Report of the Carmarthen U3A “Trek” of the Carmarthen section of the Wales Coast Path.
In early 2014 the group decided to walk the Carmarthenshire section of the path as a project. This would be from Amroth to Lougher Bridge, a distance of approximately 70 miles. We agreed to do so on alternative months and try to keep the distance to about 5 miles for each walk. The leaders for this venture were Eric and Jenny Anscombe. With the exception of two sections we were able to use the local bus services.
Section 1 : “Amroth to Marros Church” We started the project on the 27th May 2017 from Amroth to St Lawrence Church, Marros. We visited the church and we were also given information on a “petrified forest’ which was visible at low tide.
Section 2 : July 2014 : “Marros Church to Pendine “ We climbed to the highest point at 410 metres. From here we had wonderful views of Pendine Sands, the Black Mountains and the western end of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Along the way we came to Morfa Bychan beach, where Allied Forces practised for the Normandy Landings in 1944.
Section 3: September 2014 : “Pendine to Laugharne “ We followed the ‘dragon shell’ waymarks along the pavement to Llanmiloe. Information boards explained the links between the coastal path and the M.O.D. As we approached Laugharne we could see Dylan Thomas’s Boathouse and followed the Dylan Thomas ‘birthday walk’ down to the foreshore in Laugharne.
Section 4 : November 2014 :” Laugharne to St. Clears.” We passed the Dylan Thomas ‘writing shed and boathouse’ through fields to “Delacorse”, a lovely garden which is often open to visitors under the National Garden Scheme. We walked around Whitehill Down which is an SSSI site and arrived in St Clears.
Section 5 : February 2015 : “St.Clears to Llandeilo Abercowin”. At the beginning of this section we visited the medieval motte and bailey castle in St.Clears. After walking across several fields we finished at Pilgrims Rest where the farmer had kindly allowed us to park. We visited the ruins of St.Teilo’s Church which served pilgrims on their way to St. Davids in Pembrokeshire.
Section 6 : April 2015 : ” Abercowin to Llansteffan”. We walked around the Llansteffan ‘peninsular walk’ and made a short diversion to the village of Llanybri to visit Yr Hen Capel. We returned to the path and continued on to Wharley Point where the rivers Taf and Towy meet and shortly after arrived in Llansteffan.
Section 7 : May 2015 : “Llansteffan to Llangain”. We parked in the village of Llangain and took a bus back to Llansteffan; leaving the village via a bridleway and looking back to splendid views of Llansteffan castle, the Towy Estuary and across to Ferryside and the Gower. We reached Dolau Farm and followed field paths to the B4312 road. We shortly accessed a steep uphill lane to arrive in Llangain.
Note : These sections left the Coast Path and followed the river Towy through Carmarthen Town.
Section 8 : July 2015 : “Llangain to Carmarthen ” From Carmarthen bus station we took a bus to Llangain. Starting from the village hall we paused at St Cain’s Church. Taking a farm track we passed barns and crossed a stream to enter a field with cows, calves and a very large bull! We entered Green Castle woods and eventually emerged to cross the B4312 road with views along the Towy valley, with Carmarthen Town in the distance. After a short board walk we carefully negotiated a mile walk along the B4312 road to a drive near Alton House to follow the Coast path alongside the River Towy into Carmarthen Town.
Section 9 : September 2015 : “Carmarthen to Upland Arms.” This section took us from Carmarthen to Towy Nursing home , Upland Arms. The owner of the home kindly allowed us to park there. We caught a bus back to Carmarthen and walked over the King Morgan footbridge passing the railway station along the A484, turning off through the village of Croesceilog. This involved 4 miles of road walking, but eventually we had views of the river Towy and crossed several fields to reach Towy Castle.
Section 10 : November2015 : ” Upland Arms to Ferryside” Parking in Ferryside we took a bus back to Upland Arms. Starting on a lane to Gellilednais – a large country house – we followed fields to a steep staircase of 53 steps, then crossed 2 bridges and several muddy fields to arrive at Pentrecwm Farm. Here we had excellent views of the river Towy and Llansteffan. We descended along a lane towards the railway line and salt marshes to arrive in Ferryside.
Section 11 : March 2016 : ” Ferryside to Kidwelly ” We used the bus again in Kidwelly to take us back to Ferryside. We made our way to a flight of steps which led into a field. We crossed several fields to Pengay Farm with its 18th century barns and a large ‘fisherman’s bell’. We crossed a wooded valley to climb the fields to the village of Llansaint, which is 100 metres above sea level. Fine views of Pembrey Forest and Pembrokeshire coast were enjoyed. We joined a track and a road to reach a path alongside the river Gwendraeth to enter Kidwelly.
Section 12 : May 2016 “Kidwelly ” We were unable to continue the route as planned because of a recent change to the official route. This would have made the distance too great for one journey. We did however complete a further 2 miles of the Coast Path and then made a circular walk around Kidwelly.
Section 13 : June 2016 “Kidwelly to Pembrey.” After parking at Pembrey we caught a bus back to Kidwelly. Starting out from the top of the town we made our way along the pavement to the raised path that contours Pembrey Airport. We passed a pillbox and anti-tank blocks before entering Pembrey Forest. We arrived at Pembrey Sands for a 2 mile walk along the beach, when the weather deteriorated and we battled through strong winds and heavy rain to reach Pembrey Country Park.
Section 14 : August 2016 ” Pembrey to Pwll (Nr. Llanelli ). The cars were parked at the King George V recreation ground and we bussed back to Pembrey and walked through the Country Park passing the Ski Centre along the burrows and passed Pembrey harbour. We continued along the coast to Burry Port harbour. We paused to look at the memorial plaque to Amelia Earhart who, in 1928, made the first trans-atlantic air crossing by a woman and landed nearby. We passed the yacht club and lighhouse and terminated the walk at the recreation ground at Pwll.
Section 15 : October 2016 : Pwll to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Penclacwydd (Nr.Llanelli). Here we were able to use the “Dial A Bus ” service to take us back to Pwll. We set off along the Millenium Coast Path, passing by the 16 acre lake at Sandy Water Park and the Discovery Centre at North Dock. Further along the path there was a sign commemorating the 6th century monastery of St Pirs. We also stopped at an information board giving the history of the Vaughan Family and Sir Thomas Stepney, a local industrialist. We passed by Machynys golf club and a notice explaining the disappearance of Bwllch Y Gwynt, a village that stood there from 1880 to 1973 and which was moved to make way for the golf course following the decline of local industries. We could see the Trostre steel plant and then duly arrived at the Wetlands Centre.
Section 16 : February 2017 : “The Wetlands Centre , Penclwydd to Lougher Bridge” .This was the final section of the Carmarthenshire Coast Path. We started from Penclacwydd for a short walk to Lougher Bridge. However the weather deteriorated and we walked in the rain to our destination ie the border between Carmarthenshire and Swansea County, sheltering under the bridge for a final photo opportunity. This photo and a short report appeared in the summer edition of Third Age Matters. As we retraced our steps to Penclacwydd, the weather improved and we enjoyed seeing the birds on the estuary including egrets, godwits, curlews and a variety of ducks.
Notes.: Throughout the 70 mile section of the All Wales Coast Path we managed to keep the walks to about 5-mile stretches and apart from one section were able to use local bus services. The average number of walkers varied between ten and twenty. The weather also varied from bright sunshine to strong winds, heavy rain or showers. After every walk we used local cafes/restaurants for an enjoyable light lunch and a debriefing. It was a successful and enjoyable project by Carmarthen U3A.