Newcastle Emlyn is a quaint little market town in Carmarthenshire with a strong sense of community, unhurried charm and fabulous scenery.
Newcastle Emlyn grew up around a crossing point over the Teifi, where its swooping meanders made the site a natural defensive position. Built in 1240 by the Normans, the town's ruined castle and beautiful scenery provides an excellent backdrop for a stroll along the riverside. The castle is tucked away at the bottom of a dead-end Castle Terrace, just off the main street by the little stone town hall.
In the 18th and 19th centuries Emlyn was an important part of the drovers' network for many years. As the collecting point for hogs and hardy Welsh Black cattle, which ended up at the auctions and on the platters of the big English cities to the east: Bristol, Birmingham and London.
'Hanes Emlyn' beside the clock tower hosts an excellent collection of artefacts, photos and memorabilia exhibiting local history. The town's pretty main street is lined with interesting shops offering goods to satisfy locals and visitors alike.
In the nearby village of Henllan you'll find the enchanting Teifi Valley Railway. A group of enthusiasts formed a society in 1978 to re-open a branch line of the Great Western Railway from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth, which had been closed in 1972. Since then, more than two miles of 60cm gauge railway track have been laid. The steam railway also has a tea room, souvenir shop, woodland theatre, woodland walks, crazy golf, crazy quoits, GWR library, children's play areas, toilets, car park, facilities for the disabled and a new miniature railway.
Two miles North-West of Newcastle Emlyn lays picturesque village of Cenarth. Here you can take a stroll along the riverbank beside the famous Cenarth Falls where you may spot a Salmon leap. You can learn about the fascinating ancient means of transport in The National Coracle Centre, which are still made and used on the rivers of west Wales and are often to be seen on the river during summer months. The Centre houses an exhibition of coracle from all over the world, coracle-making and a 17th century flour mill.
Whilst in Cenarth, make sure you visit The Old Smithy - last operated in 1953, it contains an interesting collection of smithy equipment, together with many rural and cottage bygones. The craft shop is well stocked with plenty of locally made crafts and gifts.
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