Llyn Brianne

Llyn Brianne

Reservoir & Dam

Information

Name: Llyn Brianne

Location: Upper Tywi Valley 20 miles /45 minutes 

Description

The drive from Coedmor Cottages to Llyn Brianne is a delight in itself. You want to take your time and savour the views as you enter the Cambrian Mountains. 

Not technically a Natural Wonder, the lake is actually a reservoir created in the late 1960’s/ early 70’s. But the scenery is reminiscent of Canada or Scandinavia – just beautiful. 

When you get to the lake there are two car parks – one at the bottom of the dam and one at the top (probably the best choice). Both are free. The top car park has toilets but they are not always open (a toilet is available at nearby RSPB Gwenffrwd Dinas nature reserve – a lovely walk along the river there too). The dam at Llyn Brianne is the UK’s tallest at 91m (300 ft). Walk across the top of the dam and see Martins swooping below.

There is a good track to walk around part of the lake – probably too far to walk around the whole lake in a  day for most people! But you can walk along the track and then retrace your steps back to the car park. The woodland here is famous for being one of the last places you can see Red Squirrels. You will also likely see Red Kites and Buzzards overhead.

If you are keen on stargazing, the car park at Llyn Brianne is also a Dark Sky Discovery Site – part of the Cambrian Mountains Astro Trail.

The drive around the lake is a great way to take in the scenery and for an alternative route back to the cottages the road between Llyn Brianne and Tregaron is worth a detour.

If you drive back towards Llandovery, you will come across the Towy Bridge Inn – right next to the bridge on the River Towy (where else would it be!) Pop in for a drink or some food. 

Morning Walk at Penbryn Beach

When we were planning our Big Move to Wales we did some exploring around the area and the beaches and harbour towns of Cardigan Bay were one of the deciding factors in us choosing to move to Lampeter. So for our first trip out we really wanted to take Ziggy to Penbryn Beach. We had been before in September when we had our second viewing of the Cottages so we already knew what a magical place it is.

Penbryn in September the day after we decided to buy The Cottages

“Social Distancing” was already in force but we weren’t yet in lockdown, so we were allowed to head to the beach for our daily exercise. Penbryn is looked after by the National Trust, so there is a proper car park which you pay a couple of pounds for and this goes towards the upkeep (and there are loos there too). The beach is a walk downhill – you have two choices here. You can walk down the road or go through the woodland. We chose to go the road route as we wanted to get to the beach asap.

Only Ziggy’s second time at the beach…ever!

As you reach the beach there is a stream that runs right down into the sea. Ziggy couldn’t wait to get wet…he loves water but won’t swim – he panics if he goes out of his depth. When we lived in Reading we were so far from the sea that we only took Ziggy to the beach once. He loved it, but couldn’t understand why the water tastes so bad ? At Penbryn he went crazy running on the sand – he loved the wide open space…and we were virtually the only ones there.

Penbryn in March – gorgeous soft sand.

There are caves at the far end of the beach – worth exploring but they don’t go very deep.

Cave at Penbryn

The beach is about a mile long so you can have a decent walk along it. We took the scenic route back up to the car park through the enchanted valley. It really is a wonderful walk although it is quite steep in places. But there’s no rush. Take your time and enjoy the meandering pathways that take you through woodland and fern-clad terrain with a stream babbling below you.

Then just as you thought it couldn’t get any better, you come upon a bridge and a waterfall! Seriously, if fairies are real, this is where they live. ?‍♀️

Penbryn Waterfall

Penbryn is about a 40 minute scenic drive from our cottages. If you want to make a full day of it you can also get onto the Wales Coast Path from Penbryn for a longer walk. See more about Penbryn Beach (and the clip from a James Bond movie filmed there) in our Natural Wonders section: Penbryn Beach

The Cambrian Mountains

The Cambrian Mountains

Splendid Isolation

Information

Name: The Cambrian Mountains

Location: Wide Area Across Carms. Powys & Ceredigion

Description

The natural beauty of the plateaux, valleys and gorges of the Cambrian Mountains is equal to and often greater than some British national parks. Although distributed among three counties – Powys, Ceredigion & Carmarthenshire – the Cambrian Mountains are geographically one area, and form the main watershed of Wales. The rivers Severn, Wye, Elan, Irfon, Tywi, Cothi, Teifi, Ystwyth, Rheidol, and Twymyn all have their sources here. There are only a few roads across the mountains and they are acknowledged as some of the most scenic routes in Britain.The walker is king in the Cambrian Mountains and you can find many routes online, such as the ones on Walking Britain. The landscape is vast, but not featureless. There are plenty of lakes and reservoirs that will make you feel like you could be in Canada! Interesting features like Strata Florida, The Teifi Pools and Devil’s Bridge mean that you can spend several days exploring the area. There are also amazing wildlife habitats like Cors Caron Nature Reserve which has great walking trails and is recognised internationally as an important wetland reserve.

Our romantic holiday cottages are located in the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains and you can even see the mountains in the distance from our meadows.

Penbryn Beach

Penbryn Beach

The Locals' Secret

Information

Name:Penbryn Beach

Location: Cardigan Bay -23miles 40 mins drive

Description

Penbryn is owned by the National Trust and is almost a mile in length. The spacious, golden sands are backed by a dune system and cliffs with caves accessible at low tide. The beach is managed by the National Trust and is in a rural and unspoilt location with the option of a beautiful walk through a fern-clad valley from the car park.

The National Trust car park has toilets and the Plwmp Tart Cafe and you then walk downhill to get to the beach (there is a small charge for car parking). It is around 1/4 of a mile down the road or take the beautiful woodland walk from behind the cafe. This is longer at 1/2 a mile and is steep in places but is totally enchanting! The shady path suddenly opens up to the wide expanse of the beach and the sound of the waves, a lovely approach.

There is a turning circle and dropping off point at the beach edge for disabled visitors or those who don’t want to walk down, but this area must be kept clear for any emergency vehicles – cars must be parked in the car park.

The beach is great for walking and there is a cave to explore at the right hand side of the beach if you visit at low tide. At very low tide there is another beach further around the headland, but beware as there is no other way to get off this cove so if the tide turns you could be stranded!

The Wales Coast Path leads from the beach in both directions and offers gorgeous views across the bay. The remote location and lack of light pollution make this an ideal spot for stargazing in the summer months – Penbryn Beach is a designated Dark Skies Discovery site and dusk is a great time to see seals and barn owls in the area.

Penbryn’s Claim to Fame is that it was used for a scene in the James Bond “Die Another Day: movie! You can see why in the clip below – it looks stunning.