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

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.