Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Dinefwr Park, Carmarthenshire

Yesterday courtesy of Carmarthen Tourism & the National Trust the Farmer I went on a 'familiarisation' tour of Dinefwr Park, near Llandeilo. We have been there many times before but this was a day organised for accommodation providers in the area to enable them to encourage holiday-makers to visit some of the most interesting places in the county.
Dinefwr certainly offers a marvellous & varied place to visit.
The dramatic ruined 12th century Dinefwr castle is wonderful, perched broodingly on a hill looking down over the beautiful Towy Valley in the sweeping 18th century landscaped parkland. In the park there is herd of the very rare White Park cattle who have been at Dinefwr for 1,000 years.
The park surrounds the extraordinary Newtown House with its four turrets and great portico. All this is in addition to the 120 acre medieval deer-park in which roams a herd of about 160 fallow deer. There are lovely walks through the park and woods and a great feature of the park is the vast number of 'veteran' trees. These are trees that are many hundreds of years old of which there are said to be some dating back 700 years and it is thought to be the largest collection of veteran trees in the country.
We were taken round the park in a purpose-built people trailer towed by a tractor. I have never been so cold despite tweed coat, pashmina shawl & sheepskin gloves! It was a fine day though not sunny and intensely cold so sitting in an open-sided trailer for an hour was not ideal. We were in a party of about 15 people & we were all absolutely frozen and as soon as we got back to Newtown House we all rushed in to find the nearest radiators to huddle up to! Once we had thawed out we were taken on a tour of the 'hidden house' which included going up into the roof space and then out onto the leads where the views were spectacular in all directions. The vistas were just as they had been designed by 'Capability' Brown in the 18th century and there are trees planted at that time looking superb in the landscape including a wonderful Cedar of Lebanon. The fallow deer were grazing near the house and we had the lovely sight of them all from the stags with their strange dished antlers to the does and last year's fawns in their natural setting.

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