Did you know that the recently opened Carmarthen Velodrome is generally accessible for free between the hours of 9 and 6 during the week provided it is not hosting a tournament. If staying at Old Oak Barn and you have brought your bikes why not pop along for some practice! Provided you go anti clockwise and take note of the rules which are on display by the grandstand you will be very welcome. Managed by the Town Council, it was decided to continue with the tradition of not charging for its use as this had always been how it was operating – to encourage the people of Carmarthen to enjoy the Park and what it has to offer. Phone Laura on 07794 024952 who will answer any questions I am sure.
The Velodrome is one of the oldest in Europe and certainly the oldest in Wales. It is one of only a tiny handful which has been built with concrete. But its big claim to fame is that it is the only one with a rugby pitch in the middle of it! Around 12 games a year are played on the pitch and then of course the velodrome is shut for cyclists. What a venue!
Click here to see a short clip from the Carmarthen Velodrome facebook page which will give an idea of what to expect.
So, we are lucky enough to have one of the oldest velodromes in Wales, if not the world, here in Carmarthenshire just 15 minutes from Old Oak Barn. Built in 1900, the velodrome at Carmarthen Park – home to the Towy Riders Cycle Club – has now been refurbished. All 232 concrete surface panels that make up the track have been replaced, along with a new safety zone built along the inside perimeter. There is also a safety fence around the outside edge. As well as being used for training by local clubs and the community, it is hoped the velodrome will become a regional centre of excellence for hosting national and international cycling competitions. Great little Tea Room in the park too!
Its amazing to think that had the velodrome been in operation when the Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas was learning to ride a bike he may well have cycled there because as we know his family is from Carmarthenshire. What a hero he is! Now an MBE he is one of the most popular British professional racing cyclists. He currently rides for the UCI WorldTeam Team Sky, Wales and Great Britain. Competing on both track and road, he has won three World Championships, two Olympic gold medals and one Tour de France. I was lucky enough to see him whizz through Carmarthen in September in the Tour of Britain. The two photos below I myself took in Pensarn – it was only when I looked closely at them later that day I realised who I had snapped.
© Copyright Charlotte – permission needed for last two photos to use please
Tea Traders Carmarthen
Tea Traders Carmarthen is a speciality tea shop located in the very centre of our local market town. Recently the small independent company has won awards for its great customer service and for being one of the most exciting new tourism businesses in the county. Congratulations! While you are staying at Old Oak Barn we can recommend this lovely new establishment for an amazing choice of tea but also some great tasty fresh food. They also sell the finest loose leaf teas and beautiful gifts for the home some of which have been locally made by popular craftsmen.
I popped in the other day and was given a warm Welsh welcome by Nick and Paul. They opened Tea Traders towards the end of 2017 and already have proved a very popular addition to the town.
We sat outside in lovely sunshine and enjoyed a delicious snack. The lemon drizzle cake and the Ginger loaf were very fresh and beautifully made.
A customer has kindly made them some knitted cakes some of which are on display – I don’t think they are for sale though! But recently they have started stocking a small range of locally made crafts – all original from local craftspeople.
15 Guildhall Square,
Carmarthen, SA31 1PR
Tel: 01267 237101
Open every day except Sundays from 9.00. a.m.
Carmarthen Food Fair
The Food Fair is being held at The National Botanical Gardens of Wales today and tomorrow! With tasty treats and plenty to cheer up the long, cold month of January.
The event takes place in the stunning surrounds of Lord Foster’s Great Glasshouse on January 20-21 and offers a mouth-watering array of delicious local produce – and entry to the Garden is just £4 per person.
Event organiser David Hardy said: “This is your chance to try and buy anything and everything from raw chocolate to rare breed meat, chilli sauce and cheese; special gin, Spanish tapas, muffins, marshmallows, fruit vinegars and faggots. And there will be plenty of fresh, warm Welsh cakes, too. What’s not to like?!”
While at The Gardens which are less than half an hour from Old Oak Barn you can also of course visit the lovely (and tropical!) Butterfly House which is a must-see, boasting as it does hundreds of exotic, rainforest butterflies from all over the world.
Gates open at 10am and close again at 4.30pm (last entry 3.30pm). There’s no additional charge for the Food Fair and there is plenty of free parking for everyone.
Don’t forget: admission to the Garden is FREE on weekdays in January – perfect for a winter stroll in the wonderful Carmarthenshire countryside.