Elan Valley Reservoirs & Dams

Elan Valley Reservoirs & Dams

Spectacular Scenery

Information

Name:Elan Valley Reservoirs & Dams

Location: Near Rhayader – 48 miles–80 minutes drive.

Description

Elan Valley boasts 72 square miles of unspoilt nature and reservoirs. Whilst it is a bit further afield from our cottages than some other attractions, it is one of our favourite days out. The drive there is very scenic and the roads are quiet. 

When you arrive, head to the visitor centre where you can get a guide with maps and find out more about the dams. There is a gift shop, cafe and loos there and they often host exhibitions. You can also pay for parking (£2.50) which then means you can park in any of the car parks around the Estate. 

From the visitor centre you can then choose to drive to the dams and around the reservoirs, head out on foot on one of the walking trails or even hire a bicycle – Cycle Hire Prices.

The reservoirs are scenic but it is the dams which make this a unique place to visit. They are a marvel of engineering but also very beautiful.

The landscape is of national importance for the diversity of lower plants (mosses, liverworts and lichens) and the Estate is the most important area for land birds in Wales. It is covered by 12 separate Sites of Special Scientific Interest. 

The Estate has been awarded an International Dark Sky Park Award and it is filled with a wealth of nocturnal Wildlife which thrives under the very dark skies.

Elan Valley is good to visit all year round as the landscape changes with the seasons. Autumn is a particularly splendid time to go for the colours.

Carreg Cennan Castle

Carreg Cennan Castle

Historic Castle, Farm & Tea Rooms

Information

Name:Carreg Cennan Castle

Location: Trapp, Llandeilo – 27 miles–50 minutes drive

Description

Voted by readers of Countryfile magazine the most romantic ruin in Wales. The dramatic castle stands on a great limestone crag nearly 300ft/90m above the River Cennen with stunning views over the Carmarthenshire countryside.

One of the unique features of the castle is a natural limestone cave. Some recent findings down there suggest that is was one of the oldest inhabited caves in the whole of Wales.  Part of the cave was modified to be used by the castle.

The castle is situated next to a traditional working farm which offers free parking. The farm is free to visit and also has Tea Rooms and a Gift Shop. 

Entry to the Castle is £5.50 for Adults (£4.50 for over 60s). It opens at 9:30am and closes between 4:30pm and 5:00pm depending on the season. 

 

 

Dolaucothi Gold Mines

Dolaucothi Gold Mines

History and Nature Trails

Information

Name: Dolaucothi Gold Mines

Location: Pumsaint – 9 miles – 18 Minutes drive

Description

These unique gold mines are set amid wooded hillsides overlooking the beautiful Cothi Valley and have a 2000 year history. Between 70 AD and 80 AD, the Romans began the first extensive mining of Dolaucothi, creating large open-cast workings and digging several tunnels to exploit the gold veins. The most active period of mining at Dolaucothi in the Victorian/Edwardian Age occurred around the turn of the 20th century and carried on sporadically until the 1930’s.

There are lots of activities to take part in. You can pan for gold, take a self-guided audio tour of the Roman Goldmines, explore the 1930’s sheds and machinery, shop for Welsh Gold jewellery or take an underground guided tour. These tours take visitors right into the Drift Mines, perched on the hills above the Mine Yard. There are 5 underground tours per day to the Victorian and Roman mines and these take about 1 hour. The season runs from 1st April to the end of October. The site is run by the National Trust and opening times vary through the seasons so check online. Entry price is currently £10.50 for adults.

If you don’t fancy going down the mine or you want to spend longer exploring the area, there are also a number of nature trails to follow ranging from very easy to challenging. These are open all year round and are a haven for a multitude of wild birds as well as red squirrels and pine martens.

Just 10 minutes walk away is the Dolaucothi Arms pub – voted Rural Pub of the Year by BBC Countryfile in 2019. It offers a traditional pub menu in the Winter and a Mediterranean style menu from April to September. N.B. the pub is closed on Mondays and opening hours change in the winter months so check their website.

The National Botanic Gardens of Wales

The National Botanic Gardens of Wales

A Delightful Day Out with Flora & Fauna

Information

Name: The National Botanic Gardens of Wales

Location: Llanarthne 28 miles – 45 minute drive

Description

Set in the beautiful Carmarthenshire countryside, the National Botanic Garden of Wales is spread over 560 acres with an amazing collection of over 8000 different plant varieties. With the largest single-spanned glasshouse in the world and the best display of Mediterranean climate zone plants in the Northern Hemisphere it is easy to see why it has been voted No 1 Garden to Visit in Wales (by BBC Gardeners World).

The garden also has a wide diversity of wild plant and animal species across its mosaic of lakes, meadows, streams, woodland, and marshes. It boasts over 100 types of moths & butterflies, over 50 varieties of birds, 20 species of mammals (including otters, dormice and bats) as well as frogs, toads, newts and lizards.

New for 2020, the Regency Restoration project has restored the legendary landscape of one of the finest Regency Waterparks in the UK. The garden will feature a necklace of seven lakes, cascades, falls & weirs first created 200 years ago.

Along with the themed gardens there is also a Butterfly House and Waun Las Nature Reserve – with wildflower-rich meadows. There are two cafes and a restaurant on site as well as the Garden Plant Shop selling plants and gifts and a craft shop and art gallery too.

2020 prices are £11.50 for adults (including Gift Aid).
Opening times: 10:00am – 6:00pm 1st April to 31st October
10:00am – 4:00pm 1st November to 31st March
Postcode is SA32 8HN Telephone: 01558 667149

As if all the gardeny goodness wasn’t enough, there is now also the brilliant British Bird of Prey Centre on site for extra entertainment. There are daily flying displays with the 20 native birds of prey – you can even see a Golden Eagle flying. Displays are 11:30am and 2:30pm with the Owl Show at 1:00pm. You can also book private experiences to have time flying the birds – bookable in advance at info@britishbirdofpreycentre.co.uk

There is a packed programme of events and courses held throughout the year from exhibitions, gardening courses, art classes and photography tuition. You can easily spend a whole day exploring this delightful place.