Real people, real places, amazing hiking – discover Carmarthenshire

Discover authentic Wales with a visit to Carmarthenshire – a walking-friendly destination steeped in Welsh history, character and culture 

Hiking in Brecon Beacons National Park

by James Forrest |
Updated on

Unmistakably Welsh and always welcoming, Carmarthenshire is a county full of Welsh history and charm: a Welshness which can be seen, heard, sensed and tasted in everyday life.

It’s a place where you’ll hear Welsh spoken at the local pubs, refuel on delicious home cooked locally sourced food in local eateries, and sleep well at cosy cottages, bed and breakfasts or a boutique coastal hotel

Carmarthenshire is a county in south-west Wales beloved for its natural beauty. You can really get away from it all in rural Carmarthenshire,  hike through unbelievable landscapes and pause for panoramic views that will leave you breathless.

You could, perhaps, look at Carmarthenshire as a kind of microcosm for the whole of Wales. It has a  steep coastline with sweeping beaches and sand dunes, verdant countryside with an egg-box-like topography, mountains, valleys, ancient market towns, manicured gardens, rivers that range from the white-watered and boulder-filled to the meandering – and there are castles in every corner too.

Unsurprisingly then, this section of south-west Wales makes for fine walking country. Head west if it's more of a countryside ramble that you're after - a pub-to-pub route, perhaps - or go south if you're in search of some sea air. For the best views, climb the Carmarthen Fans on the western edge of Bannau Brecheiniog National Park or head north to the Cambrian mountains to truly escape off-grid.

Hiking in Carmarthen

There are amazing walks within Carmarthenshire, or it can be used as a perfect base to explore outside the county’s boundaries – the Brecon Beacons, Black Mountains, Gower Peninsular, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and so much more on the doorstep.

7 of the best Carmarthenshire walks

If that hasn’t sold the idea to you yet, here are 7 of the best walks in Carmarthenshire, combining authentic Welshness with good food, great walks and genuine vibes. Or, in other words, there are first-class options for every hiker out there, whether you’re an off-grid adventurer, coastal walker or countryside explorer.

1. CARMARTHEN FANS

Llyn y Fan Fach
Llyn y Fan Fach

Located in the western Brecon Beacons, a group of five remote hills are known locally as the Carmarthen Fan. Collectively Fan Hir (761m), Fan Brycheiniog (802m), Picws Du (749m), Waun Lefrith (677m) and Garreg Las (635m) form a delightful circular walk along a striking escarpment edge, with evidence all around of how the landscape was carved by the glacial action of the last Ice Age. You also get dramatic views from the escarpment edge of two lakes: Llyn y Fan Fawr and Llyn y Fan Fach. The latter is shrouded in Welsh legend and lore, home to the mythical Lady of the Lake.

2. LLANSTEFFAN COAST AND CASTLE

LLANSTEFFAN COAST
LLANSTEFFAN COAST

What better time of year to sample the best of the Wales Coastal Path around Llansteffan than in spring and summer? A delightful coastal walk taking in the imposing Norman Castle with staggering views across Carmarthen Bay and St Anthony’s well whose water is said to cure many ills. Along the way lies the quiet, secluded, golden sands of Scott’s Bay. For a proper seaside experience, head straight off the beach for freshly-cooked fish and chips from Florries or head to Inn at the Sticks for a more Gastro pub experience.

3. LAUGHARNE

Laugharne Carmarthen
Laugharne

Spring and summer are perfect times to visit the township of Laugharne, home to the region’s great poet Dylan Thomas. Follow the route of Thomas’ favourite walk as once described in A Poem in October. Expect lovely views across the estuary to Laugharne Castle and the landscape that inspired this literary legend. Finish your walk with a visit to the Boathouse in Laugharne, where he spent the last years of his life between 1949-1953. There’s a charming little teashop in the museum, and Dexter’s at Browns is one of many atmospheric pubs offering great food in Laugharne.

4. KIDWELLY

Kidwelly Castle
Kidwelly Castle

This trail takes in medieval castles, picturesque riversides and delightful wildlife. You’ll visit Carmarthenshire’s most complete medieval castle which featured at the start of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Finish the walk along Kymer’s canal and quay – one of the oldest in Britain – which now welcomes you as a nature reserve. It’s a real favourite with birdwatchers and spring and summer are ideal times to visit as the birds flock to the estuary and marshlands. To refuel head to Parc y Bocs it serves breakfasts, lunches, Sunday roasts and tea and cakes made to order, using the abundance of fresh ingredients available from local producers.

5. TWM SIÔN CATI CAVE

Twm Sion Cati cave
Twm Sion Cati cave

Did you know Wales has had its very own Robin Hood? The highwayman Twm Siôn Cati was notorious in the area and this walk takes in the glorious woodland and along the River Tywi up to the highwayman’s cave. Make sure to pass through the Gwenffrwd Dinas RSPB Nature Reserve too. A visit to the woodlands of Dinas in May is an opportunity to see the carpets of bluebells, a stunning violet haze beneath the trees.

6. TALLEY

Talley lakes
Talley lakes

The skeletal remains of Talley Abbey stand in an idyllic setting beside Talley’s twin lakes. Three walking trails nearby will take you to a viewpoint where you can enjoy impressive views of the ruins and the Cothi Valley, a beautiful unspoilt part of Carmarthenshire. Talley’s two lakes are havens for wildlife,the Lower Lake is a Nature Reserve managed by the West Wales Wildlife Trust. After your walk there are a plethora of pubs in the town of Llandovery – in the 19th century it's believed there were 70 to choose from!

7. LLANDEILO ANDDINEFWR CASTLE

Carmarthen castles
Dinefwr Castle

No trip to Carmarthenshire is complete without a walk around Dinefwr park and Castle, once the seat of a regional prince and now a picturesque ruin with fantastic views of the Tywi Valley. Keep an eye out for the fallow deer and ancient breed of White Park cattle that can be viewed from the grounds of Newton House a National Trust property within Cabability Brown landscape gardens. Wind your way back through to Llandeilo town, a chic bustling market town bursting with galleries, craft shops, fashion boutiques and wonderful cafes and eateries. Check out Pitch Fork and Provision, Davis and Co and Cegin Diod for a start!

Find out more about exploring this wonderful part of Wales at www.discovercarmarthenshire.com

Carmarthenshire County Council
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