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Sunday, 9th December
On Sunday 9th December, Richard Leggett led the Carmarthen Ramblers on a nine-mile hike that was a slight variation of one of John Fenna’s walks from his book “Discovery Walks in Carmarthenshire”.  It incorporated footpaths, forestry tracks, open moorland and a quiet country road in the Cothi Valley. The walk started at the picnic site car park on the edge of Caio Forest just past Caio near Pumsaint. The weather forecast indicated light rain showers with strong winds, and temperatures that would just about reach eight degrees during the day.  From the car park, the group crossed the footbridge over the Afon Rannell and went straight into a three-quarter of a mile uphill climb along a straight line and an almost constant gradient forestry track through Drysallt that ended at a gate into an open field on the crest of a ridge. They entered the field from the shelter of the forestry into the strong wind and from this point, at a height of three hundred and forty metres, there were some good views over the Cothi Valley below and the surrounding hills beneath dark clouds.  Heading downhill across a couple of fields, a well-established track appeared which zigzagged down the hill through the farmyard of Glan-meddyg to meet a quiet country road. Here they turned right for an impressive view up the Cothi Valley and an easy saunter along the road for about one and a quarter miles gently dropping down onto the floor of the Cothi valley crossing the Afon Cothi, to the little hamlet of Cwrt Y Cadno with its impressive Methodist chapel.

From this point it was a right turn to a southeasterly direction, crossing the road bridge over the river Cothi again, to start another climb. Their route led through the court yard of a private house and out onto the fields beyond to pick up an old green lane that slowly led up the hillside of Rhiw Garegog with a strong northerly wind blowing behind them.  The views up the valley improved as they arrived at a ridge between Pen Cerrigdiddos and Cefn Y Bryn at a height of three hundred and ninety three metres.  At this point the terrain changed dramatically as they were now faced with the bleak, featureless, open moorland on Mynydd Mallaen directly ahead of them to the northeast, but the group turned to a southerly direction to cross very marshy moorland with the strong cold wind now whipping across them. Richard’s navigational skills led the group safely across this area, with not even a sheep track to follow, to reach a ford in the stream at Rhyd Ddu which is a deep non-maintained ford in the upper reaches of the river Gwenlais. The only way to cross the river was by walking through the ford or taking a chance walking swiftly across the tops of the tussocks of reed grass of the marsh surrounding each side of the crossing. Fortunately the river level was down and the crossing was reasonably easy and uneventful.  Safely across the stream they reached the hillside of Esgair Ferchon where they contoured around the hillside on crude tracks that guided them on their way westward now head on into the wind. 

As they approached Caeo Forestry the moorland improved, then become a green bank which diverted the group onto a track that led them to a gate in a forestry fence that allowed them access into the Caeo Forest. Once inside the forestry the wind dropped completely and they soon found a sheltered cwtch where they stopped for lunch.  In the afternoon, they continued through the forest on an easy-to-follow track along Banc Bronffin for the last two miles back to the starting point.
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From Caio we followed a long uphill forestry track.
Our reward was the wonderful views on the open land above the forestry.
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After a light shower we were treated to this rainbow.
We enjoyed views of the hills going off into the distance.
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At times today's route followed quiet country lanes.
At other times it crossed open moorland in the strong northerly winds.
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Sarah demonstrates good bog-hopping technique.
Our final leg was a gentle downhill saunter in the sunlight.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Caio 8,5m.gpx  

Saturday, 1st December
On Saturday 1st December, eleven year old Eiros Morgan and thirteen year old Ffion Morgan led the Ramblers on a six-mile (or seventeen thousand plus steps) walk in the Llangunnor area of Carmarthen; whilst grandparents Pat and David Bush kept a watchful eye from the middle of the group. Weather wise, the day was grey and overcast with the threat of drizzling rain not far away, but the temperature was up to an unseasonable ten degrees.   After leaving the hustle and bustle of the busy A484 near Morrison’s, the route covered quiet roads and footpaths in the Llangunnor area.  Following the Llangunnor Community Council’s first Newsletter recently circulated, an invitation had been extended to them to join the walkers to assess some of the footpaths in the area covered by this walk. As a result of the invitation the group was accompanied throughout the walk by Llangunnor Community Councillor Lee Whatley.

The walk started from Morrison’s car park in Pensarn from where they followed the Wales Coast Path signs, passing through the subway under the A48 near the busy Pensarn roundabout. They left the coast path at the foot of Babell hill and walked the full length of Penymorfa Lane – passing the school - to its junction with the B4300 – Heol Llangynnwr, just past the decorating centre.  Crossing the road here, they located a gate that gave access to the fields of Ty Gwyn Farm, and their route took them across a footbridge over a tributary of the Towy and over the brow of a hillock to pass behind the farmyard of Ty Gwyn where they met a quiet country road. Following the road briefly for a couple of hundred metres, they crossed the fields of Parc-y- groes farm and skirted around the side of the hill to reach the approach road to Llangunnor Church. They stopped in the churchyard here to admire the view of Abergwili on the opposite side of the Towy Valley and the view up the valley as far as the low cloud allowed, over the flooded fields.  They left the Church and continued along the road down Bryn-Towy to meet the B4300 road at Pant, and just a hundred metres further down the road located the service lane to Nant farm and followed the route past the farm to reach a lane that led uphill into the old lead mining area east of Tyllwyd Farm, where they stopped to inspect the shaft of an old mine. 

There was a light drizzling shower as their route now crossed a couple of fields, climbing uphill to reach a quiet country road near Green Hill and Swn y Gwynt. Turning westwards they walked about half a mile to reach the road junction with Heol Llangynnwr and Heol Login just above Brandon Hire, and crossed the road into Login Road and located a stile into the field just beyond Bank Trailers.  The path contoured around the side of a hill and passed through two fields overlooking the busy A484 dual carriageway traffic rushing below, before crossing a country road near a radio mast into the fields of Bolahaul farm, as they descended the hillside to pass through the farmyard to reach Bolahaul Road. Here they turned towards Cwmffrwd and followed the road over the A48 dual carriageway; then picked up a footpath that ran alongside the dual carriageway to reach Pibwrlwyd Lane, and followed that up past the college to meet the A484 Llanelli road and the coast path and followed that back to the start.
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We began in Pensarn but soon left the town behind.
Someone should tell Peter that he can just walk around this stile.
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At Llangunnor we had a good view of the flooded Tywi Valley.
After visiting the church we stopped for a group photo.
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This track took us past an old lead mining area.
An occasional light shower didn't dampen our spirits.
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It was warm, for December, and the views were good.
This lttle chap at Bolahaul watched us as we passed by.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Llangunnor 6m.gpx  

Sunday, 26th November
On Sunday 25th November, Carolyn and Dennis Hills led the Carmarthen ramblers on an eight-mile circular walk in the area south of Llangadog - a good part of which is now marked as the Heart of Wales Line Trail. The walk included riverside paths, a long ascent, a short section of the Beacons Way and good views. The weather was fine with temperatures down to five degrees with a cold easterly breeze blowing down the Towy valley.  The walk started from near the new bridge over the Afon Sawdde on the Carreg Sawdde Common from where they took a footpath on the western side of the Sawdde as they headed in a southerly direction towards the Black Mountain alongside the river for about a quarter of a mile, passing some weirs, before they left the common at Penybont. Here they met a quiet country road for some easy road walking for about half a mile, then started a gentle ascent as they passed Wernellyn and located a “new footpath” that was well-marked as it passed around the farmyard but through the fields of Wernellyn and Pen-y-banc.  They continued southwards into the valley and crossed a country road, passing the site of a Roman Villa at Llysbrychan, then through fields and over a ladder style into woodland to the start of a two-mile ascent. It started with a steep leafy path that led up to reach a sunny rocky convenient spot for a coffee break with views over looking Carregfoelgam farm and then a linking lane that brought them onto a narrow road that ended after few hundred metres and became a rugged track. The track ran diagonally across Careg-foel-gam and as they ascended the hillside, the magnificent sight of Carn Goch came into view to the west. When they reached the highest point of the day - at two hundred and sixty metres - they stopped for lunch on a bank overlooking Carn Goch with its two hill forts - Y Gaer Fawr and Y Gaer Fach – standing out quite clearly and the Towy Valley just beyond.

In the afternoon they continued westward briefly and met the route of the Beacons Way, which started the return journey and the descent off the hillside down a bridleway to reach a country road at Garn-wen on the edge of the Carn Goch common.  There was about a mile of easy downhill walking until they crossed Nant Gydrych and reached the valley road at Pant-Meredith. Here they turned left along the road for about half a mile towards Bethlehem before reaching a stile that gave access to a field with a gentle climb up to the Bethlehem to Llangadog road. Once on the road, it was easy to spot the next footpath link that led them on a wide sweeping arc into a north easterly direction for about a mile and a quarter as they descended the hillside through Long Wood, then past Dolau Farm and Bryngwyn Farm to emerge from the countryside into the hamlet of Felindre where they followed the road for the last quarter of a mile back to the start on Carreg Sawdde Common.
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We began by crossing the Afon Sawdde at Carreg Sawdde Common.
Leaving the Bethlehem Road we briefly followed a minor lane.
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Soon we headed cross country on a recently diverted footpath.
Above Llysbrychan we enjoyed our coffee stop in the sunshine.
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Time for a group photo before we headed further south.
A great view looking across the iron age fort of Garn Goch.
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We used paths marked as part of the Beacons Way and/or Railway walks.
At Bryngwyn Farm we walked past this dazzling display of berries.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Llangadog South 8m.gpx

Sunday, 18th November
On Sunday 18th November, Pat & David Bush led the ramblers on an eight mile walk on north Gower in search of some aerial views over the Loughor estuary. They walked in bright autumn sunshine with clear blue skies, and even with a cold easterly wind blowing temperatures still hit a mild ten degrees centigrade.  The walk started from the Community Centre in Llanmorlais on the B4295, about a mile and a half further on than Penclawdd.  They took a lane that passed Tirzah Chapel and then crossed Station Road into a well-used, ironed footpath towards Penclawdd on what was once the bed of the now dismantled railway line. This stretch lasted for about half a mile before their route led uphill across two fields to the derelict Hermon Chapel. Stopping occasionally on the ascent, they looked back over the improving view of Llanrhidian Marsh and Whitford National Nature Reserve.  On the other side of the chapel the ascent continued onto the Iron Age earthwork of Pen y gaer at a height of ninety metres, where they stopped to enjoy the wonderful scenery of the Burry estuary and its surrounding  salt marshes with a tide that had started to flow into the estuary. There was good visibility for clear views. Directly across the estuary was the Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre of Penclawdd, with the unmistakeable landmark of Trostre steelworks behind. Looking westwards along the coastline, Machynys stood out clearly, as did Llanelli, Pwll, Burry Port and Pembrey right down to the start of Cefn Sidan Sands at Pembrey Burrows. The footpath contoured around the hillside then through a road of quiet terraces of houses above the village of Penclawdd and passed through the grounds of a house in Pen-y-lan to meet a road at Nant-y-Felin, the site of the seventeenth century mill. They followed this road uphill for a few hundred metres then a woodland footpath that cut into a quiet valley briefly, before meeting a quiet country road just below the Hamlet of Blue Anchor.  There was about a half mile of country lane walking until they reached Tir-cethin at a sharp bend in the road, where they left the road and cut through the farmyard and onto the fields beyond down into a quiet valley. On the valley floor they crossed a steam to the opposite bank, and continuing in a southerly direction they now started a short sharp hill climb. They walked across two fields to reach the road that links Three Crosses with Blue Anchor and turned westwards along the road for a hundred metres or so, then located a lane that led down into a well-maintained wooded valley where they stopped for lunch on a sunny bank, with a view over the quiet valley.

In the afternoon they carried on down into the valley towards Fairwood Common to reach a footbridge that crossed a simple bridge near a confluence of two unnamed streams on the upper reaches of the Morlais River, and onto a footpath that led out to open moorland. Walking due south straight into the sun, they crossed the moor for about a quarter of a mile to reach the Three Crosses to Llanrhidian road at Forgemill  Farm on Mynydd-Bach-y-Cocs. The pace picked up now as they strode out along the ridge road, heading westwards for about three quarters of a mile, passing the derelict chapel of Carmel, to reach the entrance to Cerrig Mān where they crossed a couple of fields as they descended the hillside into Morlais valley, passing around Cerrig Mān Farm and crossing the river Morlais before ascending the opposite side of the valley to reach St Gwynour’s Church in Blue Anchor. The final leg of the walk was through a series of paths to Cefn-bychan to reach a quiet country road that after a mile led back to the derelict Hermon chapel. They passed through the cemetery and emerged onto a footpath that circled downhill, through the fields to Gelli-orllwyn farm, then back into Llanmorlais where they retraced their steps back to the car park.
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We paused on our first hillside for a group photo in dazzling sunshine.
As we climbed we enjoyed wonderful views of the estuary to the west.
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We could also see eastwards far inland beyond Lloughor Bridge.
Past Penclawdd we enjoyed this pretty woodland footpath.
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Our lunch stop was on a sunny bank with a view over the valley.
This wide woodland track was a good place to enjoy a chat.
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Today's varied walk even included a footpath across moorland.
At the hamlet of Blue Anchor we went past St. Gwynour's Church.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Gower_Llanmorlais 8m.gpx

Saturday, 17th November
On Saturday 17th November Heather Lloyd-Gingell led a five mile walk in the stunning eight hundred acre estate Dinefwr Park area that included Newton House, Dinefwr Castle, and the surrounding parkland with ancient woodland - home to the some trees that are over four hundred years old.  The walk started from the carpark at Dynevor Farm just off the link road from the A40 into Llandeilo, from where they picked up a track that headed in a westerly direction that led them to a cowshed where the White Park Cattle were resting on view.  They continued along the track that passed between two stone pillars then onto a footpath that led into woodland, and as they progressed they reached the Ice House. In days gone by ice taken from the river would have been stored here. The group continued on, passing through a high fenced double gate lock into the rookery overlooking the hundred acre medieval Deer Park. As they walked through woodland overlooking the Deer Park they were able to view the herd of fallow deer grazing quite contently.  At the lower end of the Deer Park they arrived at the pump house just below the lake but above the fields forming part of the Towy floodplain, where the small lakes on the plain edges add more beauty and interest to the landscape. An ideal spot for a coffee break. 

They changed direction and picked up the boardwalk around a lake past castle oak - the oldest tree on the estate aged between 800- 850 years old - to reach a metal gate that gave access to a road.  They turned right here onto a hill with a well-trodden path directly ahead.  The path meandered through beautiful woodland onto a path that led up to Dinefwr Castle. After exploring the castle (now managed by CADW) they stopped for lunch at the picnic site just outside the castle with excellent views over the Towy Valley below them.

In the afternoon they made their way back down the hillside, retracing their steps through the woodland and past the gate to the boardwalk, as they now made their way up the road to the visitor centre. There were some amusing little tree houses on view in this area beside the footpath.  Their route then took them past Newton House and the large field where the famous White Park Cattle normally graze, onto a footpath that followed the perimeter of the field and eventually brought them to a collection of old farm buildings at Home farm - the historic heart of all the farm work completed on the grounds.
Turning left here they reached the end of the walk as they returned to the car park.
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Today's walk began near Llandeilo under sunshine and blue skies.
In Dinefwr Park we passed a large herd of fallow deer.
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Before long we had a glimpse of Newton House through the trees.
It was a pleasure to chat while strolling through Dinefwr parklands.
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Before stopping for lunch we explored the remains of Dinefor Castle.
There is still evidence of flooding in the Towy Valley below.
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Look carefully and you will see several fairy doorways on these trees.
In the afternoon we walked past magnificent Newton House.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Dinefwr 4,5m.gpx  

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