Tag Archives: things to do

Art

We are blessed with an extraordinary number of local artists and crafts people.  For example, you can see at least 18 different studios around Cardigan Bay through the Open Studios initiative www.cardiganopenstudios.co.uk.  This peaks around the August Bank Holiday. 

Our most local artists, Tony Woodman and Philippa Sibbert from Capel Iwan both produce stunning work:

http://www.designermetalcraft.co.uk/   http://philippasibert.weebly.com/

http://www.artholidayspembrokeshire.co.uk  You might want to have a go yourself – Studio Llwyndrain – Art taster days – be creative together as a family. 

Newcastle Emlyn, 4 miles away, has even more talented local artists Gabrielle Dudley’s gallery is worth a visit – she paints beautifully and produces the most amazing tiles: www.gabriellesgallery.co.uk .  The Makers Mark gallery showcases many local artists and crafts people, including another local artist from Newcastle Emlyn – Helen Elliott www.helenelliott.net and Diane Matthias from Henllan, just up the road http://www.dianemathias.com  We also have Sculpture Heaven – a beautiful garden not far from Newcastle Emlyn, showcasing their stunning sculptures  http://www.sculptureheaven.co.uk – we own several examples of their work.

http://artpembrokeshire.co.uk lists more than 70 different artists in Pembrokeshire and shows examples of their work.  A trip to St David’s will take you to the heart of a thriving artistic community and the art gallery at the visitor’s centre there is well worth a look.  There are lots of other galleries in the city (the UK’s smallest) and the surrounding area too http://www.stdavids.co.uk/artpage.htm.  We particularly enjoyed a visit to Steve Robinson’s glass studio http://www.steverobinsonglass.com

A visit to the galleries along King street in Carmarthen, near the castle, is a must for art lovers.

Quilting has reached the level of an art form in Wales  – take a look at www.apatchofwales.com

Some more galleries in Pembrokeshire:

www.tenbymuseum.org.uk Tenby museum with 2 art galleries with regular changing exhibitions

www.artmatters.org.uk Lion Street Art gallery, Tenby

www.raulspeek.co.uk A very colourful gallery showing the work of this talented Cuban artist in beautiful Solva.

www.orielyparc.co.uk St Davids visitor centre with a selection of crafts, artist’s materials and a stunning art gallery.

www.oriel-y-felin.com Oriel-y-felin gallery, 5 Nun Street St Davids

www.thestudioatpenrallt.co.uk Penrallt Farm, Newport.  Owned by artists Helen Beazley and Marc Morley (Helen writes the Lavender Road series under the name Helen Carey).

The mill used to produce its own craftwork in the form of woollen cloth and blankets.  Unfortunately, we don’t have any of the original cloth, but you can see examples of Welsh blankets and quilts at the Jen Jones quilt centre in Lampeter http://www.jen-jones.com/ or Jane Beck’s Welsh Blankets at Tregaron http://www.welshblankets.co.uk/

Railways

There is a long history of rail travel in this part of Wales – On 25 March 1807, the first railway passengers in the world traveled on a railroad carriage converted to carry people and drawn by a horse between Swansea and Mumbles.  We still have steam trains running in the local area on preserved railways.  Two are within 25 minutes drive – the Gwilli Railway on the way to Carmarthen and the Teifi Valley Railway, upstream from Newcastle Emlyn.  A third, the Reidol Railway, starts at Aberystwyth.

The Gwili railway even allows you to drive a steam train yourself on certain days: 

http://www.gwili-railway.co.uk/ Gwili railway – a restored standard gauge steam railway running through a beautiful valley near Carmarthen.  A round trip takes about an hour but you can travel all day on one ticket.  There are plans to extend its current route all the way to Carmarthen and up to Pumpsaint, following the Gwilli river.

http://www.teifivalleyrailway.wales/ – Narrow Gauge Steam Railway – The journey runs through woodland and then on to a steep shelf above the beautiful River Teifi.  They also have a woodland walk and crazy golf.

http://www.rheidolrailway.co.uk/The Reidol Railway – a powerful narrow gauge steam locomotive working hard to climb 700ft (200m) in the 11 ¾ miles from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge.  This was the last steam railway owned by British Rail until it was privatised in 1989.  The journey takes around an hour each way with time to sight see at Devil’s Bridge.

http://www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk/vor.html – you might also like to look at the other steam railways in Wales.

British Rail also provide a stunning journey from Carmarthen to Swansea.  Sit on the right hand side of the carriage for fine views of the shore and Llansteffan castle as the train travels beside the sea through Llanelli and Burryport.  Then, from Swansea, you can take the beautiful Heart of Wales line through stunning countryside and across breathtaking viaducts – follow this link for a short tour:  http://www.heart-of-wales.co.uk/tour.htm

Gardens

We’d love to show you around the mill gardens.  We have flower gardens all around the mill, along the leat and even into the next county.  We have soft fruit on terraces up the hillside and orchards on the hillside.  Hardy fushias, geraniums, peiris and rhododendron grow particularly well here.  We have a herb garden in a raised bed alongside the driveway which is very attractive to bees and butterflies.

There are 3 gardens at Park Villa- the one directly in front of the Villa is paved. The garden going up the hill is terraced and full of flowers and places to sit.   The garden going down the hill is mainly laid to lawn with a BBQ area and steps down.  We are specialising in hydrangea and fushias in that garden.

The wild flowers in the woodland and meadows around the mill should count as a garden in their own right, starting with snowdrops clustering along the river sides in January/February.  Bluebells fill the woods in May and orchids can be found along the roadsides.  The verges and hedgerows are a riot of colour in June and laburnum trees hang golden chains above the country lanes.  The long hot days of summer mean pleasant walks in shady woods and autumn brings vibrant colour to the valley.  Then winter paints it all with a silver sheen and the snowdrops start again.

There are many other beautiful gardens for you to visit including the Garden of Wales and Aberglasney.  Rhododendrons are a wonderful sight in June and Picton Castle’s display is breathtaking, while the great glasshouse at the Garden of Wales is amazing, even in Winter. There are also interesting nurseries to visit and many of our guests leave with plants.

http://www.gardenofwales.org.ukNational Botanical Garden of Wales

http://www.aberglasney.orgAberglasney gardens – a garden lost in time.

http://www.onebiggarden.com/ gardens to visit in South Wales

http://www.pictoncastle.co.uk/ Picton castle – the rhododendrons are breathtaking.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/colby-woodland-garden Beautiful woodland valley garden with year-round colour in Pembrokeshire

http://www.bromeigan.co.uk/ BroMeigan gardens near Boncath

http://www.norwoodgardens.co.uk/ Norwood Gardens – 3 acres with the “long walk” and individual gardens on each side.

www.stackpole-walledgardens.co.uk Stackpole Walled Gardens – 6 acres of walled gardens at the National Trust Estate at Stackpole Pembroke

http://www.trefhedyn.co.uk/Trefhedyn nursery in Newcastle Emlyn.  Well worth a visit.  It looks small from the street, but take a look round the corner!  10 minutes drive from the mill.

http://www.penralltnursery.co.uk/Penrallt nursery in Moylegrove “possibly the largest, most comprehensive collection of plants in West Wales”.  The only nursery we know with a sea view.  Good cafe there too.   25 minutes drive from the mill.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carmarthenshire-Growers-Association/171615764265?v=wall Carmarthenshire growers – a collection of local nurserymen

http://www.newbridgenursery.co.uk/address.htmlNewbridge Nursery & Plant Centre open during the summer in the heart of the Pembrokeshire countryside near Haverfordwest.

http://freespace.virgin.net/christina.shand/index.htmDyffryn Fernant garden near Fishguard.  open Weds – Sun Easter – Sept.

http://www.moorlandcottageplants.co.uk/ Moorland Cottage Plants near Crmych – note they also do mail order.

Food

There is a wealth of local food to try, from Cardigan Island crab to Caerphilly Cheese and even Welsh Whisky.  The local town, Newcastle Emlyn, has 2 lovely delicatessens selling a variety of Welsh Produce.  There is an organic fruit and vegetable shop (so so good – look out for the pies and nom nom chocolate) a good butchers and an excellent health food shop.  The market on Fridays brings local jam makers and honey producers to the town, amazing fruit and vegetable bargains are to be had and the Country Market offers local produce, cakes, bread and crafts.

Nearly every weekend, there’s a food festival somewhere in Wales.  The Garden of Wales’ food fair is at the end of May.  Newcastle Emlyn holds its food fair in June.  Pembrokeshire Fish Week is at the end of June.  Carmarthen food fair is in July, as is St David’s Really Wild food festival.  Narberth’s food festival is in September. There are lots more.

We are very lucky to be close to the Caws Cenarth cheese factory.  Their golden Cenarth beat 900+ other cheeses to be awarded the best cheese in the UK.  They even beat the French last year.  You can visit their shop and try their beautiful, beautiful cheeses.  http://www.cawscenarth.co.uk/  You can also find award winning Teifi Valley cheese at the market in Carmarthen (every day except Monday) or at their shop near Llandysul – they also distil whiskey and a very fine gin   http://www.teificheese.co.uk/

 

 

There is plenty of good Welsh Beer around – Felinfoel, made near Llanelli, Thomos Watkins, made in Swansea, Brains, made in Cardiff etc..   There are many good pubs just a short drive away, serving local produce at reasonable prices.  Our local, the Nags Head at Abercych, is a microbrewery, serving its own fine beer.  There are a variety of pubs serving food in Newcastle Emlyn: The Coopers Arms, The Three Compasses, The White Hart Inn, The Pelican, The Ivy Bush, The Plough, The Gwesty’r Emlyn Hotel.  There are lots of lovely cafes and restaurants there too: Harrisons Bistro and Riverside Gardens, Pachamama Bistro, No 11.  The Central Cafe does great fish and chips to take-away and there are Indian and Chinese take-aways in the town.  Yasmin’s indian restaurant has been the “Best Curry house in Wales” recently .  Just down the road at Cenarth, you will find another fine selection of pubs, cafes and restaurants.

Further afield, you will find beautiful pubs overlooking secluded bays or in bustling towns.  For a real holiday feel, there are amazing fish and chips in New Quay, Saundersfoot and at Llangrannog, where the local ice-cream is a  treat.  There are even some cafes where your children can paint their own pottery.  You will also find lots of farm shops and farmers markets, local cheese makers, a vineyard and a honey farm.

Here are some lovely ideas of places to eat in Carmarthenshire: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/definitive-guide-eating-drinking-well-11038699

Food Fairs

Cool Food festivals

Farm shops and local producers

– including cheese, wine and chocolate!!

http://www.cawscenarth.co.ukCaws Cenarth – organic cheese factory.  See the cheese being made and sample the wonderful organic cheese, which regularly wins major prizes.  10 minutes drive from the mill.

http://www.teifivalleycheeseproducers.com/ – There are many fine cheese makers in the Teifi valley area including Carmarthenshire Cheese Company, Caws Cenarth, Hafod Welsh Organic Cheddar, Teifi Farmhouse Cheese, and Sanclêr Organic

http://www.bigbarn.co.uk/marketplace/vendors/cothivalley~CothiValleyGoats_Llandeilo_SA19Cothi Valley Goats – 15 types of goats cheeses

http://www.penlan-uchaf.co.uk/ Penlan Uchaf gardens and amazing local beef (great coffee shop with amazing views)

http://www.harmonyherd.co.uk/Harmony Herd free range Wild Boar cross pigs

http://www.thehoneyfarm.co.ukNew Quay Honey Farm – Discover the magical world of the bee.

http://www.celticwines.co.uk/Celtic Wines – local country wines and preserves

http://www.cwm-deri.co.uk – Cwm Deri Vinyard.  Excellent wine tasting opportunities and a great restaurant.

http://www.llwynhelygfarmshop.co.uk/  Llwynhelyg Farm Shop 8 miles North of Cardigan “a food lovers’ paradise” an excellent place to get lots of local food.

http://www.welsh-whisky.co.ukPenderyn Whisky Distillery – near Merthyr Tydfil, a little way from the mill but worth a visit for Whisky lovers.  Or you can buy their produce in Carmarthen.

http://www.gwaunvalleybrewery.co.uk/ – Cwrw Cwm Gwaun real ale brewery – see the brewers at work and taste the finished product.

Market Days

  • Newcastle Emlyn – Friday
  • St Dogmael’s Local Producers Market – Coach House Heritage Centre next to the Abbey, Tuesdays 9:00 – 13:00
  • Carmarthen – Wednesday.  The indoor market is open Tuesday – Saturday.
  • Cardigan indoor market – open most days but Thursday – Saturday is best.
  • Ammanford Street Market – Friday
  • Llandeilo – Friday
  • Llanelli – Saturday

Farmers Markets:

http://www.fmiw.co.uk/?function=marketsbyregion

  • Carmarthen – first & third Friday each month 9 – 1 in the town centre
  • St Dogmael’s Local Producers Market – Coach House Heritage Centre next to the Abbey, Tuesdays 9:00 – 13:00
  • Haverford West – every fortnight on Fridays 9 – 3 at Riverside Shopping
  • Fishguard – every week on Saturdays 9 – 1 at the Town Hall
  • Pembroke – every fortninght on Saturday 10 – 2 at the Town Hall
  • Llandovery – last Saturday of the month
  • Ammanford – last Thursday of the month

Lovely foodie ideas: http://www.visitwales.com/things-to-do/attractions/food-and-drink

Fishing

big fishWe are in the middle of the Teifi and Towy sea-trout fishing area.  In 1933, a sturgeon weighing 88lbs and measuring 9 feet long was caught in the Towy –  http://www.llanegwad-carmarthen.co.uk/fishytale.htm  

Cenarth on the Teifi is 15 minutes drive away.  The salmon leap in Cenarth is amazing in November and December.  Coracles are still used for fishing there and the Coracle Museum is well worth a visit.

Here at the mill, we have fishing rights over about 100 yards of the river – there are small salmon and trout easily seen in the Cych in the summer; in the winter, larger fish come here to spawn and otters hunt for them.

If you are over 12, you must hold a valid rod licence to fish in the rivers, lakes and ponds in the area.  You can get a rod licence from any Post Office, or the Environment Agency website www.environment-agency.gov.uk/fish, which also has details of local by-laws for closed seasons, size limits and method restrictions.  You will also need a permit from the owner of the water, which you will probably have to pay for (we do not charge for fishing at the mill).  There is a freezer in your apartment and you can come and go at any time during your stay at the mill.

Fishing seasons in Carmarthenshire are:

  • Sea-trout & non migratory brown trout: 1st April – 31st October
  • Salmon: 16th June – 7th October
  • Course fishing – no statutory closed season but check with owners 16th March – 15th June and also during freezing weather.

http://www.fishing-in-wales.com/ With some 30 miles (50km) of prime fishing on the River Teifi in West Wales, Llandysul Angling Association provides top-class game fishing opportunities.  This site has links to many different angling sites.

http://www.fishinginpembrokeshire.co.uk/ Fishing opportunities in Pembrokeshire

http://www.visit.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/active/fishing.html fishing in Carmarthenshire, including links to the Teifi Trout Association

http://www.fishinginwalesnp.co.uk/ Guides to fishing in the National Parks – Pembrokeshire, Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons

en/content/cms/game/sea_trout/sea_trout.aspx Seatrout fishing in West Wales

Golf

Wales was  the centre of attention for the golfing world when the 2010 Ryder Cup was held at the Celtic Manor resort.  It’s at Jct 24 of M4, just on the Welsh side of the Severn Bridge and you may pass it on your way to the valley .  You may even want to play a round there?   http://www.celtic-manor.com/golf.aspx

There are plenty of courses to enjoy nearer to the valley in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.  The course at Cardigan, 25 minutes drive from the valley, has spectacular views of Cardigan Bay – where else can you play golf and watch dolphins at the same time?  The course was established in 1895 and hosts international matches.  It is playable all year round and can be challenging in the windy conditions that the cliffs provide.   http://www.cardigangolf.co.uk/

Carmarthen golf club, regarded as one of the finest golf courses in Wales, is 30 minutes drive away.  It was voted Welsh Golf Club of the Year 2011.  http://www.carmarthengolfclub.com/ 

You can come and go as you please here, so you can play as early or late as you want.

http://www.discovercarmarthenshire.com/things-to-do/?f=2640  Golf courses in Carmarthenshire

http://www.golftoday.co.uk/clubhouse/coursedir/pembrok1.htm Golf courses in Pembrokeshire

http://www.golftoday.co.uk/clubhouse/coursedir/carmart1.htm Golf courses in Carmarthenshire

http://www.golf.visitwales.com/golf-courses-in-wales/ Golf courses in Wales

Riding

You can enjoy an indoor riding lesson at Starlight riding centre, a couple of miles from the valley; or what could be more memorable than a gallop through the surf with Marros riding centre or East Nolton riding stables.

Riding through the surf

There are several riding centres in the area:

 http://www.starlightridingcentre.co.uk/ Starlight riding centre near Newcastle Emlyn (10 minutes drive from the mill)

The Dyfed Riding Stables in Cardigan SA43 3DG – recommended by one of our guests.  01239 612594

http://www.marros-farm.co.uk/  Marros riding centre – Beach rides, own a pony days.

http://www.noltonstables.com East Nolton riding stables Beach riding in Pembrokeshire

Also, see the section on horse riding in Carmarthenshire on this page:  http://www.discovercarmarthenshire.com/things-to-do/?f=4082

Bird Watching

You will see a variety of birds from your mill apartment window, including wagtails, dippers, woodpeckers, buzzards and even kingfishers, red kites, herons and pied fly-catchers if you are lucky. Each apartment has its own bird spotting book and you are welcome to borrow the field glasses from the summer house. 

Pak Villa has more woodland birds and the wagtails are different there – pied rather than grey (which are actually very yellow).  You’ll still see the buzzards and we saw a barn owl from there, silently travelling down the valley, one still summer night.

The Teifi marshes nature reserve, with its hides, cafe and water buffalo, is 20 minutes drive away.  Then there are the coastal paths and boat trips to places like Ramsey Island and Caldey Island.  Visitors often make the trip to the red kite feeding station, where the displays are breathtaking.  A visit to the National Wetland Centre at Llanelli is definitely worthwhile, if only to feed the Hawaiian geese from your hand.

  http://www.visitcardigan.com/bird-watching-west-wales.php bird watching sites around Cardigan Bay

http://www.rosemoor.com/IPFiles/Nationalpark/skomer.html –  Skomer Island – A short boat trip to one of the best birdwatching spots in Britain. 

http://www.welshwildlife.org/ our local wildlife reserves – there are 15 in Pembrokeshire (including the Welsh Wildlife Centre at Teifi Marshes – a significant reserve, 25 minutes from the mill) 12 in Carmarthenshire and 20 in Ceredigion.  This site also has information about Skomer and Skokholm Islands.

http://wwt.org.uk/llanelli National Wetland Centre Wales at Llanelli – bird watching & wetlands you can explore by bike and canoe.

 And for something different:

http://www.pembrokeshire-falconry.co.uk Pembrokeshire Falconry Experiences – try handling falcons in the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside.

Active Fun & Adventure

There’s plenty you can do to get active in West Wales.  Of course there’s walking, riding and cycling.  There are surf lessons for cool dudes and you can get a real adrenalin rush too – the rides at Oakwood are great or try coasteering if you like leaping off rocks (CardiganBayActive call it “everything your Mum told you not to do at the beach!)

www.cardiganbayactive.co.uk Cardigan Bay Active –  coasteering, kayaking (sea & river) white water rafting, canoeing, surfing, paddle boarding, bush craft, climbing, cycling, river tubing

http://www.oakwoodthemepark.co.uk Oakwood theme park – Speed, Magophobia, Vertigo and Drenched should hit the spot.

http://www.discovercarmarthenshire.com/things-to-do/?f=1130 a guide to adventures in Carmarthenshire – this includes:

  • 4 x 4 and Quad Biking
  • Abseiling
  • Caving
  • Coasteering
  • Gorge Walking
  • Horse Riding
  • Kayaking, Canoeing, White Water Rafting & Sea Kayaking
  • Laser Combat
  • Paintball & Laser Combat
  • Paddle Boarding
  • Parakarting & Land Yachting
  • River Swimming
  • Windsurfing & Kite Surfing
  • Zip lining & High Ropes

http://www.celticquestcoasteering.com a really active way to explore the Pembrokeshire coast.

www.shaggysheepwales.co.uk  amazing adventure activities for groups or couples

http://www.ritec-valley.co.uk Ritec Valley Quad Bikes – For Adult and Junior riders.

http://pembreycountrypark.wales/ Pembrey Country Park near Llanelli, with a dry ski slope & toboggan run, cycling trails & bikes to hire, horse riding, an amazing beach.

http://kayak-king.com/ a chance to explore the beautiful Pembrokeshire coastline by kayak

www.mudtrek.com Mudtrek – guided mountain biking “I booked half a day of MTB guiding with Jason, and I had a great time. I am quite new to mountain biking, and this was certainly catered for. Jason mixed a few different routes together, so we had a really great combo of more manageable trails and some really fast fun bits with long downhill sections and some nice berms. Jason was very friendly and easy to chat to. I would certainly recommend MudTrek!”

Cycling

10% of the UK’s Sustrans routes for Cyclists are in Wales.  The valley is 30 minutes drive from the Brechfa Forest cycle trails where there are five trails of differing levels of difficulty. 

You can bring your own bikes and lock them away in the shed, or hire them. The roads around this valley, although challenging, are quiet and the scenery is amazing. 

Ironman contestants: you can practice on the quiet roads around the mill – you can bring your support crew with you (we have room for 16 people at the mill or 8 at Park Villa, and loads of car parking).  We have a bath to soak in in every apartment, a freezer in each apartment and a drying room for your kit.  Both the mill and ~Park Villa have hot tubs.  You are free to ride as early in the morning as you like.

For an easier ride, try the cycle trails through the Teifi Marshes wildlife reserve or along the millennium trail at Llanelli, with the Wetlands centre at one end and Pembrey Country Park at the other.  You can hire cycles from Cardigan Bay Active at the Cilgerran wildlfe centre or from Pembrey Country Park ski centre. 

ClickIan cycling picture for an article written by Ian Simpson about his ride from Park Villa across the Preselli mountains.

Some useful links:

www.mudtrek.com Mudtrek guided mountain biking

http://www.westwalestrails.co.uk Hire a bike or tagalong by the day/half day, delivered right to the mill.  Also run tours of the Brechfa forest trails. 

http://pembreycountrypark.wales/ hire bikes from the ski centre in Pembrey country park, Llanelli.

 http://www.mbwales.com/en/content/cms/Bases/Brechfa/Brechfa.aspxMountain biking in the Brechfa forest.

http://www.routes2ride.org.uk/wales – Find cycle routes and information from Sustrans.

http://www.discovercarmarthenshire.com/active/cycling.html Cycling in Carmarthenshire

http://www.cyclepembrokeshire.co.uk/ Cycling in Pembrokeshire

www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/bikemobilityBike Mobility – gives opportunities for everyone to ride a bike away from busy roads.  Try Hand cycles, trikes, tandems, wheelchair bikes or take a cycling training course.