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Off the northern tip of St Bride’s Bay in the very west of Pembrokeshire you will find Ramsey Island which is owned by RSPB. The best way to see it is to get a boat trip either around the island which is what we did last week or spend the day on the island exploring on foot. Voyages of Discovery a local long established family business is a good choice to plan your adventure! The boats are all well maintained and the staff professional and knowledgeable paying attention to your safety at all times. Ramsey Island has some of the finest cliff scenery in Wales.
Launching from St Justinian’s you will have the opportunity to see the new lifeboat station which we are told will open in 2017. The old one is for sale apparently for a cool half a million pounds! It will no doubt need a lot more than that to turn it into a house – but what a setting for anyone who does!
The trip around Ramsey Island was breathtaking – the RIB seats up to 12 people and was very comfortable. The two guys from Voyages of Discovery knew a lot about the island – its history – birdlife – archaeological rock formations – flora and fauna – and of course about its resident seal population. We saw oyster catchers, guiellemots, razor bills, choughs, gulls, and I caught sight of the resident peregrine falcon too. There are also just a few deer left on the island too.
Atlantic Grey Seals breed on Ramsey and many visitors to Old Oak Barn enjoy a ride around the island to see them. Check out this video to see a glimpse of the beautiful island – do visit if you can – we think you will have a “whale” of a time!
Wrights Food Emporium
For those who like somewhere a little different and who love great tasting food guaranteed to be freshly prepared then we recommend a visit to Wrights Food Emporium which is about half an hour from Old Oak Barn. It is situated in a wonderful old pub in the village of Llanarthne in the Towy Valley and is run by Simon and Maryann Wright who clearly have a wonderful eye for detail in everything they do! We rate it highly! Earlier this year Wrights made it onto the 40-strong list of top restaurants in the whole of the UK, compiled by Observer Food Monthly. There are only 2 other Welsh names on this list! It also has a lovely deli which sells all sorts of goodies. So, it claims to be somewhere a little bit different and a little bit special and we think you will agree it is! The bread there is heavenly. Recently our visitors have eaten there while staying here more than once because it is such a handy stop off if you have been to Dynevor, Aberglasney or The Gardens of Wales and the quality is guaranteed.
A selection of their food! All served with a smile!
Occasionally there is live music in the bar usually on a Sunday. Keep an eye on the website for more details. Coming up soon on Sunday 27th is Scott Davis Harvest Special – 6 courses and a glass of something on arrival: £37.50
Oh yes! They also stock Beavertown Beer brewed in London!
But remember there are interesting opening hours! And you cannot always book in advance. Phone 01558 668929 for more details.
Monday — Tuesday
11am – 7pm
Wednesday — Thursday
9am — 7pm
Friday — Saturday
9am — late
11am — 5pm
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.
Established just a few years now “The Spooky Magic Carmarthen” tour entertains visitors with a look at the creepy past and includes some grissly stories from centuries ago. You will also take part in some unusual magical experiments involving ghosts, murder weapons, antique photographs and a witch trial. We recommend this attraction and think you too will be highly intrigued at some of the stories even though they often look at rather unsavoury characters. Nick is obviously a gifted raconteur!
Creepy Carmarthen tours continue every Wednesday evening from now until the end of September – the next one takes place on Wednesday 2nd September at 7pm. To book please call 01267 231557. Adult tickets are £7.50 each, children & OAPs are £5 and a family ticket is available for two adults and up to three children for £23. All walks depart from Carmarthen Guildhall.
Highly recommended by Trip Advisor, winner of the “Visitor Experience of the Year” at the Carmarthenshire Tourism Awards in 2013 – the walk is a must for both visitors and locals alike. Have a read of the reviews to learn more!
If staying at Old Oak Barn then we can organise your evening out for you!
About 15 minutes from Old Oak Barn is the pretty town of Narberth which draws in many visitors throughout the year. Known for its wonderful variety of independent shops as well as the exciting Narberth Food Festival it is also home to a brilliant little museum. Facilities include a vibrant visitors centre for people of all ages including children, a coffee shop, a book shop and staff are on hand to answer questions and queries. There are lots of interactive displays and the quality of all the artefacts and displays is excellent. Its obvious a massive amount of time and effort has gone into the development of the site in Church Street.Narbeth Museum is open in the summer from Tuesdays – Saturdays and in the winter just 4 days a week Wednesday – Saturday. 10.00 – 5.00pm. We strongly recommend a visit. Children will enjoy the book corner!
Learn about James Williams and the impact he left on the town especially in his sad ending.
If you have an interest in local or family history they might be able to help because over the years they have amassed an extensive and interesting collection of records and photographs that can supplement your research.
Volunteers have also carried out research into soldiers from Narberth in both the First and Second World Wars.
We loved all the displays and will be returning soon for another visit. We were impressed with the quality of everything we saw including the greeting from one of the women from Rebeccas Riots in the 19th century! And we enjoyed playing battle with the princely Owain Glyndwr!
Breathtaking – can only describe the scenery and wildlife as some of the most beautiful in the whole of Wales. To see bluebells not under trees is awesome. We loved every minute. Sleeping in the hostel is fine and more luxurious than anticipated. Taking all food and drink for the 24 hours was perfectly manageable too. We did have to book the accommodation last year as it is so popular and there is only room in the hostel for 14 overnighters.
Skomer is accessible from the little harbour at Martin’s Haven and for those wanting a day trip boats sail (weather permitting) just three times a day. Contact Dale-sailing for more details. You have to be prepared to queue in the popular weeks ie Whitsun half term.
Looking towards St Brides Bay and Solva from the island. We also saw porpoises from the island and from the ferry crossing. And of course we saw the worlds largest population of Manx Shearwater returning around half eleven at night from their days feeding in the Irish Sea. What a fabulous noise they made!!
There are 3 breeds of rabbits on the island and they are quite tame. Watching their antics in their natural habitat was great fun!
The little boat arrived to pick us up the next morning and take us safely back to the mainland – the crossing to Skomer is quite short and only takes about 15 minutes. Experienced crewmen know the seas well and don’t take risks if forecasts are poor. so crossings can be cancelled at short notice.
We think you will love Skomer 2015 too! Come and stay at Old Oak Barn in June and have a look for yourselves. We currently have two short breaks available around June 6th and June 21st. Phone on 01994230716 for more details.
You can see more pics of puffins in our other blogs!
Old Oak Barn near Carmarthen has 40 acres of woodlands to roam – with lots of tracks and paths which we maintain so that you can wander at leisure.
Towards the middle end of April the bluebells will begin to flower and depending on the weather they will put on an amazing show for up to a month.
In recent year small patches have been clearfelled in the woods as part of our woodland management programme – all felling is undertaken under license. Replanting over the past few years has been very successful and now the woods provide a great variety of habitats for wildlife and birds. We have two small areas which are left undisturbed completely. The small log cabin which has been in the woods for over 25 years is much loved and nearby we have two swings and a good picnic area where you can have BBQs and a real camp fire. We look forward to the holiday season of 2015 when visitors will be able once again to enjoy this semi natural ancient woodland as it is classified. We are confident the bluebells will put on another glorious show!
Click here – Bluebell Woods to see where else you can visit woods throughout the UK which have bluebells.
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.
Laugharne – Watch this video to see beautiful Carmarthenshire landscape – only 5 miles from Old Oak Barn.
The short walk of 4.5 miles will take you around all the historical and unique points in and around Laugharne which has been developed recently to celebrate the birthday of Dylan Thomas. It is surely one of our favourite places nearby and if you watch the film you will get a real sense of what to expect. It takes in part of the Wales Coast Path too as well of course as the churchyard of St Martin’s church where Dylan Thomas is buried. The walk was created by Bob Stevens who obviously has a love of the area.
If you walk the route on your birthday you can pop into local shops and pubs for some freebies including a tasty bag of chips. It ends at the iconic Browns Hotel which is a great place to drop by for a pint!