Plough Rhosmaen

By / 2nd December, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

Plough Rhosmaen

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.

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.

The Plough Rhosmaen

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

The Plough Rhosmaen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

By / 22nd November, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

St Crannog’s Statue – Llangrannog

St Crannog’s statue Llangrannog stands tall and proud over the small seaside village.

St Crannog's Statue

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.

 

St Crannog's statue

St Crannog's Statue

 

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.

St Crannog's Statue

Llandeilo Festival Senses

By / 3rd November, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

Festival of  Senses

Llandeilo Festival  Senses in 2017

Llandeilo Festival Senses

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!

Llandeilo Festival Senses
At the moment we have space for that middle weekend of November for anyone wanting to enjoy the Festival. The barn sleeps 4 quite comfortably and is very spacious inside.
If coming to stay in Carmarthenshire soon for this festival and you decide to stay with us we also recommend a visit to Aberglasney, The Gardens of Wales and Dynevor House all of which are within easy reach of Old Oak Barn.
We can also point you in the direction of some wonderful places to eat such as Wrights Food Emporium,
The Warren, Inn at The Sticks in Llanstefan and The Plough at Rhosmaen.

Towy Valley Cycle Path

By / 12th October, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

Towy Valley Cycle Path

Who wouldn’t want to walk or cycle along the River Towy as in the picture below!

Twoy Valley Cycle Path

Looking east towards Dryslwyn from Paxton’s Tower

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.

The path will link in with major tourist attractions through the stunning Tywi Valley countryside.  These popular tourist attractions include of course Aberglasney and Dinefwr

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!

Towy Valley Cycle Path

Walkers Are Welcome took the photo above which shows Llandeilo looking west down the valley with Paxtons Tower in the distance.

Mwnt

By / 1st October, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

Mwnt

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.

Mwnt

The Chuch of the Holy Cross is hundreds of years old – is immaculately kept – and is usually open too. Mwnt

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.

Joe Short Photographer

By / 11th September, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

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.

Joe Short Photographer

Joe Short Photographer

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 Short Photographer

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!Joe Short Photographer

 Thank you to Joe Short Photographer for sending some photos for me to use in this short blog!Joe Short PhotographerJoe Short Photographer

 

 

 

 

Cardiff Poppies

By / 18th August, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

Cardiff Poppies

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

Cardiff Poppies

image credit: Weeping Window at Y Senedd, the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Photo credit: Geoff Caddick/PA Wire

We have space during the first weekend of the month but are full then until 29th of September. Those who have already booked their stay with us in September will have time to plan a visit to see them if interested.

Trip Advisor Cert Excellence 2017

By / 4th August, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

Trip Advisor Cert Excellence 2017

Hooray! Old Oak Barn has been awarded the Trip Advisor Cert Excellence 2017.  Thank you very much to the many visitors who have reviewed their stay here in the last 12 months. The world wide travel site works in mysterious ways – and requires, I believe owners like myself, to receive increasing numbers of positive reviews every year to be awarded the certificate. This is the third year in a row we have been recognised. Chuffed to bits!

We are open all year round and while during the summer months visitors normally stay for a week or a fortnight out of the main season we are flexible in offering short breaks of long weekends. Please visit the availability calendar to see what spaces we have left this year. Half Terms tend to get booked up weeks in advance as we do not specifically raise our prices for that week.

Trip Advisor Cert Excellence 2017

 

A warm welcome awaits you – and we are on hand to answer any questions you may have during your stay! One of the special things we are now known for are the displays of fresh flowers from our garden we always put in the barn for visitors.

Trip Advisor Cert Excellence 2017 Trip Advisor Cert Excellence 2017

Trip Advisor Cert Excellence 2017

 

 

 

 

Summer Activities

By / 2nd August, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

Summer Activities

There is so much to do in this part of Wales! If you would like to know more about summer activities available there is lots of information on this website.  Explore the menu bar above for plenty of ideas and latest news.

National Trust 

have put together a great list of ideas mainly based in Pembrokeshire but some of these summer activities are very near Old Oak Barn.

Day out with the kids

is another good site to visit for ideas if you have children!

Carmarthen

county itself is packed with things to do in the summer and all year round and we are very lucky here at Old Oak Barn to have so many attractions on the doorstep. The library at the top of King Street in the town is putting on lots of fun activities for little ones especially!

If looking for some more energetic action head off down for some coasteering fun in Pembrokeshire or an exhilarating boat ride around Ramsey Island.

Summer Activities

Severn Toll Scrapped 2018

By / 21st July, 2017 / Uncategorized / No Comments

Severn Toll Scrapped 2018

Big news today – the Severn Toll is to be scrapped next year in 2018. It was never meant to last for more than 25 years after a deal was struck to build a second crossing in 1992. It has now been announced that promises are to be kept and charging will cease soon.

Read about it in today’s paper The Guardian

We think our visitors will approve! Old Oak Barn is always open all year round for business! I am not sure how scrapping the charge is meant to boost the Welsh economy by the quoted 100 million but we are not complaining.  As from next year both the old and new Severn Bridges will be operated by Highways England when they return to public ownership.

The Old Severn Bridge was opened in September 1966 and I remember well the day my father took us for a day trip into Wales that month. It cost a total of £8 million then to build and took over three years to complete!

Lane gets tarmacced!

By / 12th July, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

Lane gets tarmacced

Lane gets tarmacced

After nearly 30 years of repairing our bumpy lane at very regular intervals,  in 2017 we took the big decision to get it tarmacced! The first week of July saw the arrival of my cousin from Berkshire Daniel Hazell to commence the work with his trusty crew!  We were blessed with glorious weather that week and everything went smoothly.  The pictures tell it all!  We are chuffed our lane has finally got tarmacced! I think our many visitors will be surprised at how smooth the lane is. Now and no one will have to consider the welfare of their car anymore. I bet the postman is happy too!

The challenge has always been to keep the rainwater from damaging the lane. With the precision of the up to date machinery in applying the correct camber and slopes we are confident it will last for many years. Preparation was key and the initial digging out and getting smooth before the planings were laid down took over a day. Each section of the lane was rolled at least 4 times during the week with 2 different rollers each with different weight distribution.

Lane gets tarmacced

Lane gets tarmaccedLane gets tarmacced

Most of the machinery came down on lorries from Berkshire but an excavator was hired locally. The tarmac planings – 9 lorry loads of them were delivered in June from GD Harries –  were infact from the A40 when it was resurfaced earlier this year. The granite chippings were delivered that week. It was a busy few days but we are well chuffed with the outcome and want to thank Dan for his great organisation and skillful workmanship. How lucky we were that on the Wednesday when the tarmac was being spread over the chippings temperatures reached 30 degrees here at Old Oak Barn. It was not only the flowers that were wilting in the heat!

Lane gets tarmacced Lane gets tarmacced

Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery – Carmarthen

By / 30th May, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery – Carmarthen

The Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery in Carmarthen has a fascinating exhibition on at the moment which runs until 8 July. I would recommend a visit whatever your age or interest and I am sure our visitors here at Old Oak Barn will call in.  The gallery is easy to find being at the top of King Street in the older part of the town and parking couldn’t be easier either free at Lidl for an hour or so or at St Peter’s Car Park.

Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery Carmarthen

This was collected in May 2017 from Llansteffan beach for the exhibition in Carmarthen

As part of the Ephemeral Coast series of exhibitions and events, Oceans: Surface/Below presents the work of United States-based artists Pam Longobardi and Diana Heise.  Both artists use environmental mapping to consider the effects of plastic contamination, industrial fishing and habitat degradation within the world’s oceans. I visited on Saturday and left feeling very sad to see more evidence of the damage we are doing to the planet and in particular to imagine the mountains of plastic which contaminates the sea.  We read a lot about the impact of plastic which ends up in the oceans of the world and the displays highlight this quite remarkably. While I was there a group of children were learning about this too – it cannot but fail to leave a lasting impression on their young minds.

Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery Carmarthen

Beautiful display made from collected plastics from Kefalonian beaches by Pam Longobardi

 

Pam Longobardi, who herself nearly stayed with us here in the barn, collected materials from Llansteffan beach earlier in May and they are displayed in a glass cabinet – but for me the beauty of the central “nautical” display from plastics from Kefalonia overwhelmingly stole the show. I don’t think you could visit and not be unaffected.

 

Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery Carmarthen

Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery Carmarthen

 

 

In addition the scale of the pile of “life jackets” in the photos displayed as seen below which are mounting on a beach in Lesvos is shocking. The large flag display which is made from materials found on this famous island off the Turkish Coast must have taken hours to create and for me is also one of the highlights.

Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery CarmarthenOriel Myrddin Art Gallery Carmarthen

Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery Carmarthen

The exhibition runs until 8 July and the Oriel Myrddin Art Gallery which is supported by the Arts Council Wales is open between 10am and 5pm – Mon – Sat. Free admission.

Carmarthenshire Moths

By / 22nd May, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

Carmarthenshire Moths

In the past we have had visitors staying who have kindly undertaken bird counts and also identified flowers, plants and grasses for a plant count here at Old Oak Barn – This week it is the turn of Carmarthenshire Moths to come under the spotlight!

Check out more information here.

Our visitors this week from near Cardiff look to me to be experts in their field and asked prior to arrival if they could set up their moth recording equipment which includes a state of the art trap.  By contributing moth sightings to the National Moth Recording Scheme (via Carmarthenshire County Moth Recorder), a picture of the distribution of each macro-moth species across the UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands is being built up.

Carmarthenshire Moths

The Poplar Hawk Moth

 

Carmarthenshire Moths

Peppered Moth

 

Carmarthenshire Moths

Scorched Wing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course I said yes!

Such maps when plotted play a vital role in assessing the conservation status of species. By considering the rarity of each moth and, more importantly, whether the distribution of a species is increasing or declining over time, conservation priorities can be determined and action directed to the species at greatest risk. This aim sits very comfortably with our general values and ethos here on the farm and woodlands. It would be wonderful if they came back in 10 years time to do more recordings and by then they may even have the help of their little boy currently age only 17 months! Below is the initial record which I will add to in the future.  By Wednesday 24 May a total of 60 species have been identified.

Thanks to Stephen for the photos he took this week which I have used here – please ask if you would like to use them.

Carmarthenshire Moths at Old Oak Barn in May

Species List for Moths Recorded at Old Oak Barn, May 2017

291 moths of 61 species recorded over three nights using a Skinner trap fitted with 2 x 15 W actinic light tubes. 

Code Taxon Vernacular
Cnephasia sp. Cnephasia species micro moth
Eudonia sp. Eudonia species micro moth
15.009 Caloptilia robustella New Oak Slender
28.009 Endrosis sarcitrella White-shouldered House-moth
28.010 Hofmannophila pseudospretella Brown House-moth
40.013 Mompha locupletella Red Cosmet
49.090 Eulia ministrana Brassy Twist
63.052 Nomophila noctuella Rush Veneer
65.002 Watsonalla binaria Oak Hook-tip
65.005 Drepana falcataria Pebble Hook-tip
65.007 Cilix glaucata Chinese Character
65.013 Ochropacha duplaris Common Lutestring
69.002 Smerinthus ocellata Eyed Hawk-moth
69.003 Laothoe populi Poplar Hawk-moth
70.009 Idaea subsericeata Satin Wave
70.053 Xanthorhoe designata Flame Carpet
70.075 Hydriomena impluviata May Highflier
70.079 Thera britannica Spruce Carpet
70.086 Electrophaes corylata Broken-barred Carpet
70.094 Ecliptopera silaceata Small Phoenix
70.100 Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet
70.151 Eupithecia pulchellata Foxglove Pug
70.200 Acasis viretata Yellow-barred Brindle
70.207 Lomaspilis marginata Clouded Border
70.212 Macaria alternata Sharp-angled Peacock
70.222 Petrophora chlorosata Brown Silver-line
70.224 Plagodis dolabraria Scorched Wing
70.226 Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth
70.240 Odontopera bidentata Scalloped Hazel
70.252 Biston betularia Peppered Moth
70.270 Ectropis bistortata Engrailed
70.278 Cabera exanthemata Common Wave
70.280 Lomographa temerata Clouded Silver
71.006 Furcula bicuspis Alder Kitten
71.009 Stauropus fagi Lobster Moth
71.010 Drymonia dodonaea Marbled Brown
71.012 Notodonta dromedarius Iron Prominent
71.013 Notodonta ziczac Pebble Prominent
71.020 Pterostoma palpina Pale Prominent
71.025 Phalera bucephala Buff-tip
72.015 Calliteara pudibunda Pale Tussock
72.019 Spilosoma lutea Buff Ermine
72.020 Spilosoma lubricipeda White Ermine
73.022 Plusia festucae Gold Spot
73.024 Deltote pygarga Marbled White Spot
73.032 Colocasia coryli Nut-tree Tussock
73.036 Acronicta alni Alder Moth
73.047 Craniophora ligustri Coronet
73.087 Spodoptera exigua Small Mottled Willow
73.101 Charanyca trigrammica Treble Lines
73.114 Euplexia lucipara Small Angle Shades
73.244 Orthosia cerasi Common Quaker
73.249 Orthosia gothica Hebrew Character
73.264 Lacanobia thalassina Pale-shouldered Brocade
73.317 Agrotis exclamationis Heart and Dart
73.329 Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder
73.333 Diarsia mendica Ingrailed Clay
73.334 Diarsia rubi Small Square-spot
73.352 Anaplectoides prasina Green Arches
73.359 Xestia c-nigrum Setaceous Hebrew Character
74.004 Nola confusalis Least Black Arches
Carmarthenshire Moths

Alder Moth

Carmarthenshire Moths

Buff Tip

New Games

By / 19th May, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

New games

A clear out of tattered board games this Spring has encouraged me to buy some new games which are everyone’s favourites.  I decided to ask visitors what they would suggest and their responses gave me lots of food for thought.  So this summer its out with the old and in with the new at Old Oak Barn!  Thank you to everyone who gave me their ideas.

Below you can see some pictures of the latest purchases!

New Games

 

 

New Games

 

We have a great selection too of books for children and adults with an especially good collection of books of local interest for example “A Shilling for Carmarthen”, Natural History books about Skomer Island, a selection on the nearby Gardens eg Aberglasney – plus some books about life in St Clears earlier last century written by local residents.

 

In addition we replace old Dvds with new ones – eg “I Daniel Blake” and “La La Land” were bought in May 2017. The new Sony DVD player is capable of accepting a USB memory stick and nowadays visitors often arrive with their own supply of films in their pocket!!

 

If you have any good suggestions for new games please let me know and I shall put them on the list for the next upgrade!

 

Dinewfr

By / 26th April, 2017 / Carmarthenshire / No Comments

Dinewfr

Dinewfr

In April I visited the wonderful National Trust property of Dinewfr Park in the Towy Valley about 35 minutes from Old Oak Barn.  Dinewfr in the Spring is now an annual walk for me because there is such a variety of beautiful Spring sights and sounds there.  But it is such a beautiful estate with so much going on whatever time of year you visit. In April of course the trees are beginning to come into leaf and the bluebells too make an appearance. You wont be disappointed if you visit.

Opening Times are as below:-

  • Dinefwr Castle10:00 – 16:00
  • Billiard Room Restaurant10:00 – 18:00
  • Boardwalk10:00 – 17:00
  • Deer-park10:00 – 17:00
  • Grounds10:00 – 18:00
  • Newton House10:00 – 18:00
  • Parkland10:00 – 18:00
  • Shop10:00 – 18:00

Dinewfr

 

This hollow tree is begging to be made into a Fairy House!

 

 

Dinefwr is the only parkland National Nature Reserve in Wales and is bursting with colourful flowering plants.  It is well known for the Bluebell display on Rookery Ridge which is on the Cattle trail. When I was there the wild garlic was also out. Dinewfr Dinewfr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It will cost you just £8 for adult entry and £4 for children.

It is famous of course for its herd of White Park cattle and the deer – which I was lucky enough to capture crossing my path in the woods in mid April.