The Dolaucothi Gold Mines, which lie around 9 miles from the cottages in Pumpsaint, are owned by the National Trust and are well worth a visit. There are guided tours which explore the underground mines and you can even pan for gold. There are walks around the estate followed by a well-earned visit to the Dolaucothi Arms to recharge the batteries.
Llanacheron Estate is situated just outside Aberaeron and features a virtually untouched 18th Century Welsh gentry estate. Designed by John Nash, it also has an ornamental lake, pleasure grounds and peaceful walks through parkland within the estate. The Home Farm complex has an wide range of atmospheric and traditional outbuildings; being a working organic farm with Llanwenog sheep, Welsh Black cattle and rare Welsh pigs. We recommend taking a picnic and exploring the walks into Abaeron through the estate. Owned by the Wildlife Trust, Dinefwr is a nature Reserve, historic house and 18th-century landscape park, enclosing a medieval deer park and is situated in Llandeilo (around 40 minutes drive from the cottages). It has a tea room which serves local produce and a shop. We recommend you take a seat overlooking the croquet lawn and sample a few local wines and beers.
Situated just outside Tregaron, Strata Florida houses the remains of a Cistercian monastery and mines dating back to the Middle Ages. There are also three heritage walks around Strat Florida, with the routes available for download.
Devils Bridge; a world-famous attraction in Mid-Wales, is situated in a village of the same name (around 40 minutes drive from the cottages, passing by Strata Florida on the way). The bridge spans the Afon Mynach, a tributary of the Rheidol. The bridge is unusual in that three separate bridges are coexistent, each one built upon the previous bridge. The bridge is at a point where the River Mynach drops 90 metres (300 ft) in 5 steps down a steep and narrow ravine before it meets the River Rheidol. The set of stone steps leading down to the lowest bridge at the waterfall are known as Jacob’s Ladder. According to the legend the original bridge was built by the Devil, as it was too difficult for mortals to build. The agreement stipulated that the Devil would build the bridge in return for the soul of the first living thing to cross the bridge. The Devil built the bridge but was tricked by an old woman who threw bread onto the bridge. Her dog crossed the bridge for the bread, thus becoming the first life to cross the new bridge! Served by Devil’s Bridge railway station on the historic narrow-gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway (see below), which opened between Aberystwyth and Devil’s Bridge in 1902.
The area is a haven for steam railways, with the Vale of Rheidol Railway the best way to explore the superb Rheidol Valley. Travelling from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge, the journey takes you through wide open fields and meadows, woodland and rugged mountain scenery. Just outside Carmarthen, the Gwili Steam Railway operates a standard gauge preserved railway from Bronwydd along a short section of the former Carmarthen to Aberystwyth railway that closed for passenger traffic in 1965, the track being lifted in 1975. Whether you fancy an Afternoon Cream Tea, ‘Gwili Fryer’ (fish and chips and real ale) on selected Saturday evenings or three-course Sunday lunch, it guarantees to be a memorable journey through picturesque Carmarthenshire countryside. Located on the Carmarthenshire-Ceredigion border around 4 miles from Newcastle Emlyn, the Teifi Valley Railway is another tourist railway. Although currently closed during much of 2015 due to essential maintenance works, the Teifi Valley Railway (TVR) uses the trackbed of part of the Newcastle Emlyn Branch of the GWR, which in turn, joined the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line at Pencader, Carmarthenshire. Although single-track for the majority of its length, it was considered to be the local main line and there is a strong campaign locally to try to get this connection re-established, which is gaining momentum. The Heart of Wales Line stretches 121 miles from Shrewsbury to Swansea and explores the spectacular Mid-Wales countryside.
The National Wool Museum Wales is around 20 miles from the cottages and the village was once the centre of a thriving wool industry and takes visitors through the journey from fleece to fabric. The Welsh Quilt Centre is located in Lampeter town centre and features many exhibitions of Welsh quilts along with a Gallery Shop. Jen Jones also runs courses on quilt making to celebrate the quilt within the context of the towns, villages and farms in which they were made. The Town Hall Café Deli is situated adjacent and is a perfect place for lunch or tea and delicious home-made cake afterwards.
Llaethliw Vineyard Estate is a relatively new vineyard (planted in 2009) situated around 20 minutes drive from the cottages, just outside Aberaeron. It produces white, red and rose wines, with tours around the vineyard and of course, the all-important wine-tasting sessions! New Quay Honey Farm in nearby New Quay is a must-see, with beekeeping, a visitors centre, tearoom and a live ‘Bees Behind Glass’ exhibition! There is also a meadery at the farm, with meads to taste in the farm shop.
If you fancy something a bit different, Saddle Tramps Trail Riding, based in the neighbouring village of Cwmann, offers trail riding. The stables are located on Pencarreg Mountain; with hours of forestry trails and open fields to ride across. Longer rides take you deep into the beautiful and enchanting Brechfa forest with miles of tracks and thousands of acres to enjoy.
Creepy Carmarthen Tours is an organised tour which explores Carmarthen’s creepy past and it’s dark secrets from bygone days. Not for the faint hearted!