Walking in Wales 2017
This part of Wales has some fantastic walks and provide those keen to see what’s around with a huge variety of landscape both coastal and inland. The National Trust has put together lots of information for keen walkers who want to go walking in Wales. The fourth walk is at Dinefwr which is only half an hour away. It is perfect in the winter! To celebrate the Year of Legends 2017 in Wales there are others who are offering themed walks some of which are in Carmarthenshire or the neighbouring counties of Ceredigion and Pembrokshire. Since the New Year several news stories have appeared explaining what the Year of Legends is all about. Read this one for some added insight!
We have two specific walks in Carmarthenshire one on the theme of Twm Sion Cati and the second on The legend of the Lady of the Lake at Llyn Y Fan Fach.(see pic above)
Click here to watch a short film of the wonderful walk to the cave of Twm Sion Cati. It starts at the car park to the Dinas Nature Reserve and I myself completed this last summer. The highlight for me was seeing a single yellow hammer being fed on the bird table, some meadow pipits and then two dippers in the fast flowing River Towy.
Click here to watch a short film of the Llyn Fan Fach walk which includes some great aerial shots of the walk. Stunning views will greet those who do this walk. The road to the car park seems to go on for ever but its well worth the effort of getting there!
If interested you could do either walk accompanied – see the leaflet below which has been put together to celebrate Wales Year of Legends 2017. The first is in April and the second in August 2017 – both walks are about 7 miles.
If staying at Old Oak Barn we can give advice and tips on where is good for walking and also provide you with standard OS maps to borrow. The coastal walks around Laugharne and Llansteffan are always popular. If convenient we will drop you off so you can walk back to your car at a pre arranged suitable place. This will save you having to do a circular walk.
The diversity of birdlife is valued by many visitors who go walking in Wales and if for example a rare bird is spotted it soon reaches the headlines! See below a picture of the never before seen in the UK the masked wagtail which arrived in Pembrokeshire in November 2016. Sadly I was out walking in a different part of West wales and was unable to catch it!
Llyn Y Fan Fach
This is one of Carmarthenshire’s most beautiful walks and I’m not surprised it features in Lonely Planets top 1000 must see sites across the whole world! We walked it on a beautiful September day with a little cloud cover coming and going which made the shadows and light all the more fantastic to see! The 5K walk starts at the car park with a gentle stroll initially along a firm track. Be warned though – the road from Llandeusant to the car park is full of potholes! For those staying at Old Oak Barn we can provide extra information on how to get there and what to expect!
Heading towards the little trout farm you are flanked by gushing mountain streams and some great views of the distant peak of Pen Y Fan. You will reach Llyn Y Fan Fach in about half an hour – the walk is suitable for most people but if you want to ascend further to the top then allow about 5 hours and suitable clothing and footwear. It is here at the lake that as ancient legend has it a beautiful lady still lives! The story goes that back in the 13th century a farmer grazing cattle nearby spotted the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. She agreed to marry him on one proviso – that he must not hit her more than twice. You can guess what happened! In time, yes .. the inevitable happened – three strikes, and the otherworldly wife disappeared back into the lake, taking her magic cows with her. The valley, the guide adds, is rich in medicinal herbs and bog plants, suggesting this may be the mistreated fairy maiden’s healing legacy. It is also linked to story of the Physicians of Myddfai.
Today it is grazed by hundreds of sheep who do a good job at putting up with walkers! The views north from the lake are amazing. We ran out of time to continue to walk to the very top but spoke to some who had who were delighted with their efforts! The spot is actually in Carmarthenshire and in the Black Mountains too which itself is part of the Brecon Beacons National Park. You can read more about the lake – its history and geology if you visit here.
Old Oak Barn flowers are much enjoyed!
I have always taken huge pleasure in growing flowers. For over 40 years now I have sown lots of annuals and during our 28 years here at Cwmpalis I have certainly developed my own random gardens which provide variety, colour and interest. For me one of the pleasures is being able to pick them to enjoy inside. Increasingly though I value watching the birds feed on the seeds be it Red Hot Pokers in July or the later flowering sunflowers. Growing winter bird food naturally is something we can all do!All the photos here were taken by myself and all the flowers have been picked and then displayed ready for visitors to the barn. Some of the favourites are of course sweet peas! The other benefit of course to growing plenty of fragrant flowers is that it helps the bees!If flowers are a little scarce or unavailable then I can improvise and use some of the many herbs – the display on the left includes parsley, marjoram, sage, rosemary and fennel.
Folly Farm wins Best Day Out in Wales!
Congratulations to Folly Farm who last night scooped Gold Award in the National Tourism Awards 2015 for the whole of Wales in the category “Best Day Out!” We are not surprised! Visitors to Old Oak Barn almost without exception spend at least one day at the popular Farm Park and Zoo as it is now called. There is just so much to do in a single day. Many locals including our family have a season ticket and enjoy popping in for an afternoon on a regular basis to play with the John Deere tractors and see all the animals! Photo courtesy of and copyright Jeff Gendall who stayed at Old Oak Barn.
We are sure that if you too choose to spend time at this wonderful tourist attraction which is less than half an hour from Old Oak Barn you will not be disappointed! Open all year round although restricted times in the winter months.
Oakwood Theme Park has now been open for over 25 years and is set to open once again on 2 April. Without doubt many visitors go to the park to have a go on Megafobia which is considered one of the wildest wooden coasters on the planet and it has been been voted the best ride in the UK and the third best ride in the world by coaster enthusiasts from the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain. In 2010 it was listed as one of the Top Ten rides in the world in a poll conducted for Cheapflights.com
Oakwood Opening Times and Prices are clearly outlined and although not a cheap day out for a family it will almost certainly be a day to remember.
Visitors to Old Oak Barn have great fun at the park and are impressed with the wonderful setting overlooking the beautiful countryside of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. We think you too will enjoy a visit!
Easter Holidays in Wales
Old Oak Barn is at the moment available from Friday 10 April in Wales in 2015. Please ask for the latest price! We are very child friendly!
There is lots to do this Easter in this part of Wales. Apart from exploring the wonderful countryside and coastline Folly Farm is open every day during the holiday season. Have you met the lions yet? Did you know that Folly Farm is rated the fourth best zoo in the country. What started off as a small farm playground 25 years ago has grown and grown and is now one of Wales’s best attractions and it is only 25 minutes from Old Oak Barn! Quite often they have Peppa Pig or some other children’s favourites attending during half terms and holidays – so keep an eye out for more details!
Please get in touch if you would like more details of a break at Old Oak Barn this Easter. We often have glorious weather in April and in the past visitors have even been known to go for an early dip in the sea. It is often fine enough for a camp fire in the woods here or a BBQ on the patio in the late afternoon.
Birdsong is at its best too with over 50 species spotted at this time of year!
Top things to do in Carmarthen
Besides the lovely beaches dotted around the coastline from Pembrey to Amroth including the famous sands of Pendine we can recommend some great places to visit while staying at Old Oak Barn
Check out this Trip Advisor link which lists the following as being worth a visit!
And we are only a few miles from Pembrokeshire which has so many beautiful beaches, spectacular scenery over the Preseli Hills and lots of popular visitor attractions for children of all ages many of which are open all year round. We know the area well and are on hand to help you plan the most of your holiday in Wales.
Free entry to Gardens of Wales in January
This January the National Gardens of Wales are offering free entry during the week and charging only £2 at weekends. Why not visit this month to take advantage of this annual offer. There may not be an abundance of flowers as in the photo above but there is still a lot to see! In addition to free entry during the week there are 3 special weekends organised. The Gardens are only 20 minutes or so from Old Oak Barn and our visitors always rate them highly.
Saturday & Sunday January 10-11 – Antiques Weekend
Saturday & Sunday January 17-18 – Woodcraft Weekend
Saturday January 31: Snowdrop Day – talks and walks and buy-your-own snowdrop collection
February Events at The Gardens of Wales
Saturday February 14-Sunday February 22 – Going Flat Out for Pancakes at half-term
Cookery, pancake races plus lots more full-on half-term fun and games.
Sunday February 22 – Seed Swap Sunday
Bring along some seeds and swap them with fellow growers and take part in lots of talks and activities around the subject of ‘growing your own’.
Friday February 27 – Star Party
Come and join the Swansea Astronomical Society in the stunning surrounds of Lord Foster’s Great Glasshouse for an evening of star-gazing. The SAS’s stellar experts will be giving talks, too, and helping you with any difficulties you are having with your telescopes at a series of special one-on-one clinics. 6pm-9pm.
Caerphilly Castle is about an hour and a half from Old Oak Barn and sometimes visitors drop in enroute to Carmarthenshire. Or wander by on their way home as it is only 5 minutes off the M4. Built during the reign of Henry 111 it is considered by many to be the finest example of a Medieval Castle in the country. Like the famous cheese, the castle has long been synonymous with Caerphilly. It dominates and hogs the limelight. Think slumbering giant awaiting a call to arms. It’s also a great backdrop for TV and film. It secured a starring role recently in the popular BBC TV series Merlin. Today lots of geese and ducks graze the surrounding grass. Those who have stayed at Old Oak Barn will know that we love especially Greylag Geese which also live on our pond in the Spring and Summer months. Maybe they overwinter beneath the castle!
Children will love visiting the castle which is open all year round. Taking children here is relatively easy as there is so much to see and they can explore the many walkways linking the main parts of the castle together. They will be fascinated by the pigeons living in the towers and enjoy strolling around the banks of the moats. There is also a display of siege machinery on the site with catapults to play with! The great hall is still used for events including weddings and when we visited in December happened to catch sight of a wedding. There are toilets and a gift shop on site, but no food available so make other arrangements for lunch. Visit for more info Kids and Castles. The day we went we popped into a charming tea room in the town for delicious snacks at lunchtime.
The Gardens of Wales.
Situated only a short drive from Carmarthen and only 25 minutes from Old Oak Barn are the fabulous Gardens of Wales. We have vouchers which will enable one adult to get in free along with one fee paying adult. Well worth a visit at any time of the year. The photos below were all taken in August 2014.
Open every day except December 24 and 25 between 10 – 6 April – September and between 10 – 4 October – March there is always something going on at The Gardens. It rarely gets crowded and is a great day out for all ages.
The National Botanic Garden of Wales has declared Friday September 12, 2014, to be “Meet the Neighbours day”, which means free entry for anyone able to prove they live in the SA31 postcode area. This special ‘Postcode Day’ initiative includes key talks by Garden staff and behind-the-scenes tours.
Recent News September 2014
The first stage of a £6.7 million plan to restore historic Regency landscape at the National Botanic Garden of Wales has been given the green light.
What will be the biggest project in the Garden’s history aims to uncover the origins of Middleton Hall – the 568-acre estate that the Garden now occupies and to tell the story of more than 250 years of East India Company influence that shaped the landscape of this part of Wales.
It was announced in September) that the Garden has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with a pledge of more than £300,000 to develop its plans for the Regency Restoration project.
The scheme includes major archaeological work which will reveal the secrets of the estate from the time of Shakespeare and before, and see the restoration of the later Regency landscape that was one of the finest water parks in Britain. When completed, the Garden will once more feature the necklace of seven lakes, cascades, falls and weirs created more than 200 years ago and again boast the Regency planting scheme that formed the heart of its parkland.