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" Swansea - 5 - Carreg Cennen "

Date & start time:    Sunday 24th March, 2019.

Location of Start :   Our son and daughter-in-law's new house, Ammanford, South Wales, UK.

Places visited :         A drive to Carreg Cennen and back.

Walk details :             Short local walks, to the castle and then down to the river.

Highest point :          Luke, feeling a lot better when we got back.

Walked with :             Ann and our dogs Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                    Sunshine and blue skies.

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Sunday dawned fine and bright as Dylan and Dougal are awoken from their slumbers by us arriving downstairs.

In fact they had spent the night in our bedroom but ended up with an extra lie-in on the playroom car mat.

- - - o o o - - -

Yesterday we had plans to visit a sandy beach

with grandson Luke and family, rather than with friends

as we did on Friday.  However Luke had other plans

and had a feverish and disturbed night.


In the absence of as local GP service on a Sunday

Gareth and Rhian phoned '111' and the lady on the other end

of the health line suggested an ambulance to take Luke

to see a GP at the local hospital.


They left reasonably promptly after a check by the ambulance crew

and as we could not help further, we stayed behind and locked the

house up, prior to having an afternoon out somewhere else ourselves.

(photo of a tired Luke and Dad in the waiting room, by Rhian)

- - - o o o - - -

We decided to stay more local and within range so set off to re-visit somewhere we hadn't been for twenty years or so . . .

Wales is famous for castles, most of which have been bashed about in their time.

Carreg Cennen, home to Welsh Princes, was first constructed in the 12th century, but there are signs of earlier

Iron Age and Roman fortresses.  The present structure mainly dates from the (English) King Edward 1st time, about 1277.

The end came in 1462 during the War of the Roses when the castle was vandalized by 500 Yorkist men

brandishing not swords but picks and crowbars.  It had been a Lancastrian hideout.

The castle sits on a limestone rock outcrop surrounded by good quality farmland.

Carreg Cennen is therefore unusual as you have to pass through the working farm to reach the attraction.

On the walk up to the castle Ann stops for a photo with Dylan and Dougal
. . . as she did in 1997 (same wall) with Layla and (broken-legged) Holly.
Ahead is the castle, which we approach
via the track, then a steep, defensive slope
up to the castle's very protective location.

Here we're in the outer ward of the castle, inside the first protective wall.

In the foreground is a deep ravine in the limestone summit rock and to the right are the steps and draw bridge that will lead us up into the castle.

The stonework in the centre foreground, beyond the ravine in the previous photo, turned out to be a lime kiln.

They would have needed considerable amounts of lime mortar for building and so they had constructed a kiln on site.

There would have been a stables, blacksmith and other ancillary buildings in this area too.

- - - o o o - - -


The view east from the ramparts is dramatic,

better today than Friday when we stopped for a short walk

at the parking area on the distant Black Mountain.

Then we took this reverse view

as we drove the road along this side of the hill,

past the white moorland building in the top photo.


- - - o o o - - -

Photographically 'zooming down' over the escarpment and down to the valley floor below,

where someone has constructed a teepee and a fine campsite next to the River Cennen.

Looking down the less vertical northern side.  As we climb the steps we can look down on the busy car park and the farm at the entrance to the castle.

They have a nice tearoom, meeting rooms and and outdoor seating area . . . but more of that later.

Looking east . . .
The drawbridge entrance to the castle
Looking west . . .

Into the inner keep and time to soak up the surroundings.

The view to the north west from the round tower . . .
. . . .and a large oven in the corner of the inner ward.

The oven would have been preheated by a fire inside and the ash raked out before baking (just like some modern pizza ovens !)

Another view of the inner ward of the castle from the other corner.

The area with the high gabled wall was the Grand Hall, with steps up to the chapel and the castle's main accommodation.

Dougal and Dylan wait . . .
. . . whilst Ann goes exploring.

Her view down from the chapel area on the high walkway.

- - - o o o - - -



As a castle, Carreg Cennen is fairly unique

in that includes within its walls

an underground passageway and cave

which you are free to visit . . .

don't forget your torch !

The steps to the cave leave from the corner of the inner ward.

Alongside the steep precipice we enter a covered walkway . . .
. . . then down some more steep steps into the cave.

The tunnel turns ninety degrees and dives deep below the ravine we saw in the outer ward earlier.

Stalagmite flows on the walls of the cave.
A calcite pool with ground water in it.

This would not have contained the main water supply for the castle due to the porous nature of the rock.

The purpose of enclosing the cave is still not fully understood.

- - - o o o - - -

At the end of the slippery passage is a small basin

into which a trickle of water flows, then promptly disappears.


Time to head back to the light.


The structure of the stonework under the steps of the passage

could have been built to include nesting areas for

pigeon or doves, which would have been part of the diet

of the inhabitants of the castle.


- - - o o o - - -

- - - o o o - - -

Back out into the sunlight and though we've left the castle, the surrounding area still hold delights to entertain.

The area is part of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the castle lies on one of the Brecon Beacons long distance footpaths.

We join the route of the path for a short walk down to the valley below.

Carreg Cennen Woods is a mixed woodland,

with oak growing well on the underlying sandstone and ash thriving better on the open limestone areas of the crags.

Dougal takes advantage of the seat for a better view.

- - - o o o - - -


Natural sculpture of the ancient oak tree to the left . . .



. . . and the more modern artwork

of a sheep engraving mounted on a stone

alongside the path.


- - - o o o - - -

Down to the River Cennen where there's a family already enjoying the fun of the water.

A brief stay for us then back over the bridge for the climb back up to the castle.

After all . . . there's a the chance of vegetable Welsh Cawl (soup) and bread at the farm tearooms

Shame the dogs weren't allowed inside as the gentle breeze was cold in the shade of the barn.

A last goodbye to the castle for today . . .
. . . as we make our way back through Llandybie village.

- - - o o o - - -

The village was home to an important colliery

and a large stone quarry, both of which have now closed.

There is a local memorial outside the old chapel

with an old coal dram from the mine and a fine early clock mechanism

from the lime quarry.

Interestingly I think I recall from somewhere that the swing of the pendulum

is once every 1.25 seconds, which the gearing mechanism

transfers into very accurate time on the face of the 1872 clock

- - - o o o - - -

We arrived back at Gareth's home to a very welcome sight . . .

He and Rhian have returned home

with a very much better looking grandson !

After a trying night and a long hot day at the hospital

they fancied a little stroll to the river to relax

and Luke was well enough to go along too.

This is the River Amman as it passes through the town of Ammanford.

There is a viewing platform overlooking this stretch of the river.

Luke has a small stick to throw in the river . . .
. . . and is well enough to walk some of the riverside path.

We return home with the sun setting over the local Tesco superstore . . . nothing if not romantic.

- - - o o o - - -

The following morning we take our leave and travel over the local mountain road to Swansea.

This is Gareth's preferred route to work and on a good day like today has fine views back over Ammanford.

From a small viewing area at the roadside we get a panoramic view north into mid-Wales.

Click here or on the photo above for a larger Loweswatercam annotated panorama

Up over the top of the mountain where there is a large wind farm.

Love them or hate them, they do serve a practical purpose on a windy day.

The down side is the proliferation of infrastructure . . .
. . . in order to transfer the power to the grid.

" Beauty and the Beasts "

We drop down into Swansea and the busy Swansea Valley commercial zone.

Below us, the Liberty Stadium of Swansea City Football Club.    (Link to club to impress my son !)

- - - o o o - - -


On our way through town

and before we head out towards the M4 motorway

we stop off to see Ann's ex-work colleague and good friend Gill

(sorry no pictures)


Then on to Bridgend where we called on

Ann's friend, and both Gareth and Jenna's Godmother, Ursula.


She's enjoying her mid-nineties

in the nursing home at Cae Bracla.


Dylan, PAT dog on holiday (and Dougal) joined in the visit, being warmly

welcomed by both staff and residents.

- - - o o o - - -

- - - o o o - - -

Hours later . . . the welcome sight of the Howgill Fells . . . as we drive the M6 north.

Welcome back to the Lakes and the saddleback shape of Blencathra, silhouetted against the late afternoon sun.

A fine mackerel sky as we approach Keswick.

Ahead is the familiar outline of Causey Pike through our slightly dirty windscreen . . . after well over eight hours we're nearly home.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix Tz60 Compact, or my Panasonic Gx8 mid-range System Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a friendly teashop at the end of a walk.

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - Swansea -2- Jeff and Gill

A previous time in the area - Sorry, April 97 pictures not on line (except the one above)

Next walk - 24th March - Swansea -3- Carreg Cennen & home

Next walk - 28/29th March Local with Jo, Dee & John