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  • Writer's pictureSElliott

Llandovery, Dolaucothi and Llanerchaeron

Updated: Dec 24, 2022

Please note: I visited this area in 2012 so some details below may be out of date.

Friday 1st June 2012

Arrived at the campsite at Rhamdirmwyn early evening, all ready and packed for my first ever solo tenting holiday! Well, except for the washing-up basin, hammer, slippers, torch, face cloth, etc.

My route had taken me up, and down, some very steep hills as I crossed the western edge of the Brecon Beacons. There were some marvellous views! Once we had conquered the Brecons it was only a short drive to the campsite and on the way I saw some red kites hovering close to the road!

Anyway, we made it to the campsite and, after borrowing a hammer, the tent was erected successfully! Ok, so it probably took twice as long as it should have done but it was erected! Only time will tell if it will stay that way.

Picture 1 – Setting up Camp

Saturday 2nd June 2012

The tent is still up!! I left site after breakfast and headed into Llandovery where I had a nice wander round. It's a small town with the remains of a castle and a statue of the Welsh hero Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan, a wealthy Carmarthenshire landowner who was executed in Llandovery by Henry IV of England in punishment for his support of Owain Glyndŵr's Welsh rebellion.

Picture 2 – Llywelwyn ap Gruffydd Fychan Statue

Picture 3 – Llandovery Castle

From Llandovery I headed to Pumsaint and the Dolaucothi Gold Mines. Pumsaint is named after five saints who, on a pilgrimage to St Davids, are said to have taken shelter here from a severe storm.

Dolaucothi Gold Mine, also known as the Ogofau Gold Mine were used by the Romans as early as 75AD although there is some evidence that it may have been used before then. It was mined intermittently in the 19th and early 20th centuries, once by Australian "diggers" fresh from the Gold Rush in New South Wales. The mine was finally closed in 1938.

My first order of the day was to head down the mine to check whether the Romans had left any gold (they hadn't). I did see some pretty silvery residue - it was shiny due to the water droplets on it.

Then it was back to the surface for a quick bite to eat before heading off to pan for gold - though all I managed to find was "fools' gold".

Picture 4 – Dolaucothi Gold Mine

I ended my visit at Dolaucothi by having a short walk around the estate. This has been managed by the National Trust since the 1940s. You can tell which houses belong to the estate (as opposed as being privately owned) by the painting on the eaves and windows - estate houses all use the same red paint colour! On the way were lots of "doggy" stiles and some stiles with removable top bars you could lift off if you had short legs!

Picture 5 - "Doggy Gate" and removable top bar

From Dolaucothi I headed to my last stop of the day, the abbey remains at Talley.

Talley Abbey was founded in the 1180s by Rhys ap Gruffydd for the monks of the Premonstratensian order. This religious order of the Catholic Church originated in Prémontré, near Laon, in 1120. Talley Abbey was the first and only abbey in Wales for the Premonstratensians, monks who were also known as the ‘White Canons’ from the colour of their habit.

However all that is left of the abbey are ruins.

Picture 6 – Talley Abbey Remains

On the way back from Talley a red kite decided to fly leisurely over the road - you could see the colour of its tummy and everything! It was really beautiful.

Sunday 3rd June 2012

It rained all night! And the tent is still standing! It’s still raining, so I’ve decided to go to Llanerchaeron. This late 18th century Welsh country estate includes a working farm and the family home designed by the famous architect John Nash.

Arrived at Llanerchaeron (it’s still raining) to find that the house doesn’t open until 11am so I decided to walk around the farm first.

Picture 7 - Llanerchaeron Farm

After looking around the farm I walked around by the front of the house to the garden. It was a really nice walled garden. Rather surprising, in a good way, was that I recognised most of the plants by sight! They had four types of mint:

· Peppermint.

· Applemint.

· Spearmint.

· Pineapple mint – I didn’t know you could get pineapple mint!!

Pictures 8, 9 - Different Mints & Walled Garden

I then looked at the pretty wildflowers – red campion, herb-robert and rhododendrons - before heading to the house.

Picture 10 - Llanerchaeron House

The house was nice. During the night the mice had been playing races and had left roadsigns all over the place!

After leaving the house I decided to do a short walk since the rain had let up a bit. This took me past a field where a mother Canada Goose was enjoying brunch with her goslings. I also had a nice view over the lake.

Pictures 11, 12, 13 - Views from the Walk

When I returned from the walk I decided to get something light to eat. So I sat down at the café with a bowl of Cawl and a very friendly chaffinch for company!

Picture 14 - A Cheeky Chaffinch!!


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