky car toys that will drive memories down dusty roads of time. The biggest town straddling the River Teifi is Newcastle Emlyn where a 13th Century Castle with a twin-towered gatehouse dominates the river views. If outdoors and glamping is what attracts you then Larkhill Tipis offers an international experience living out in anything from an Iranian alachigh to a Mongolian ger and something that might be more familiar, a Native American tipi.
elen Elliot’s Art of Wales Tollgate Studio and Gallery in Newcastle Emlyn affords that opportunity as she allows you in to see her creating marvels in paint Wednesday to Saturday 11am – 6pm throughout the year. The studio gallery showcases new originals as they are finished and before the reach the galleries. www.helenelliot.net
Newcastle Emlyn and the Teifi Valley
• There are many excellent restaurants, cafés, pubs and inns throughout Teifi Valley offering food and drink in many styles for you to find the perfect feast.
SANDS OF SPEED & BLUE BIRD SEAS
• Springwell Inn – make famous home made chips and the best Sunday lunch with homemade yorkshire puddings.
Walking • Climb to the top of Gilman Point, climb the steps to the top for some great views along Pendine Beach and to Caldey Island.
Coffee & Picnic • Barnacles Cafe on the beach. The point cafe. Picnic site on the beach front.
Flying Mile World Land Speed Records Pendine Sands 1920s 25 Sept 1924 21 July 1925 27 April 1926 28 April 1926 4 February 1927
Campbell Campbell Parry Thomas Parry Thomas Campbell
Carmarthenshire has a relatively short golden coastline but arguably boasts the best beaches of all.
endine is a hard back motorway of a flat seven-miles of straight sands revered for the land speed record breaking exploits of both Malcolm Campbell in Blue Bird and JG Parry-Thomas in Babs. There’s a museum that captures this glorious history where Babs herself is displayed after having been lovingly restored. The western end of Pendine is flanked by a cliffed rugged coastline that has a footpath that is part of the all Wales Coastal Path studded with hill forts with spectacular vistas over Carmarthen Bay running for just over four miles to the cove of Amroth. The flora fauna and skies full of sea birds soften the rugged beauty and disguise the military evidence of this World War two training exercise ground.
146 mph 150 mph 168 mph 170 mph 174 mph
THINGS TO DO For the energetic visitor, Welsh Activity Holidays offers access to all kinds of outdoor pursuits including coasteering, mountain biking, nordic walking, canoeing, climbing, abseiling and even the chance to relaxafterwards with a pampering spa treatment.
orfa Bay Adventure at Pendine offers many similar activities, but also lists a mud assault course and a woodland scramble among its group challenges! Visitors can find out what is available and book ahead for family half-day adventure courses on line. And if galloping through the waves or trekking through leafy woodland appeals, then the Marros Riding Centre has all anyone can wish for. Youngsters are even offered the chance to own a pony for a day to learn about all aspects of horse care – and apparently all aspects means just that, “front and rear” – in what promises to be an unforgettable experience!
GET THE WOODLANDS ‘FEEL GOOD’ FACTOR Greeen Castle Woods is a haven of tranquillity that has three ancient woodlands set around a recently planted native woodland and meadows.
t is easy to get to and car parking is free. Way-marked trails through the woodland and flora and fauna rich landscape help you breath in the feel good factor and have reasons for living. www.discovercarmarthenshire.com
Whitland and St Clears
• Amser Te Tea Room or Roadhouse Restaurant in Whitland. Tollhouse Cafe in St Clears, Jabajak in Llanboidy and The Plash Inn, Llanfallteg.
Walking • Whitland has a walking group that step out regularly to explore this quaint market town. Join them by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coffee & Picnic • The Castle remains are a popular picnic site and there are many more along the banks of the River Taf. Coffee, cake and a warm welcome awaits at Lolfa Cynin just outside St Clears.
TURKEY TREATS AND A TRINKET TREASURE TROVE Yummy chocolates, gooey pots of honey, turkey pasties through to glass jewelled trinkets, pottery and knitted ties… That is the rainbow range of arts and crafts likely to shower opportunity on you as you explore this western gateway to the county.
he Gate Craft Centre at St Clears has been forged from a former mill offering a gallery to arts and craft technicians from around the county. It has a shop, meeting place, studio and hosts regular arts and craft exhibitions. Children can party there and paint their own pottery and even follow the process through to firing. Carrying on the arts and craft theme the Glyn Coch Craft Centre has a treasure chest of gift items made by small Welsh family firms and individual craftspeople. They even have a textile centre where they produce clothes that
are woven or knitted from their own rare breed sheep. There are china, pottery, soaps, prints, oils, watercolours fudge, dragoons of dragons in all materials and you can baa-barter for sheep’s mugs too. There is a woodland walk nearby with stunning views and an opportunity to get down and nosey with wildlife with 70 different birds, bats, reptiles and an opportunity to get down and dirty with amphibians too. As well as getting back to nature you can try your hand at brass rubbing or retro tune in on radios dating back to the 1940 at a museum on site that also has early year’s computers on show to illustrate how fast we are developing. St Clears is a town of those bygone yeas and many years before at the crossroads of 80-miles of the Wales Coastal Path that is contained in Carmarthenshire. The remnants of the town’s motte and bailey castle is a perfect starting point for challenging but enthralling walks to Llanstephan and Laugharne. The route follows the meandering River Taf but make sure you refresh yourself at one of the many cafe pub and beer garden opportunities at St Clear’s before striding forth.
WE’VE GOT IT LICKED! Cowpots Ice Cream is made on the farm with milk from a local herd of pedigree Jersey cows.
he cows graze clover rich pastures overlooking the Carmarthenshire countryside and produce really creamy milk, which is ideal for making luxury dairy ice cream. You can now visit Cowpots Ice Cream parlour at their farm near Whitland. The flavour currently causing a stir is the caramel honeycomb and the parlour is open Tuesdays – Sundays: 9:30am - 6pm.