Llyn Brianne

Llyn Brianne

Reservoir & Dam


Name: Llyn Brianne

Location: Upper Tywi Valley 20 miles /45 minutes 


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. 

Aberporth After Lockdown

Monday 6th July was the first time we were allowed to travel more than 5 miles from home in Wales since the week after we moved here in March. We took the opportunity to explore the lovely beaches at Aberporth. It was really quiet with just a few families and surfers. So lovely to feel the sea breeze on our faces! The drive is very picturesque too and it only took us 40 minutes from the cottages.

Dyffryn Beach

Aberporth lies at the southern end of Cardigan Bay about six miles north of Cardigan and ten miles south of New Quay. It overlooks two sandy beaches both with European Blue Flag status.

Dyffryn Beach from above

Dyffryn Beach is to the west of the headland and Dolwen Beach to the east. Aberporth Beach is often used to describe both of these beaches together.

Dolwen Beach

The beaches both have soft golden sand and shelve gently into the sea. They were both pretty quiet when we were there which is unusual for July. Probably because tourists weren’t allowed to visit until the following week .

View of the pretty houses in Aberporth from Dyffryn beach.
The beaches are popular with surfers.

We went in the afternoon when it was low tide, so there was more space to walk and we got to explore the rocks and rock pools. 🦀 🦐

Limpets and barnacles galore!
Rock Pools.

We walked on Dyffryn Beach as we had Ziggy with us – dogs aren’t allowed on Dolwen in the Summer months.

Ziggy loves the beach!
Dyffryn Beach is dog friendly all summer.
Ziggy enjoys getting his paws wet.

We also had a wander up the hill into the town and then walked down through a small wooded area back to the beach. A very pleasant stroll with views over the beaches.

View from the top of the hill back down to the beaches
Sculpture on the walk back to the beach.
Dyffryn Beach from the walk back down from town.

We couldn’t go onto Dolwen beach as dogs aren’t allowed in Summer.

The steps down to Dolwen Beach
Dolphin Sculpture overlooking the Beaches – Sightings are common in this area.

The shops and cafes were still closed when we visited this time, but we went back a couple of weeks later and it was much busier with tourists and everything was open. We enjoyed a lovely salted caramel ice cream 😋

So quiet for July
Yes!! The joy of being able to have a day at the beach after lockdown! ?

I’m pretty sure we will never again see Aberporth so quiet in July…but come the Autumn when the crowds of tourists get smaller, we think it will be a great place to walk and chill out for an afternoon.

Dolphin Watching Boat Trips

Dolphin Watching Boat Trips

Dolphin Watching Boat Trips

Cardigan Bay Wildlife Tours


Name: Dolphin Watching Boat Trips

Location: New Quay 19 miles 30 Minutes drive


Cardigan Bay is home to Britain’s biggest resident population of dolphins – you can see bottle-nosed dolphins all year round and New Quay is the hottest spot. Harbour porpoises are also frequently spotted and if you’re really lucky the odd Orca or humpback may swim by!

New Quay is definitely Dolphin Central – you are almost guaranteed to see a dolphin even from the harbour wall. To increase your chances, take one of the daily charter boats out into the bay. SeaMor operate 90 minute guided Dolphin Watching Boat Trips from 1st April to 31st October. The boats are for a maximum of 12 people and the 2020 price is £17 for adults.

See some great videos on their Facebook Page

They also offer a Sunset trip where there is an even higher sighting rate as the fish the dolphins feed on are more active closer to the surface. The price is the same as the daytime tours.

For a really special day out, you can arrange a half or full day private hire with a marine biologist and qualified skipper to ferry you along the coast. You can take part in dolphin surveys and listen to them with the underwater hydrophone. Swim and snorkel or visit Cardigan Island to see the grey seals. Visit the gorgeous beaches at Llangrannog and Tresaith or stop for lunch in Aberaeron. You can choose your own itinerary. Half day trip is £240 and full day is £440

Get in touch with SeaMor on 07795 242445 or info@seamor.org


Big Wilderness Cycling Adventure

Big Wilderness Cycling Adventure

Spectacular Cycling Route


Name: Big Wilderness Cycling Adventure

Location: Circular Route to Llyn Brianne


Since Carmarthenshire hosted the start of the 2018 Tour of Britain it has become known as the “cycling hub of Wales”. Cycling is on the rise as the county has invested in the activity so that more visitors can saddle up and enjoy the breathtaking views. To coincide with the Tour of Britain, the county launched new cycle routes to give visitors the opportunity to explore the big hills and bigger views.

One of the most spectacular routes is the Big Wilderness Adventure. This is a circular route that actually passes just a 5 minute cycle ride from our door! The route is plotted to start and finish at Llandovery, but if you stay with us you can start and finish right from your cottage. It takes you to Llyn Brianne – there is challenging climb up to the lake followed by an incredible road around the perimeter with fantastic views.

This ride is not for the faint-hearted – it is 65 miles with a difficulty rating of 7/10 but the scenery makes the ride worthwhile (the journey to Llyn Brianne one of our favourite drives). The road follows the reservoir around the edge, constantly changing in elevation with incredible views and sweeping descends around every corner.

After Llyn Brianne the route starts to feel more remote as it skirts the Cambrian Mountains. There is barely a house or car in sight, but with this emptiness comes incredible beauty that is seen nowhere else short of the Scottish border.

The route takes in a large portion of wild, uninhabited terrain so it is worth taking what you think you will need with you and not relying on shops along the route.

There is an abbreviated version of the route if you want to shorten it – it still takes in the best bits up to Llyn Brianne but is 8 miles shorter and there is also the option to not go all the way to Llandovery to save even more miles.

If this route is too much of an adventure, then there are lots of other routes in the area to check out starting at just 10 miles – see them all here: Road Cycling in Carmarthenshire.

The Cambrian Mountains

The Cambrian Mountains

Splendid Isolation


Name: The Cambrian Mountains

Location: Wide Area Across Carms. Powys & Ceredigion


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


Name:Penbryn Beach

Location: Cardigan Bay -23miles 40 mins drive


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.