The Lead Mines Of Rhandirmwyn
This outstanding and very varied walk includes mountain walking, a long riverside stretch along the banks of the Towy, a visit to one of the largest old lead mines around Rhandirmwyn and some beautiful forest tracks on the outward and return route.
It’s a full days walking in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the upper Towy valley of NE Carmarthenshire. Height gain is 445m and distance is 7.5 miles.
We meet outside the Royal Oak pub in the village of Rhandirmwyn,which was once a very important area for mining lead ore. In the 1770’s the area was home to the largest lead mine in South Wales employing over 400 people and reputedly earning its owner £300k. but mining around here as been in existence since Roman times.
We set off on a long steep climb through a beautiful wooded hillside eventually entering a large conifer plantation and gaining more height to reach open moorland near the site of an old youth hostel called Bryn Poeth Uchaf.
We now head across high moorland with wonderful views looking out for a striking standing stone and stone cairn called Garn Fair initially tucked away from view. We drop down to a minor road for a mile which eventually rejoins the Llandovery-Rhandirmwyn Road.
Here we pick up a section of the Cambrian Way as it follows sunken paths through a copse and after a short while we will hear the sound of the River Towy as it pounds its way through the gorge past a deep pool known as Pwll Penrhyn. This is a great place to capture photos or videos of the river and makes a great lunch stop.
We descend from the gorge across a field to join the riverside path for about a mile as it heads towards Pwllpriddog bridge.
At the bridge we pick up a route that takes us through several fields with magnificent views of the hills around Rhandirmwyn and the old Salem chapel.
The final and arguably best section of the walk takes us up to the ruins of the old Nantymwyn lead mine that is located below Pen y Darren mountain (350m). Here we can climb up on the mining tracks to get a lovely view of the old mine chimney and engine room.
The last section heads back through Nant Gwyn conifer plantation to pick up a forest track back to the village, as we descend there the hillside there are spectacular views of the Carmarthen Fans and
Mynydd Mallaen in the far distance.
We eventually emerge at the Royal Oak pub where we can have some well earned refreshments before heading home from a walk that will linger long in the memory.
This is a circular 7 mile (12km) walk on forest tracks, open moorland and riverside paths often in remote areas.
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