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Cenarth to Newcastle

We caught the bus from Carmarthen to Cenarth, a pretty village on the Teifi at SN 2741.  The first house on our walk turns out to be the oldest recorded in the village, The Old Ale House (#1) next to the Three Horseshoes.  It’s now a B&B.  There was a smithy next to the OAH too before folk got addicted to cars.  We could imagine it as a stopover for drovers on their way east on a path that begins the trek uphill and downhill to Newcastle, all to avoid paying the toll on the main road…or before they even built a road in 1804. 

The path begins as a grass track going past the old school, which looks more like a vicarage than a school, and the grass continues to the top of the hill before becoming a delightful tree-lined green lane (#2).  At this point we felt the luckiest people on earth: so much countryside around us and all of it so beautiful.  It can’t last, we thought.  But it did.  In fact, it got better.

The tunnel through the trees led us down to the road at SN 282410 and then, after Gillo Farm came the stunning bit.  How could anyone but drovers and beasts have managed this?  (#3) Some of the path seemed nearly vertical, but I suppose drovers and their beasts were younger than us. 

Overlooking Cwm-cou on the opposite bank of the Teifi is Gelligatti, an ”imposing” house built by Lord Cawdor for his agent – Cawdor owned just about everything in the area.  Then through woodland down to Nant Sarah, as the brook is called (#4) – in memory of the biblical Sarah, that’s my guess, but please correct me if you know better.  Take a left turn after the brook and from there on it’s a mixture of woodland and tarmac.  At one point we met a goat-drover from Essex, so he has to occupy at least one picture (#5) who has lived in Wales for 30 years but still sounds exactly like – a man from Essex.  I hope he forgives me.  I’m sure I sound exactly like a man from Oxfordshire.

There are two abiding memories of this walk: first, the beauty of it.  It’s a real stunner.  Second was the sound that greeted us as we emerged just above Newcastle Emlyn: the auctioneer taking bids.  Exactly the sound that the drovers would have heard a century or three ago as they walked the farmers’ cattle to market.  (It was a Tuesday, in case you’re interested…)  And what a smashing little town is Newcastle Emlyn.

Cenarth to Newcastle image 1
The Ale House, Cenarth
Cenarth to Newcastle image 2
Cenarth to Newcastle image 4
Nant Sarah
Cenarth to Newcastle image 5
The Goat-Herder