- The National Botanical Gardens of Wales
- Narberth Museum
- Vue Cinema
- Paxtons Tower
- Carmarthen Market
- The Castles at for example, Laugharne, Llansteffan, Pembroke, Carreg Cennan, Manorbier. Kidwelly, Carew or Drwslwyn all of which are within 10 – 40 minutes away!
- And of course the lambs will have begun to arrive!
February Half Term 2018
There are two half term options across Wales and England next February! Some schools break up on Friday 9th for a week and some have the following week beginning their half term on Friday 16th and returning to school on Monday 26th February! Here in Carmarthenshire I believe the children have the second week off.
If you would like to come and stay for the week we are charging just £325 for 7 nights or £200 for 4 nights. We do not put our prices up at all during this half term and all weeks from 26th January through to 23rd March are £325 inclusive. There is lots to do and traditionally Folly Farm opens albeit on a reduced basis. In 2018 it will be open every day from Saturday 10 February. Did you know there are over 750 animals at Folly Farm now! I doubt we will have snow at Old Oak Barn and if we do it won’t last!
So, What else is there to do during half term week? Apart from enjoying the woods here, having a camp fire, paddling in the sea or spending a whole day here on the farm playing some of the great choice of games available in the games cupboard?
Some ideas for you! These include our favourite places open all year round.
Visitors who stay at Old Oak Barn nearly always venture west to the beautiful county of Pembrokeshire with Tenby being a must! However, I always recommend a visit east as well and where better to end up than at The Plough Rhosmaen just a few minutes from the centre of Llandeilo. The Plough is perfect for afternoon tea or lunch or an evening meal after a day at Aberglasney,The National Botanic Gardens of Wales or Carreg Cennan Castle.
With views looking across the Towy Valley, Llandeilo is a thriving centre and where better to relax and unwind than somewhere overlooking this pretty part of Carmarthenshire – such as The Plough Rhosmaen.
A popular four star boutique hotel, The Plough is also an award winning restaurant set in the beautiful countryside just at the edge of the Brecon Beacons in the county of Carmarthenshire. It’s location is perfect and I am reliably told that when large events such as The Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in July and Brecon Jazz are on then the restaurant is bound to be busy with passing travellers calling in for food.
We ourselves have always found the service to be outstanding at The Plough Rhosmaen. In addition the quality and range of food is excellent. Vegetarians are especially well catered for. On a summer’s day we love to sit on the terrace and in winter the inside is perfectly cosy and warm.
The Plough Rhosmaen take conservation and their responsibilities towards the environment seriously and have recently been awarded a Green Dragon Level 2 Award. For example they say they monitor their carbon footprint closely, and like many first class pubs and restaurants in the county are especially keen to source from local suppliers wherever possible, keeping food miles low.
Phone 01558823431 to book a table or find out anymore information about this highly recommended restaurant. Afternoon teas are out of this world too …. but be warned … arrive hungry allowing plenty of time to relax and unwind!
St Crannog’s Statue – Llangrannog
St Crannog’s statue Llangrannog stands tall and proud over the small seaside village.
This lovely resort on the north coast of Ceredigion is less than an hour from Old Oak Barn.
A few years a go a huge bronze statue was carved and placed overlooking the small bay. It is impressive! It commemorates St Crannog and was created by the talented and well known sculptor Sebastien Boyesen, who lives in Llangrannog
It is said that Crannog was the grandson of Ceredig, a 5th century Prince of Ceredigion. He developed a religious community and settlement close to the present site of the small church in Llangranog. He travelled the Celtic world, establishing religious communities in Somerset, Cornwall, Brittany and Ireland. Another myth speaks of the rock on the beach which is clearly visible in the photo beneath as being a tooth which was spat out by Bica the giant when he suffered a bad toothache! He too lived in the Ceredigion area.
Bica’s tooth is visible again in this very old photo of local fisherman.
Llangrannog (sometimes spelt as Llangranog) is a small, coastal village and seaside resort in Ceredigion, Wales, 6 miles (10 km) southwest of New Quay. It lies in the narrow valley of the River Hawen, which falls as a waterfall near the middle of the village, and is on the Ceredigion Coast Path. It is very popular and the walks to and from Llangrannog are spectacular on the Coast Path. Parking is limited in the village itself but there is an efficient park and ride from the top of the village. The cafes and pubs in the village do a roaring trade and are open limited hours in the winter months.
Aberglasney Winter Fair 2017
One of Carmarthenshire‘s if not Wales’s biggest and most popular Christmas Fairs begins on Friday 1st December at 11 a.m – The Aberglasney Winter Fair 2017.
Don’t miss this wonderful annual event!
We love visiting Aberglasney all year round and this particular event has grown to be increasingly popular for locals and for those from further afield. Obviously there will be fewer flowers in the beautiful borders but there is still the chance of a breathtaking walk within the grounds.
At the moment we have space at Old Oak Barn for that weekend – please email for more details. Info@oldoakbarn.co.uk
Llandeilo Festival Senses in 2017
Llandeilo Festival of Senses is an annual free pre Christmas festival. Located some 20 miles from Old Oak Barn the other side of Carmarthen, the very popular festival encompasses the towns shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants as well as offering Craft and fashion stalls, food stalls, buskers, entertainment and more. Join the crowds in Llandeilo on the 17th – 19th of November, and get yourself in the Festive spirit!
There will be over 80 stalls this year with plenty of variety – many are located in the town centre – the map below gives an idea of what’s what!
Towy Valley Cycle Path
Who wouldn’t want to walk or cycle along the River Towy as in the picture below!
The views in this part of Wales are out of this world and it is no surprise that at last a proper walkway/cycle route is being developed in the Towy Valley. Plans are now well underway for the Carmarthenshire cycle route/footpath which will link Carmarthen with Llandeilo. It follows an almost adjacent route to that of the River Tywi also spelt Towy.
A fantastic aerial shoot has been released – click here
The 16 mile Towy Valley Cycle Path path will cost between £5 and £8 million, and a strong set of partners and stakeholders are being formed with funding in place from Welsh Government and the council. It will also give people a sustainable and healthy travel option, connecting with villages between the two main towns. It is anticipated that this will bring in thousands more visitors into the county and we think some of our visitors here at Old Oak Barn will want to enjoy the walk too. The project will inevitably create a number of jobs which will also be a boost to the local economy.
The path is being developed in phases. Initial works have already taken place between Fronun and Bwlch Bach, near the concrete works in Abergwili. Talks with landowners are ongoing, and various grant applications are still being prepared and submitted. The timeline for opening has not yet been released but lets hope it is not too far in the future!
Walkers Are Welcome took the photo above which shows Llandeilo looking west down the valley with Paxtons Tower in the distance.
Less than an hour away from Old Oak Barn is the prettiest beach on the north coast of Ceredigion that we know! It is most famous for being a good place to spot dolphins and when we went in September recently we took a long walk along the coast plus had a look inside the little church. This photo I took several years ago now off the Pembrokeshire Coast when we were lucky enough to see over a hundred dolphins in one single day! The best way to see them at Mwnt is to catch a boat ride from Newquay OR you may be lucky and spot them from the Coast Path.
The Chuch of the Holy Cross is hundreds of years old – is immaculately kept – and is usually open too.
Inside you can read about its history – The Church of the Holy Cross (Welsh: Eglwys y Grog) is an example of a medieval sailor’s chapel of ease. The site is said to have been used since the Age of the Saints, but the present building is probably 14th century. It has an example of a 12th or 13th century font made of Preseli stone. Mwnt was a civil parish in its own right for several centuries, but before the 17th century it was a detached chapelry of the parish of Llangoedmor. It is a Grade 1 listed building.
The beautiful beach but not the church is owned by the National Trust.
Welsh Film Locations
Over the years many films have been shot in Wales and there are several spectacular Welsh Film Locations near Old Oak Barn.
Perhaps one of the most famous has to be the Shell Cottage from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire. This wonderful beach became the backdrop of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 starring Daniel Radcliffe based on the book by J. K. Rowling. Those who have read the books will know the Weasley family needed a safe house. Great attention to detail was given to ensure it looked authentic and withstood the elements!
Check out this link to see some more locations used in Wales for both the Big Screen and for TV filming.
Matthew Rhys filmed The Edge of Love (2008) in several locations around West Wales, most notably New Quay. This pretty harbour town was the inspiration for Dylan Thomas’ classic Under Milk Wood, although the 1972 movie version, starring Richard Burton, was filmed down the coast at Lower Fishguard, as was the 1955 film Moby Dick.
Laugharne Welsh Film Location 2017
In November 2017 a new drama will be shown first on S4C and next year on BBC some of which was filmed on location in Laugharne – called Keeping Faith. It has an impressive line up including some of the cast of Broadchurch and tells the story of what happens when a husband goes missing. Wales online reports “The series intends to take the viewer on a thrilling, emotional and warm journey which will pull at the heart-strings but will also make them smile along the way.” Keep an eye out!
Joe Short Photographer
This year we have had some wonderful visitors who have enjoyed exploring not only this beautiful valley here at Old Oak Barn but also the local area. One family stands out because of the lovely photos he took while here. Joe Short Wedding Photographer from Bath is someone I think would come up with some extraordinary photos if you are planning your special day.
This photo was taken on the bottom track of our woods in early September when we had had an unusually wet spell and there were even a few puddles! The one below shows the Fairy House almost hidden among trees.
Joe has travelled the world for clients and I get the feeling he would go that extra mile to ensure you could plan together for some memorable and very unique pictures. He was very personable and always had a smile on his face. I think their 5 year old daughter adored our chickens – I don’t think I have met a child who was so focussed on them and it was a struggle to get her out of the run after collecting the eggs. She was completely fearless. We often check the sheep with visitors and if they want to get involved when we have to move them then of course all help is welcome!
Thank you to Joe Short Photographer for sending some photos for me to use in this short blog!
A few days ago the wonderful display of Cardiff Poppies was unveiled in Cardiff Bay and this is on view until 24 September.
Why not stop off enroute to Old Oak Barn or on the way back if travelling up the M4. I am hoping to see them myself soon.
There has been some great coverage in the press
A cascade comprising several thousand handmade red ceramic poppies, Poppies: Weeping Window was originally seen pouring from a high window to the ground below at the Tower of London as part of the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
image credit: Weeping Window at Y Senedd, the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Photo credit: Geoff Caddick/PA Wire