Summer may nearly be over, with leaves changing colour from green to gold and the nights gradually drawing in, but the county of Carmarthenshire in South West Wales is still bustling with things to do and places to stay to make the most of the Autumnal scenery.
From a new collection of cottages with forest and mountain walks from their doorsteps to seasonal foraging courses, alfresco Autumn picnics, adventurous forest mountain biking, orchard celebrations and a new Antiques and Brocante Treasure Trail to follow, ideal for any Autumn downpours, there is plenty to keep you entertained in Wales.
Autumn Walks and NEW Cosy Cottages
In the foothills of the Cambrian mountains, overlooking the Brecon Beacons, are three newly restored self-catering cottages within 70 acres of private woodland. Each boast a stylish stay for those craving peace, quiet and plenty of fresh air complete with quirky double bedrooms, spoiling claw-foot baths, warming wood burners and private gardens, one with a woodfired hot tub, making it the perfect place to admire the countryside’s changing colours. Take a simple stroll up the hill for 360 degree views of the surrounding woodland or pack a picnic and join one of the local walking tracks to discover deep valleys and a waterfall hidden within the Cwm Rhaeadr Forest.
Plus, the Llandysul and Pont-Tyweli Walking Weekend runs from 27-29 September, offering a variety of guided walks in the county including exploring “Hidden Llandysul” with the local history society and walking along the coastal path to Cwmtydu. Walks start from just £4 per person.
There’s still availability during the autumn. For example, a 3-night break from 03-06 October is priced from £270 based on two sharing The Reading Room or from £398 based on four sharing Glan-yr-afon on a self-catering basis. Book via www.cambrianescapes.co.uk or call 01550 720 712.
Antiques & Brocante Treasure Trail
On 19 July, the National Botanic Garden of Wales hosted BBC’s Antiques Roadshow Tour. To celebrate, the county has launched an Antiques and Brocante Trail to showcase its best auctioneers, galleries, and antique shops; ideal for those with an interest in interiors as well as those keen to discover items from the past this Autumn. Whilst it is available to view as an online guide, visitors can also download an illustrated map to carry with them, detailing where each shop is located and its opening times.
Carmarthenshire also provides the perfect scenic backdrop for shopping trips; those seeking vintage, furniture and art will love trawling the antique stores of Llandeilo, boasting views towards the Brecon Beacons, whilst Newcastle Emlyn boasts vintage guitars, clothing, jewellery, kitchenalia. What’s more, on 20 October the Carmarthen Antiques & Flea Market is hosting the biggest antiques event in South Wales, with over 200 stalls to browse. The county has a handful of stylish hotels, B&Bs and cottages where shoppers can sit fireside in an antique rocker and sleep deep under a vintage Welsh blanket.
For example, The Drovers Arms B&B (a refurbished 17th century guesthouse in Llandovery) is priced from £65 for a single en-suite room and from £88 for a double en-suite room on a B&B basis. Book via www.droversllandovery.co.uk or call 01550 721115.
Alfresco Autumn Picnics with NEW Guide
Make the most of Carmarthenshire’s countryside by wrapping up warm and embracing the fresh air with an unusual all-weather picnic. The county has launched a Perfect Picnic Guide which offers free advice on where to roll out the picnic rug and pop open a flask of traditional Welsh Cawl this Autumn with locations including Scott’s Bay near Llansteffan beach, the banks of the River Teifi at Cenarth, the grounds of Laugharne Castle and Brechfa Forest. Take a thermos of soup or traditional Cawl, a loaf of fresh bread and Welsh chocolate from local delis including Wright’s Food Emporium and the Ferryman Deli and head off for uninterrupted views before warming toes by a fire in a cosy cottage or boutique country house B&B.
For example, Brown’s Hotel in Laugharne, close to the famous castle and Ferryman Deli, is priced from £95 per night based on two sharing a double room on a B&B basis. Book via www.browns.wales or call 01994 427688.
Autumnal ‘Sea & Tree’ Coastal Foraging
These ‘hands on’ Coastal Foraging courses combine a morning of wild foraging with a lesson in how to turn sustainable foodie finds into a delicious seaside snack whilst learning all about the seashore and searching rock pools, tidal mud flats and estuaries for wild ingredients before cooking up all foraged foods over fire in a sheltered sea cave, using biodegradable Swedish Candles. This season, Autumn ‘Sea and Tree’ courses (an unusual take on Surf and Turf) marries foraging for shellfish with searching for items that grow on nearby trees that border the shore including elderberries, rose hips, crab apples and hazelnuts. These ingredients are at their very best in Autumn because they have had all summer to feed on the abundance of plankton due to the recent sunshine.
Courses are priced from £80pp (free for children under 16) including 4-6 hours of foraging and lunch. Book via https://coastalforaging.co.uk or call 01994 427 417. Stay at the nearby Corran Resort & Spa, with rooms priced from £125 based on two sharing on a B&B basis. Book via www.thecorran.com or call 01994 427417.
Guided Mountain Biking in Brechfa Forest
Witness Carmarthenshire’s changing colours this Autumn on two wheels, exploring the Brechfa Forest and its award-winning cycle trails via mountain bike with MudTrek; a company specialising in catered mountain biking breaks. There are a variety of adventures to choose from, from simple bike hire and spending the day riding through the forest’s trails to guided rides for beginners and thrilling off-piste adventures for the more experienced, discovering ancient forests, picture-postcard villages and riding along sandy tracks, steep rocky steps and undulating Roman roads. Come evening relax in stylish barn accommodation and view footage of the days’ activities on a cinema screen in ‘The Mud Hut’. What’s more, there’s no need to worry about cooking, as two-course evening meals and packed lunches are all included.
Bike hire is available from £40 per day, whilst guided prices start from £95 per group per half day and from £150 per group per whole day based on up to seven riders with one guide. Two-night weekend stays start from £205pp on an all-inclusive basis with one guided ride. Book via www.mudtrek.com or call 07590 923604.
Autumn Orchard Event at Dinefwr Park and Castle
On Sunday 21 September, Dinefwr Park and Castle will be hosting a special ‘Orchard Event’ as a way to celebrate their home-grown produce. Throughout the day, there will be talks in the orchard from a local apple expert (Paul Davies) as well as apple pressing, apple juice tasting and much more. National Botanic Garden of Wales staff members will also be thee to highlight the garden’s impressive ‘Growing the Future’ project, which helps to champion Welsh horticulture.
Entry to Dinefwr Park and Castle starts from £7.60 per adult and £3.80 per child. The Orchard Event runs from 10am-4pm on 21 September. For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dinefwr or call 01558 824512.
Apple Weekend at National Botanic Garden of Wales
The National Botanic Garden of Wales is offering plenty to keep all ages busy this Autumn; combining garden walks with the chance to discover incredible tropical plants in the world’s largest glasshouse and check out its British Bird of Prey Centre, housing over 20 native birds of prey and offering guests close encounters with hawks, falcons, kestrels, kites, buzzards and a golden eagle. Plus, the Autumnal Apple Weekend is returning this October, with displays of around 400 ranges of apple, apple tastings and plenty of cider, plus bobbing competitions and an apple-themed quizzes for little ones.
Garden entry is priced from £11 per adult and £5 per child (aged between 5-16 years) children under five are free. The Apple Weekend takes place on 19 and 20 October with all activities included in the price of entry. Book via https://botanicgarden.wales or call 01558 668768.
Further details on what’s happening in Carmarthenshire during Autumn here.
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