Many visitors to Wales will have heard of the River Taff, which rises in the Brecon Beacons and flows south through Merthyr Tydfil to Cardiff; but whilst visiting West Wales, you will discover that there is another river with a similar name, the waters and banks of which provide much to enjoy.
The River Taf (often spelt Tâf with a circumflex on the a) rises in the Preseli Hills, near Crymych in north Pembrokeshire, where it makes a dramatic change of course – hence the translation of the village name: twisted stream.
Flowing more or less south, it passes the village of Llanfyrnach, then turns southwest through Glandŵr and Llanglydwen; it runs south past Login to Llanfallteg, where it takes another sharp turn to the south east, continuing with many little twists and turns to Whitland. Sticking to a mainly easterly course, it passes St Clears before turning southward past Laugharne to join with its neighbours, the Towy and Gwendraeth on the last stage of their journey to Carmarthen Bay.
Along the 30 miles of its course the Taf is augmented by many minor tributaries, widening out dramatically by the time it joins with the River Cywyn, and the last 9 miles or so are tidal, creating an estuary environment which is attractive to wildfowl and waders as well as seafaring humans.
There are interesting walks in the area of the river valley including the Landsker Borderlands trail which crosses it at Login.
Have a pint of real ale or a meal at the Plash Inn in Llanfallteg (01437 563 472) which reputedly has a range of gluten free options on its menu.
The Cardi Bach Railway
Dismantled in 1963, the railway which was originally started in 1870 at Whitland to connect with Glogue slate quarries and Llanfyrnach silver lead mines, reached Crymych in 1874, and extended to Cardigan in 1886. It follows the river valley for much of its route.
There is a great stretch of river starting at Login. You can paddle as far as Whitland (14km) or all the way to Laugharne (32km), enjoying the peace of the river and the scenery along its banks. See the canoewales.com website for details.
The River Taf is an excellent choice for worming, spinning and flyfishing for seatrout (sewin) and brown trout. You can find out more on the fishingthetaf.co.uk website. Of course it is necessary to obtain a rod licence – available from the Environment Agency and most post offices.
If you’d like to explore the Taf and its surrounding area, see our holiday cottages in Carmarthenshire for a great choice of self catering accommodation.