IF YOU want to explore more of Wales then you will discover lots of hidden gems which are often missed.

One of those is the market town of Llandovery in Carmarthenshire.

Situated on the western border of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the town’s Welsh name is derived from Llan ymlith y dyfroedd, meaning “church enclosure amidst the waters” and referring to the town’s position between the River Tywi and the Afon Brân.

Although driving is the easiest way to get to the town, you can get also there by train. 

Once you are there you can enjoy all that there is to offer. The town has a combination of historical attractions and stunning scenery as well as plenty of places for food and drink.

The area of high, rolling country high above Llandovery is known locally as the Black Mountain. 

This brooding peak is remote and atmospheric, it is untamed and exciting.

You can also go walking in the hills and valleys nearby, with lakes rich in folklore and nature all around. 

The area has always been a draw for tourists. 

JMW Turner visited the town in the 18th Century and a watercolour of the town is now held at London’s Tate Gallery.

It was also described by the early travel writer George Borrow as ‘the pleasantest little town in which I have halted.’

If you are a history buff there is lots to keep you busy, from castles and Roman remains to mines and farming history.

The central tourist office houses exhibitions on the Tonn Press, the area’s droving history and the nineteenth-century geologist Sir Roderick Impey Murchison.

You could also visit Myddfai and find out about the Physicians of Myddfai, herbalists in the twelfth century.

If you like a bit of folklore then discover more about Twm Siôn Cati, described as the Welsh Robin Hood.

If sport is more your thing then you could always go and watch Llandovery RFC, nicknamed The Drovers, play a game. 

Find out more at www.discovercarmarthenshire.com/places/llandovery-the-brecon-beacons/

Embrace nature on a walk in the countryside

South Wales Argus:

The bluebell walk through Gwenffrwd Dinas RSPB nature reserve in a beautiful early morning light Picture: Guy Rogers

A POPULAR spot for dog walkers, Llyn Brianne reservoir is perfect for people who want to enjoy some scenery.

Even the drive to the lake is scenic, and once you get there you will find walking trails that are a mixture of woodland and views of the reservoir.

You can also take a trip to the glacial lake of mystical Llyn y Fan Fach, which is overlooked by the mountains of Picws Du and Waun Leffrith.

There is also the nearby Gwenffrwd-Dinas reserve which is home to all manner of birdlife including red kites, pied flycatchers, redstarts, common sandpipers, dippers and grey wagtails.

Find out more at rspb.org.uk

Spend a night down the local

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IN THE heart of the town you’ll find a warm welcome in the town’s pubs. 
As well as a decent pint you can get a good meal and a bed for the night.

The Bear with Rooms is a popular choice thanks to its food and comfortable rooms. 

It offers a warm and cosy atmosphere that is enjoyed by both locals and visitors. 

If you’re up for sampling a few establishments you’ll find enough pubs in the town to have a pub crawl. 

Find out more about The Bear with Rooms  at facebook.com/bearwithrooms or call 01550 721777

Go back in time at the castle

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IN THE heart of the town you’ll find the castle ruins. 

The the late thirteenth-century listed castle sits on a knoll and overlooks the River Towy.

It was burnt in the sixteenth century and never repaired.
When you visit you’ll see the stainless steel statue of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan, who has become celebrated as a “Welsh Braveheart”, which was unveiled in 2001.

After his support for a rebellion, Henry IV had him drawn, hung, eviscerated, beheaded and quartered before the gate of the castle on October 9, 1401.

Family fun at a Roman gold mine

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YOU can go underground at the Dolaucothi Gold Mines, the only known Roman gold mine in the UK.

Discover what life was like for Roman miners, or for the Victorian miners who used explosives to break through tonnes of shale to get to the precious metal within. 

There’s guided tours available between March and November.
After your mine visit your family can explore some of the 2,500 acres of the Dolaucothi estate.

You can even discover it on horseback.

Visit nationaltrust.org.uk/dolaucothi-gold-mines for information.

Stop for crafts and coffee in the heart of town

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WALKING around the town is thirsty work, so you might want to stop in one of the bars and cafes.

In the centre of the town is the Llandovery Craft Centre, which is housed in the distinctive looking orange building that features a four-faced town clock.

There you can get some refreshments surrounded by a variety of shops, including a florist and Welsh gift shop - perfect for picking up a souvenir.
The Kitchen Garden cafe, located in the centre, offers the perfect place to relax and some freshly cooked food.

Other places to visit for your caffeine fix and a bite to eat are The Old Printing Office, the Penygawse Victorian Tea Room, the Owls Nest Tea Room Diner and the popular West End cafe.