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The stretch from Rhydcymerau to Llansawel was a treat.  The green Lane that took us all the way except for the first quarter-mile was a first-rate example of an old drovers’ road: deep ruts, old hedges on high banks and the route ahead so clear that the beasts could have done it on their own.  I took about 40 photos and could have put 30 of them on this page.  Beautiful route.

The first picture, though, has to be the ramshackle “Cart & Horses” (once known as The Reform Inn) outside Rhydcymerau at the start of the walk at SN 578387 (#1), which almost defies imagination.  But the village didn’t exist on the early maps.  Its importance as a stopping place on the route to Llandovery took time to sink in, perhaps, so this little place was a stopgap that fulfilled a need.  But perhaps there’s another story attached that someone can tell me about…?

(The following stories about the landlord of "The Cart" come from a wonderful book "The Old Farmhouse", by D J Williams.)

The most famous landlord was John Jenkins, born in the late 1830's, who kept the pub for over 50 years with his wife Neli.  Jenkins - "the only man of that name between the Towy & the Teifi" - was also a dealer who sold beasts on commission and a part-time drover.  But his accounts were such a shambles that he probably didn't make money on either venture. It was nothing for him to walk with his dog to Aberaeron, fetch two sheep to sell at Port Talbot, then walk back to "The Cart"  without stopping except to speak with everyone he met on the way.  (It's a round trip of more than 130 miles!) He was present at all the fairs.  He believed it was 'unseemly' to have more than one glass of ale at a time, but that one glass helped to establish "a congenial mood".  Neli, a strong and much respected woman, looked after the pub in his absence and bore him eight children. 

What a breed!

From The Cart we walked up the tarmac hill to the start of the byway at 584387 before a right turn and up again (#2).  I took #3 looking back, which shows what I meant in first paragraph: what animal – or drover the worse for wear – couldn’t follow that route?  

There is a strong local tradition that there was a shoeing station on the top: Richard Moore-Colyer says there is no sign of where it was.  We saw a rectangular enclosure at one point but that could have had many uses.

Finally, we start going downhill to the Llansawel road (#4,5) and the path gets narrower & narrower, almost becoming the bed of a stream until we emerged at Sunnybank Farm where cattle used to be corralled before being shod in Llansawel. 

What a sense of satisfaction to have discovered such a gem.  Thanks to Sarah Eyles of Llanfihangel-Ar-Arth, whose email prompted me to put this walk up on the site.

Rhydcymerau-Llansawel image 1
Cart & Horses
Rhydcymerau-Llansawel image 2
Up we Go...
Rhydcymerau-Llansawel image 3
...and look back...
Rhydcymerau-Llansawel image 4
Going Down...
Rhydcymerau-Llansawel image 5
...through ruts to water.