Six free places to visit in Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire is a popular holiday destination in West Wales and some of our hidden gems are so beautiful, they are completely priceless!

Here are 6 of our favourite free Pembrokeshire attractions:

The Blue LagoonBlue Lagoon Abereiddi Pembrokeshire

These deep greeny-blue waters are surrounded by a semicircle of natural rock and stone walls constructed during the life of a former quarry, now flooded. It is a picturesque location, with ruins dotted everywhere, amazing views out to sea, and the enticing lagoon to jump into!

The man-made wonder of the Blue Lagoon sits within Trwyn Castell promontory, to the north of Abereiddy beach. Now approximately 25m deep, this small former slate quarry fell into disuse and flooded when the sea broke through the outer wall over a hundred years ago. There was once a steam-hauled lift when the slate was exported across the beach and later by tram to Porthgain. Ruined quarry-workers’ houses near the beach, called ‘The Street’, were abandoned in the early 20th century.

There are surviving platforms built high into the natural rock walls from which coasteering groups love to jump. The lagoon has also hosted the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series – part of a worldwide stage that includes Copenhagen and La Rochelle. You can also spend time exploring the interesting geology at the site and hunt for fossils.

There is a busy car park which is uneven in places, alternatively, take the shuttle bus to the site, or find it on a lovely walk along the coast path.

Pentre Ifan WoodsPentre Ifan Burial Chamber with an elederly man standing underneath the rocks

Full of foxgloves, bluebells and other woodland flowers, these beautiful woods invite you to explore their depths and get lost among the trees. Mossy green hillocks and rounded, moss-covered rocks cover the floor under the glades of the short twisted oaks, themselves lichen-covered. In fact, it is hard to find anything that is not moss or lichen-covered in these parts!

Reminiscent of a fantasy, there are some delightful walks through this ancient woodland, where you almost expect to turn a corner to see hobbits and elves. The paths take you through glades and over streams, past outcrops of bedrock and evidence of old stone walls.

The broad-leaved woodland has over 400 species of lichen, attesting to its healthy atmosphere, as well as ferns, with information boards across the site.

Park near Canolfan Pentre Ifan education centre, set in a 600 year old former Tudor gatehouse, and walk through to Pentre Ifan Neolithic Burial Chamber. Alternatively, take a round walk from the monument, past a possible prehistoric fort and Ty Canol National Nature Reserve.

West Angle BayA view towards the sea from West Angle Bay

This idyllic little horseshoe cove can be found on the north-west corner of the Angle peninsula. This award-winning beach is perfect for a family holiday, surrounded by quiet farmland and with rocks with their striking geological formations extending out into the sea on each side.

The narrow stretch of beach at high tide turns into a wide expanse of beautiful sand at low tide, with plenty of room for beach cricket and kite flying. Swim, sail, canoe, surf or try a spot of sea fishing within these sheltered waters. The rocks are perfect for rock pools, and you can find your way through these rocks to the secret beach beyond – but don’t get cut off by the tide!

Look out to the impressive Napoleonic fort on Thorn Island, used in later years as a hotel. The beach is also a designated SSSI due to a small green starfish, found here in 1979. This safe sandy beach has a free car park, toilets, telephone, and pushchair and disabled access. There are strong currents, so make sure to check the tide times.

St Govan’s ChapelSt. Govan's Chapel below tall rocks

This tiny restored chapel has been built into a cliff and sits perched at the back of a steep, rock-strewn little cove, with views out to the beautiful blue sea. Steep steps lead down to the site and through the chapel, with its simple doorways and tiny slit windows, to the cove below.

Found on the south coast of the Pembroke peninsula near Bosherston and Barafundle Bay, the 13th-century chapel was built on the site of the hermit’s cell of St Govan, a sixth-century hermit. It is said that St Govan was an Irish monk travelling to visit St David when he was attacked by pirates. After a rock fissure opened up, enabling him to hide, he is then thought to have stayed out of gratitude, living within the cave and warning locals of further attacks. The small cave within this fissure has since been built over by the vaulted chapel.

Rumours link the saint to Gawain, one of King Arthur’s knights. Legends also tell of St Govan’s lost bell, perhaps entombed in one of the rocks at the shoreline. There is a simple small bell-tower on the chapel roof – but no bell! St Govan’s remains are thought to lie under the altar.

Walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and take the steps down to the little cove, or park at Broad Haven South or Bosherston village, and walk along the coast path or road.

Presipe Bay Secret BeachPresipe Bay secret beach with cliff edges on the left and a beautiful blue sea

To find some of the best secluded beaches you need to walk off the beaten track. For an adventurous day out, take a walk and explore this isolated secret beach. The amazing geology here is striking, with vertical striations running up the cliffs and popping up in the sand across the beach. The rocks strewn around the edge of the bay are a distinctive red colour.

Low tide is the best time to visit when the narrow beach widens to reveal a wide expanse of sand suitable for kite flying, epic sandcastles and The site is also great for surfing at low tide.

To find this secluded bay, park near Manorbier Youth Hostel, walk westwards along the coast path, past the MOD’s missile test firing facility at Manorbier Camp. Take the footpath across the fields and follow the steep, winding steps down to the rocks below. Alternatively, take a pretty walk around the cliffs from the car park at Manorbier village, with its historic/beautiful castle and Norman church.

The Witches’ Cauldronthe Wotches Cauldron Ceibwr, part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

This natural wonder is a green pool of tidal water, surrounded by sheer cliffs with the sea on one side and farmland on the other, to the south of Ceibwr Bay. It was created by the sea hollowing through soft rock to form a sea cave, which then collapsed to leave an open bowl.

Known as Pwll y Wrach, it is a tempting site for those who love to explore, while these waters are a great attraction for kayakers and canoeists. As you paddle along this stretch of coast, the narrow entrance is tricky to spot. The Cauldron is accessible at low tide through a narrow access channel, where there is a waterfall and a beach reached only by water. There is also a small water-filled cave into which you can squeeze yourself.

Pwll y Wrach can be found on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path if you fancy a scenic walk, where you are likely to spot bottlenose dolphins. The path takes you past the Cauldron one on side of a knife edge and the ocean on the other, with coastal wildflowers surrounding the exposed natural geology.

There is a bus from Cardigan to Fishguard from which you can walk the last mile, and roadside parking at Ceibwr. Alternatively, park at the nearby village of Moylgrove and walk for just over 1 km to the cliffs, where you can watch the choughs, or the seal pups in autumn, or winter waves crashing in. Nearby there are further caves, a natural spring, and the possible prehistoric enclosure of Castelltreruffydd.

For a relaxing holiday in this part of Wales, choose from a range of Pembrokeshire cottages.

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You could win a £250 holiday voucher in our first ever photo competition!

We really love West Wales, so to share the memories people have made in this beautiful little pocket of the world, we have launched our first ever photo competition!

We want to see your best photos of West Wales whether you live here yourself, like us, whether you’ve been here on holiday and loved the area or whether you’ve just driven through, spotted something beautiful and just had to take a snap – everyone can get involved!

Head over to our Facebook post to enter.West Wales Holiday Cottages photo competition

We’re so excited to see what you’ll send… good luck!

Terms and conditions of entry:
HOW TO ENTER: Post a photo you took in West Wales to the comments section of the competition post on our Facebook page showing us why you love West Wales telling us where it is and when you were there.

CLOSING DATE: The closing date for entries is midnight on 21 September 2017.

WINNER SELECTION: 3 photos will be shortlisted and will go to a public vote on Facebook after the closing date. Votes for the shortlisted photos will not be counted after 10am on 29 September 2017. The winner will be notified through Facebook Messenger on 29 September 2017. The winner must respond to the notification message within 7 days to accept the prize.

THE PRIZE: The prize is a £250 holiday voucher courtesy of West Wales Holiday Cottages to be used in payment for a holiday or holidays booked through West Wales Holiday Cottages. The voucher expiry date is 30 September 2019. No cash alternative.

The entrant must not use any image where copyright subsists unless the entrant is entitled to do so. If an entrant has any doubts about whether they have the right to include any content they must not include it. By including any such content in their entry, the entrant warrants that they have the permission of the relevant copyright owner to do so and that this permission allows West Wales Holiday Cottages to use the content in future promotions.

Entrants understand and agree that the winner’s name, feedback and details about their holiday may be used in social media posts. All entrants agree to be bound by the rules and terms of this prize draw.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.

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We’re hiring! Web developer wanted

Cwmrhaffau Farmhouse

We are looking for a Web Developer to join our team. If you like the idea of working on the West Wales coast as part of a small team committed to offering an effective and efficient online booking service, please read on.

The Position

You will be fully involved in the maintenance and continuing development of our current website, possible future websites and associated systems. The appointment will commence as soon as mutually convenient and will be a full-time permanent post. West Wales Holiday Cottages is an equal opportunities employer and we are happy to offer flexible working options.

We are looking for a capable individual with excellent technical, communication and interpersonal skills to welcome into our small, tight-knit team and develop into a key player in our business. If you work well in a team and are keen to learn and assume responsibility, this is your chance to progress to a more senior role in a supportive environment.

It is important that you be the right fit for our team. You will be working closely with the rest of us so it’s important that you share our determination to deliver exceptional customer service, enjoy doing a job well and with integrity, and have a ‘can do’ positive attitude.

The Company

West Wales Holiday Cottages is a family run business providing online advertising and booking for over 750 independently-owned holiday cottages in Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. The company is based on the Cardigan Bay coast at Sarnau in Ceredigion and consists of 4 partners and 7 staff: 3 full-time and 4 part-time. Established for 12 years, we are committed to providing an outstanding level of service, doing business in an ethical way and promoting West Wales to the benefit of the local community.

Your Responsibilities

  • Full stack development.
  • Security and performance of all web systems.
  • Database design and development.
  • Semi-regular meetings with senior members of staff and colleagues to help plan and manage projects.
  • Identify and implement technologies that will create new opportunities and allow for new features for the service.
  • In-house technical support to the admin team to resolve and improve any reported website issues.
  • Continuous improvement of existing codebase

Essential skills

  • Good knowledge and understanding of object oriented programming, ideally PHP
  • MySQL (or similar, e.g. PostgreSQL)
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript
  • Knowledge of version control systems

Desirable skills

  • Linux server administration
  • Apache administration
  • SEO

Current Technology

Object oriented, middleware-based PHP 7 application. Asynchronous tasks through RabbitMQ. Codeception for unit and acceptance testing. Modern frontend toolchain, including ES6+, webpack and sass. Infrastructure managed with Ansible, and Jenkins for a one click deployment process.

Other Info

  • We use source control (git)
  • We use an issue tracker (Trello)
  • We continuously deploy
  • We provide a computer of your choice and any software you require
  • We have a quiet office for our technical staff
  • We don’t target legacy browsers – usually the last 2 versions

Salary and Holidays

Starting salary range: £20,720 to £36,680 depending on experience, to be reviewed after one year. We have a 3 month probationary period.

Hours: Full time position. Average 40 hours per week including breaks, flexible working patterns available by negotiation.

Holiday allowance will be in accordance with the statutory entitlement. Bank Holidays are in addition and you will be required to take holiday over the Christmas shutdown period which is for 4 days, 3 of them Bank Holidays, using a total of 2.5 days of your allowance.


Please email your CV and a letter of application to Matthew Witt, the IT Partner
West Wales Holiday Cottages, at

We look forward to hearing from you!

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West Wales Holiday Cottages present award in Best Dog Friendly Accommodation category

An awards ceremony was held at Slebech Park on May 23 to announce the winners of the Dog Friendly Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards.

West Wales Holiday Cottages was the proud sponsor of the Best Dog Friendly Accommodation category and Amy from Cottages HQ was delighted to go along to present the award. The winners of this category were Paul and Lisa Godfrey of Seaview Cottage.

4 people stood in a line with an award and certificate

Winners of the Best Dog Friendly Accommodation category: Paul and Lisa Godfrey of Seaview Cottages being presented an award from Amy (West Wales Holiday Cottage) and John Burns (Burns Pet Nutrition)

Congratulations to Paul and Lisa from everyone at West Wales Holiday Cottages!

Burns Pet Nutrition was the main sponsor of the awards and they are running the ‘Burns by your Side’ scheme which is aimed at children who could benefit from improving their reading and communication skills. The concept supports children in a variety of settings to build confidence in reading and vocabulary by reading to a dog. Specially trained volunteers and their dogs visit schools to hear children read. We think this is a fantastic scheme and we wish everyone involved all the very best with their journey – children, volunteers and of course, the dogs themselves!

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Dog friendly: Patch beach

I’ve been walking Ziggy, my whippet on Patch beach in Gwbert a lot recently. It’s not my nearest beach to home, but it really is worth going that little bit further.

There’s always plenty of space to park on the road which runs along the beach and there are at least half a dozen access spots from the pavement. If you want to park on the beach itself, there’s a little road the other side of the boat club. If you’re coming from the Cardigan direction, just turn left and it’ll take you to the beach, but watch out, it’s quite narrow.

Ziggy loves it here. Patch is dog-friendly all year-round and there are always a few dog walkers to chat to along the and white whippet jumping from sea, another image of people fishing in the sunset and another of seagulls on the sea with Gwbert behind

It can get a little busy in peak season – well, it can feel that way if you have a dog like mine, who is constantly chasing and looking for attention from other dogs! A dog owner recently had to restrain his pug on the beach because she just would not give up chasing Ziggy. It made me laugh a lot, she was pressed into the sand like a little starfish!

Pug lying on the beach with the sea behind

We’ve been down there a lot this past year, and we’ve met some really great people along the way.

One side of the beach looks onto the River Teifi and when you cross over the shale to the other side, you are looking out to the mouth of the river and the sea; Poppit Sands is on the left. We’ve seen some beautiful sunsets from Patch. Here’s one of the best!Sunset from Patch beach near Gwbert with Poppit sands on the left and people walking

Boat trips with A Bay to Remember set off from Patch (March – October). The trip takes you out to sea to spot wildlife such as seals and bottlenose dolphins. It looks like so much fun, something I need to do soon.

If you’d like to explore Patch beach with your dog, we’ve got lots of dog-friendly holiday cottages to choose from. You can refine your search by selecting Cardigan – the nearest town.

I hope you’ll like it as much as we do.

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Win a holiday at Bryn-y-Gof!

Win a holiday in one of our most romantic cottages on Cardigan Bay! Enter now for your chance to win a 3-night getaway for 2 people plus a baby this Autumn – you can bring up to 2 dogs too. Choose any available 3-night break between 29 September and 15 December 2017, excluding school holidays.

Enter now button

What will you do when staying at Bryn-y-Gof?

Bryn-y-Gof is owned by Norma McCarthy who has kindly provided this fabulous prize. We recently had a chat with Norma about what people like to do when they visit this cottage and here is what she had to say:

“When people come to stay here, they love to wander the coastal paths and see the amazing scenery. Our visitors like to take boat trips to spot dolphins which people really love but we always advise visitors that it is almost always as easy to spot them off the coastline.

“There were dolphins being spotted as late as last December from Llangrannog beach which is just 10 minutes away from Bryn-y-Gof. They were also spotted from Cwm Tydu beach and New Quay.four images forming a collage one of the roll top bath in the bedroom of a holiday cottage called Bryn-y-Gof mear Llangrannog on Cardigan Bay, one of the cottage living room with an open fire and another of a dolphin leaping. The fourth image has a blie background with text which reads: WIN A HOLIDAY! Bryn-y-Gof (wigg) and the West Wales Holiday Cottages logo along the bottom

“Last September, there were still seal pups on Cwm Tydu beach into September. It’s amazing getting this close to the natural wildlife in their natural habitat which is what drew me and my husband to the area and we are sure this is why our visitors love it here too!

“People who bring their dogs love it here. They can make their way down to Llangrannog which has a dog-friendly beach and let the dog run and roam. The coastal path is also ideal.

“Visitors have enjoyed mooching about in Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn. They’re lovely little towns which people enjoy. They’re very different to the towns that people are used to visiting; they’re friendly, Welsh market towns.

“The foodie visitors appreciate the fresh produce we have in the area which is available all year. There are fantastic farm shops on our doorstep. There are lovely little cafés and restaurants which produce top quality food and they’re very friendly.”

Sounds good? Enter the draw now for your chance to win a stay at Bryn-y-Gof! The draw closes on  25 May 2017 and the lucky winner will be notified by email on 26 May 2017.

See full terms and conditions.Enter now button

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Stay at Cardigan Castle as featured in Channel 4’s Great British Buildings: Restoration of the Year

Book your stay in Cardigan Castle, Georgian Restoration of the Year! For a unique holiday, stay in one of the luxury heritage apartments in the grounds of this 900 year old Welsh castle. 

Cardigan Castle from across the river

Cardigan Castle (Castell Aberteifi) stands on the border between Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire in West Wales. It is believed to be the first stone castle ever built by a Welshman and holds a unique place in Welsh culture as the site of the first Eisteddfod.

Following a £14 million restoration project, Cardigan Castle won the Georgian category of the RICS Awards and in March 2017, it was featured in the Channel 4 programme ‘Great British Buildings: Restoration of the Year’, presented by Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs) with historian Dr Anna Keay, Director of the Landmark Trust (Restoring Britain’s Landmarks).

Cardigan Castle will feature once again in Thursday night’s episode of Great British Buildings when it goes head to head with the other category winners for the overall Restoration of the Year title.

The luxurious accommodation on offer at Cardigan Castle is in great demand – even more so since it was showcased in the TV programme. Here are the beautiful self-catering options for you to choose from, each affords complimentary access to the grounds during your stay.

Gardener’s Cottage (sleeps 2)
Self catering holiday cottage at Cardigan Castle - Gardener;'s Cottage










Gardener’s Cottage is a ‘topsy turvy’ luxury holiday cottage for 2 at Cardigan Castle. It has been designed with the bedroom downstairs and living space upstairs to make the most of the wonderful view of the garden and grounds. This is a great choice for an exclusive romantic break in a dramatic setting.

East Wing (sleeps 8)

large self catering holiday cottage at Cardigan Castle - East Wing










East Wing sleeps 8 in four double en suite bedrooms and it is truly luxurious. This is a fantastic large self-catering holiday cottage which is just perfect for reunions or getting together with friends. The flagstone floors add to its charm and remind you of your historic surroundings.

The Coach House (sleeps 2, accessible)

Self-catering disabled access holiday cottage Cardigan Castle










The Coach House is an accessible, wheelchair-friendly holiday cottage for 2 set in the grounds of Cardigan Castle. The former coach house has been beautifully converted for you to enjoy a relaxing holiday in spectacular surroundings, with an enclosed patio garden.

Y Goron (sleeps 4)










Y Goron is part of the Cardigan Castle family but is positioned just outside of the castle walls. It is a two-storey apartment on the upper floors of Ty Cadwgan and enjoys lovely views of the castle grounds and the river. Although you are not within the castle itself, this is a superb, central location from where you can conveniently explore the town and surrounding areas.

Good luck to Cardigan Castle in the next phase of the process and we hope they will go forward to win the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ Restoration of the Year award! In the meantime, the castle awaits your arrival so you can immerse yourself in the history and learn all about the developments of the site.

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Merlin’s Carmarthenshire

Merlin, or Myrddin, the magician and foreteller of prophesies, has tales about him from across West Wales, linking him with Arthurian legend and prominent sites in the landscape. There are a variety of sites to visit where you can explore his myths yourself!A person dressed up as Merlin the wizzard

Gerald of Wales wrote about Merlin in the 12th century, who is thought to have been born in Carmarthen. Another written history is the Black Book of Carmarthen, created in St John’s Priory, the religious house which was formed in the ruins of the former Roman town.

The Black Book incorporates legends of the Mabinogion with tales of Merlin and Arthur. The Welsh name for Carmarthen – Caerfyrddin – means “Merlin’s Fort”, although it is thought that the name Myrddin derives from Caerfyrddin rather than vice versa.

Carmarthen as a focus for stories of Merlin includes Merlin’s Hill, an Iron Age hillfort with a cave where he might once have lived under enchantment, and was entombed. Some say they can hear his chains clankings still! The nearby Merlin’s Stone was prophesied to be the location of his treasure, and where a raven would drink the blood of a man.

In Carmarthen is Merlin’s Tree – the Priory Oak. This is linked to the saying “when Myrddin’s Tree shall tumble down, Then shall fall Carmarthen Town”. The tree was kept braced upright even after it died before parts were preserved in the local museum and later the civic hall.

The legend of the killing of the last Welsh dragon, amongst the annual fair, on the banks of the River Teifi, is set in Newcastle Emlyn. It is thought to originate from Merlin’s prophecy of the red dragon rising up against the white dragon of the east, and the use of a gold-red dragon in Prince Owain Glyndwr’s flag during the 1403 battle at Newcastle Emlyn Castle.

Finally, whether you are on a quest of your own to visit Merlin’s sites of legend or not, Carmarthen is a great place to explore this year. Merlin’s Festival is a well-known celebration in Carmarthen which will be making a comeback this year and is well worth a visit, featuring magic, a sculpture trail and other street entertainment as well as a mouth-watering local produce market! The Festival will take place in the town centre, on Friday and Saturday 24-25 March from 10 am to 4pm each day, and entry is free.

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Celebrate Disabled Access Day at Trehyddion Barns!

Disabled Access Day is taking place this weekend from 10 – 12 March and to mark the event, Gail and Rob Clayton, the owners of Trehyddion Barns, invite you to an Open Afternoon at Trehyddion Longbarn, their accessible holiday cottage near Llansteffan in Carmarthenshire.

Gail and Rob provide self-catering holidays in their two cottages and have just started their 7th season. They said: “We love being able to offer quality accommodation for all.”

It all started when their stone and slate farm buildings became outdated for their herd of pedigree Welsh Black cattle, horses and poultry. It seemed to be a perfect opportunity to convert them to holiday accommodation which had been a dream of theirs for many years.

One part of the range of buildings was single storey and lent itself to level-access accommodation. This is now Trehyddion Longbarn, a dog friendly and easy-access holiday cottage for 6 set in peaceful surroundings in Carmarthenshire.

With Gail working as an occupational therapist, creating accessible holiday accommodation seemed a great idea. From her work, Gail had experience of the limited availability of level-access accommodation and a barn with lots of rural character seemed the great combination.

Trehyddion Longbarn easy access holoday cottage in West Wales with stone exterior and the property name overlaid, a photo of the living room with a red sofa and wood burner with exposed brick walls., a character kitchen with dining table and chairs, Disabled Access Day logo and West Wales Holiday Cottages logo

“Our location is also perfect: Llansteffan beach and castle are only 2 miles away and with easy drives to explore the three counties of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion there is something for everyone. We are also close to the Gower.

“We have tried to provide facilities and equipment for people with a variety of needs, and often have families visiting with a relative, for example, who can’t use stairs or is wheelchair dependent. The access is ramped and there’s a patio so breakfast in the sunshine, or a BBQ are a lovely way to relax.

“Our visitors can look after the chickens for the week, feed them and collect the eggs too. This year we are hoping for goat kids in June, and our horses are super friendly when offered carrots!

“Ben, our collie, welcomes all our visitors, and everyone wants to take him home with them! We love our visitors to bring their own dogs on holiday with them and they are safe in the enclosed garden.two images, one of a Ben, the collie at Trehyddion Longbarn on the left and 3 of the resident ducks in an image on the right

The event

Gail and Rob are great supporters of Disabled Access Day and believe it is gathering momentum each year.

To mark this day of awareness, an they are holding an open afternoon with tea and brownies at Trehyddion Barns so anyone can go along and have a look around the holiday accommodation.
“We will be opening our doors from 2-5pm on Saturday 11 March, all welcome”, said Gail.

The address for this event is Trehyddion Barns, Llanybri, Carmarthenshire, SA33 5AN.

If you’d like to book a holiday in Trehyddion Longbarn, you can book direct with Rob and Gail via our website.

Trehyddion Longbarn can be booked together with its adjoining property, Trehyddion Haybarn which also sleeps 6 (please note that Trehyddion Haybarn is not an easy access property).

We hope you get the opportunity to experience something new this Disabled Access Day. If you’d like to browse alternative accessible holiday accommodation, take a look at our disabled access cottages. If you’d like any assistance we’ll be happy to help you with finding a perfect place to base your holiday.

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St David: A Welsh legend!

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus i bawb! That’s Welsh for Happy St David’s Day to all! To celebrate, we want to tell you the story of St David.A collage of St David, a daffodil and St David's Cathedral

Said to have been born around 520, St David is the patron saint of Wales.

It is said that St David was born in a wild thunderstorm on the cliffs of St David, the small city in Pembrokeshire which was later named after him. His parents have been said to be the king of Ceredigion, Sanctus and a nun called Nonnita (Non).

Around about 550, he founded a monastery close to his birthplace where he and his fellow monks lived a simple life, drinking water and eating only herbs and bread. David became known as Dewi Dyrfwr (David the water drinker) as meat and beer were forbidden.

Although the monks farmed the surrounding land, David insisted that they did not use animals to carry their tools, they were to carry them. None of the monks were allowed any personal possessions and they spent evenings praying, reading and writing.

David was allegedly preaching to a large crowd in the village of Llanddewi Brefi. Some people had difficulty hearing him and a white dove landed on David’s shoulder, and as it did, the ground on which he stood rose up to form a hill, making it possible for everyone to see and hear him where a church now stands. The dove became his emblem.

More than 60 churches in Wales had been dedicated to David by the 12th Century and many pilgrims visited his monastery in St Davids.

You will find churches and chapels dedicated to David in south-west England and Brittany, as well as Wales. His influence also reached Ireland, where the Irish embrace his beliefs about caring for the natural world.

St David is believed to have died on 1 March 589.

Why the leek and daffodil?

When the Welsh were in battle with the Saxons, it is said that their clothes were so similar it was difficult to tell them apart. St David suggested that the Welsh men should wear a leek in their helmet to identify them and that is what they did. The Welsh won the battle and the leek was then adopted as the emblem of Wales.

Wearing a daffodil is a more modern tradition which was publicised by David Lloyd George. A suggestion is that the daffodil is used simply because it grows in the spring (around the time of St David’s Day on March 1).

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