Cynheidre

Today would be a lane walk in the Cynheidre area. Once a large coal mining operation now completely unrecognisable.

Route

Soon after starting we passed Sylen Lakes, a place I had not noticed before. From here we continued along a minor road and visited the trig point at Mynydd Sylen. Unfortunately the visibility was not that clear although further north we could see sunshine.

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As we rejoined the road in the distance a large solar farm could be seen. I regularly pass this on the cycle trail from Cross Hands to Llanelli but today we could see the size of it.

Here on Mynydd Sylen we came across a blue plaque relating to a “great meeting” following the Rebecca Riots. Another place I was not aware of.

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The wind on this higher ground had a bite to it but we managed to find some shelter for our lunch before joining the above mentioned cycle trail which led back to the car. next to the trail near Cynheidre is an old railway which is very slowly being brought back to life.

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. This link gives some interesting history.

Paxton Tower Circular

A day that called out for a walk, blue sky and brisk temperatures. No doubt my grandson will be disappointed that I decided on a walk and not to watch him play rugby!

I walked from my home and through lanes with the highest point being Paxtons Tower.

Route

Not far from Porthyrhyd I met a colleague from Many Tears Animal Rescue who were putting up leaflets about an escaped dog which had been rescued from Romania and had been missing since 9th December last.

The views from Paxton Tower were far reaching with snow on the Carmarthen Fans.

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I had hoped to walk through grounds of the National Botanic Garden of Wales but the northern entrances were closed until February 2018 because of the restoration work being carried out. Continuing on the lanes I met a walking group and stayed with them for a while chatting about the area.

Paxton Tower circular

As I neared my home my mobile rang, it was my wife asking where I was  and this resulted in a cup of tea and a sandwich being ready as I went through through the front door – result.

Pembrey to Pwll

My Sunday chat with the “Navigator” suggested a flat walk on the Millennium Coast path starting in Pembrey and walk towards Llanelli and then catch a bus back. There was a caveat in that on Sunday the snow had come in and whilst we were chatting ice was already forming on the car and this may cause a problem on Monday.

Surprisingly on Monday the temperature must have risen as the ice had all but disappeared and the walk was on. We agreed to meet in Morrisons car park in Carmarthen but although we were both there at the allotted time of 1030  we didn’t see each others cars until 1100 despite being  in the same parking row!

Route

We parked up in the first car parking area at the start of the country park – this one is free -and  walked on to the coast path and headed east passing through Burry PortThe council had put up a number of new information boards showing the history of the area.

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This was a cold but blue sky day with  good distant views some showing the snow lying on higher ground. We wandered off the shared path on to other paths which kept close to the sea and some of which were new to me.

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Near Burry Port and looking across to the north Gower

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Lighthouse at Burry Port

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Burry Port Harbour

Clearly different local areas are claiming a connection with Amelia Earhart as there were two plaques some distance apart showing where she landed her aeroplane! perhaps she took off and landed again.

At Pwll near the Pavilion Cafe (recommended) we left the path and walked to the road where we caught our bus (lovely bus passes) back to Pembrey.

 

Garnant

With our wives heading for Cardiff to give the credit cards a bashing, Paul and I took the easy option and decided on a walk in the Garnant area. Paul had spotted the walk in a web site from Brecon Beacons National Park.

Route

The route was well way marked although we did miss one turning which should have taken us past Hen Bethan Chapel. We blame our interesting conversation.

The conditions under foot was quite wet  but the views were extensive. Although Wales is better known for its flocks of sheep we saw Llamas, donkeys and goats with huge scimitar type horns.

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Near the top of Cwm Pedol we passed a ruin with an impressive archway door. On the way to Cwm Berach there was another ruin with a couple of interesting trees.

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Our wrong turning made sense at the time as there was a footpath sign leading into woods with an uphill  path. Still there is always next time to visit the chapel.

 

Felinfach

Today’s walk was in an area we rarely walk, perhaps because it seems a long way to drive, but not so.

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We parked in the grounds of Theatre Felinfach and headed uphill in a south westerly direction to Gwynfryn. From here our direction was north down to the Afon Aeron where we walked along the river bank back to the start.

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The walk up.

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How did this bin get here?

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Fantastic garden

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Himalayan Balsam taking over.

 

Usk Reservoir

A gentle walk today around Usk Reservoir.

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Throughout the walk there were good views of the Carmarthen Fans (The Black Mountain) and of course of the reservoir itself.

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Route

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Plenty of sightings of kites, buzzards and a lone cormorant a long way from salty water. We saw a number of anglers who from the posted notices have to abide by a long list of rules, presumably these do not apply to the cormorant. The area also welcomes cyclists and we did see a few mountain bikers.

 

 

Bronwydd

As the “Navigator” had a hospital appointment in Carmarthen to check he was still alive, today’s walk would be fairly local.

Route

We parked in the Bronwydd village hall car park and headed downstream alongside the Afon Gwili and passing the station of the Gwili Railway.

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From here we crossed the main road and walked uphill into the countryside and turning north towards Newchurch along a very overgrown bridleway.

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Dr Livingstone I presume?

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Follow me, this is definitely the way. 

Our route turned east towards Cwmdwyfran and again alongside the Afon Gwili back to the car.

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Afon Gwili a fine grade 2 canoeing river at the right levels.

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Can you spot the “Navigator”?

 

Waterfall Country

With the recent rains it was a good choice to visit Waterfall Country near Neath. We parked up in Pontneddfechan sharing the car park with a mini bus full of wet suited youngsters presumably heading for some gorge walking. Judging by the screams we heard a little later the water must have been cold!

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Craig y Ddinas

Route

The first fall we visited was a there and back walk to the east of Craig y Ddinas but I forget the name of the falls and it is not named on the map – no doubt the “Navigator” will remind me. It looked likely that the falls could be ascended carefully but not today.

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I’ve forgotten its name.

Back at the car park we now followed the signed path leading upwards and on to Sgwd y Eira. On the path we passed two ruined farmsteads which must have had a hard time making a living in this wild area.

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Heading up hill en route to Sgwd y Eira

We heard the fall before seeing it and it was running well.

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This fall has a walkway behind the downpour but must be taken with great care. Before crossing we donned full waterproofs. Probably after a dry spell this may not be necessary but today it was essential.

We all made it through safely.

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Looking down on Sgwd y Eira

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From below

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Gore Tex testing

There was now a steep climb out of the valley and on to our next objective Sgwd y Pannwr a steep descent! Before the obvious improvements to paths in the area clearly with safety in mind you could walk close to the waters edge leading to the waterfall system and we were hoping that it would not be necessary to march up and down the steep valleys to view each fall. Thankfully the old path still exists albeit a narrow one with steep drops down to the river. Again care is needed  especially with young children in tow.

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Sgwd y Pannwr

Following lunch where we watched more gorge walkers/swimmers getting immersed in their sport, Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn was our next venue and then onto Sgwd Clun Gwyn the last of our day.

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Gorge walkers

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Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn

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Sgwd Clun Gwyn from opposite bank

A longer walk will take you west to the Afon Nedd Fechan where there is another series of waterfalls and will lead back to the car park at Pontneddfechan.

 

 

 

Pumpsaint

Today’s walk was based on Pumpsaint better known for its connection to the Dolaucothi gold mines.

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Route

We had bee promised that most of this walk would be new to us despite having walked in the area on a number of occasions. We would see.

Immediately after parking the car we set off in a direction that I had not been before and so the “Navigator’s” pronouncement was proving correct.

In Wales it is frequently the case that farms carry the same name but distinguished by the suffix lower (isel,) middle (ganol) or higher (uchaf). Someone’s knowledge of geography had however gone awry as Penarth Uchaf was at the bottom of the hill and Penarth Isel was at the top! perhaps it was done to confuse the Romans.

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This is not Penarth near Cardiff

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The old fashioned milk churn stand

Although the weather was dry the clouds were low and not the best for photos of the landscape and hence none in this blogg.

Near Froodvale Farm we headed east to cross the A482 and onto the village of Caio. From here the route was north west to overlook the old gold mines and then into the grounds of the Dolaucothi Estate.

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Carmarthenshires Yukon

We did try to follow a signed public footpath across a field but there was no exit and we retraced our steps to head north and uphill to the spot height of 283.

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Well well.

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Politics being discussed

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Paul trying to sneak into the “Navigator’s” rucksack

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Our high spot

This would have been a good viewpoint of the surrounding countryside but the misty weather thought otherwise.

Our route back to the car was through a woodland. The “Navigator” had been correct as the only part of this walk I had done before was that part within the estate.

Merlin’s Hill

Some weeks ago Paul and I were walking in our local area near Carmarthen and looked across the Tywi Valley to Merlin’s Hill. This was one I had not visited but the “Navigator” was about to change this.

We parked near Carmarthen Museum and began our walk heading through Abergwili village. The footpath sign showed our proposed route but because a of large flood prevention scheme the path was clearly not available. There were no diversion signs and so we crossed a number of fields in the general direction the “Navigator” had planned.

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Abergwili and Carmarthen beyond

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An old stone stile

Route

Since the last ascent by the “Navigator” a local landowner had opened a Merlins Hill Centre and the public footpath sign was somewhat overgrown as compared to the paid for visit path sign. A little further along the public path was the remains of a stile now blocked by a wire fence and a lot of baler twine.

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Compare and contrast to the stile in previous picture.

We were not put off and adjusted this obstruction to carry on to the summit of Merlins Hill. there were some good views of the surrounding countryside.

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Carved stones protecting a spring

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Views from Merlin’s Hill

 

We retraced our steps down the hill and carried on towards our turning point at Llanfihangel Uwch Gwili and followed quiet lanes back to the cars.

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Chapel at Llanfiangel Uwch gwili

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Plain and fancy gates

An email has since been sent to Carmarthen Council concerning the path blocked by the flood defence and the uninviting obstructions on Merlin’s Hill.