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Relax in the “Garden of Wales”

The National Botanic Gardens of Wales in CarmarthenshireBotanic Gardens in Carmarthenshire

Beautiful, rural Carmarthenshire is known as the “Garden of Wales”. With its gently rolling countryside, sparkling rivers, quaint villages, agricultural and grazing land, not to mention some stunning private and public gardens, this is a perfect place to relax and unwind. Planning a quiet break away recently, I came across Blaencwm Mawr Cottage, situated on the owners’ smallholding just outside the village of Penrhiwllan, with friendly local inhabitants, a very good convenience store/Post Office, and a pub serving meals. Perfect.

Blaencwm Mawr Cottage is a real gem! Single storey, it was ideal for my elderly mother and disabled dog (it is sometimes hard to know which of them has the worst problems and both have a rather lopsided gait!). The cottage has a small conservatory, ideal for sitting and reading when it is not quite warm enough to sit outside in the enclosed garden. For chillier evenings, there is a wood burning stove in the impressive stone fireplace, but the real ‘heart of the home’ is the farmhouse kitchen, with plenty of space for both cooking and dining. The ‘Welcome’ was delightful: after a ghastly journey through torrential rain, we were welcomed by a basket of goodies from the garden and the local store – free range eggs from the owners’ hens, home-made jams and marmalade as well as freshly baked local bread, Welsh butter and Welsh cakes. Little vases of flowers – from the garden and surrounding fields – were dotted about the cottage, too. 

The rain did not last – thank goodness! On the following morning we were able to walk – or lollop in the case of Berry, our wonky Springer Spaniel – in the surrounding fields, admiring the wonderful views over the mist-filled valley. We enjoyed relaxing in the enclosed rear garden, throwing a ball for Berry after shooing away the chickens before he helped himself to one for dinner! The cottage is approached via a path through a lovely front garden, with flowers and foliage in a variety of colours and textures. The cottage and its gardens are both beautifully presented.The glorious weekend weather was perfect for a trip to the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Situated just outside Carmarthen, this is a real ‘must-see’ for any keen gardener and those of us who are not particularly green-fingered can still appreciate the beautiful surroundings, impressive glasshouse and far-reaching views. The Garden was reached after a pleasant drive through deeply wooded river valleys, undoubtedly inhabited by fairies! 

Carmarthenshire is also home to Aberglasney Gardens, at Llangathen. These impressive gardens include a Yew Tunnel through the convoluted trees and branches of the trees (another fairy residence, perhaps!), the ‘Nynfarium’, a sub-tropical indoor garden (and a home to nymphs?) and Cloister Garden, where plants and shrubs complement the architectural features and ancient ruins.There are many more gardens, mansions and parks to enjoy in the “Garden of Wales” and after a long day’s meandering through floral beds and leafy glades, sit back and relax in one of Wales Cottage Holidays’ recommended cottages in this beautiful, unspoilt but little known part of the country. Blaencwm Mawr Cottage, my ‘home from home’ on this occasion, is in North Carmarthenshire, within easy reach not only of the lovely gardens and countryside, but also only a short drive to the stunning West Wales beaches at Aberaeron, Aberporth and New Quay. Blaencwm Mawr Cottage has availability for the summer and is now also taking bookings for 2019. Take a look at some of our other Carmarthenshire properties, including:

  • Brodeg, near Cardigan [WAT304], a pleasant bungalow with enclosed garden
  • Beudy, near Llandeilo [WAW313], on a smallholding and with a ‘crog lofft’ bedroom above the living room
  • The Byre, near Llandovery [WAW317], also on the owners’ smallholding with lovely valley views
  • Cothi View, near Llandeilo [WAW318], with nearby abbey ruins and ideal for a visit to the Dolaucothi Gold Mines
  • The Mill at Glynhir, near Ammanford [WAW320/WAW321/WAW322 – flexible accommodation sleeping 6, 8 or 12], with golf course nearby