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

Our Daily Exercise During Lockdown

During lockdown we have had plenty to keep us busy but we have also set aside time to explore the countryside around the cottages. In Wales, lockdown rules are especially strict and at the moment we are only allowed to go out once per day for exercise and it has to be very close to home – no driving to get to a beauty spot for walking.

Ziggy doesn’t appreciate the scenery but does enjoy snacking on sheep poop.

Just as well that we live in such a gorgeous place then! 😊 At this time of year when the meadows behind our cottages are empty or just have sheep, the farmer who owns them doesn’t mind us walking up the hill to get some exercise…and more stunning views. As you get higher even more of the landscape opens up.

The meadow we walk up to get to the top of the hill.
View from the top of the hill

Right at the top is an old abandoned slate quarry and the panorama is so amazing from up there it is worth the effort to climb the hill.

View from the top of the Quarry
On a clear day you can see for miles and miles.

The gorse bushes are now blooming and the colours are unreal. 💛 We have been blessed with some perfect weather and the bluest of skies. It is so calming spending time just taking it all in and stopping to look at the colours and smell the flowers. Did you know that gorse flowers smell like Pina Colada? 🍹Why did I never know this before? It is quite an intoxicating aroma – very coconutty!

These colours are straight out of the camera(phone) no adjustments!

Being surrounded by nature does make you slow down – it is so therapeutic. We have so many different birds around us. Red Kites and Buzzards circle overhead and the songs of the robin, coal tit, willow warbler and wren are so musical. We even have a resident hare that visits the farmland behind our picnic meadow – we see him most mornings if we are out early enough.

The view from the bottom of the hill on the way back to the cottages.

We have discovered a few different circular walks that you can do right from the cottages so if you want to stretch your legs and connect with nature when you come to stay we can give you directions…or you can just explore and find them for yourself! 🧭

Enjoying the morning sun in the Picnic Meadow.

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 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.