Dinefwr Park wildlife walk, South Wales
Llandeilo, Camarthenshire SA19 6RTRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Dinefwr’s historic parkland is famed for its abundance of wildlife and stunning valley views. Some of the 'veteran' trees are thought to be over 700 years old and support such a high diversity of lichens and invertebrates that the park has been declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest. In July 2007 it also became a National Nature Reserve – the only parkland NNR in Wales. This 3 mile walk takes in some of the estate’s great wildlife-spotting places, as well as a fascinating medieval castle and 17th-century mansion.
- Bus stop
Start: Welcome Centre car park grid ref: SN615224
Turn right out of the Welcome Centre and follow the dragonfly way-marks (Dragonfly Walk) until you get to the pump house. Then, follow the heron way-marks (River Walk). Head downhill, past the pigeon house on your right pigeons used to be a source of meat for the household. Mynachdy, an old gameskeepers cottage, is soon passed on your left.
Fallow deer are best seen in the late afternoon and evening when they emerge into clearings. From Newton House, look down the deer park valley where you may see them wandering around the trees. Visit in autumn and you may see the deer rutting.
Beyond the slaughterhouse (still with its old winches for lifting deer and cattle carcases inside), turn right through a gate into Bogwood and follow a boardwalk to the mill pond.
This historic coppiced woodland has a stream running through it and is mainly home to water-loving willow and alder. There are almost 300 trees over 400 years old in Dinefwr, which makes it a nationally important parkland. Of note are the tall oaks at the western end of the deer park. What is thought to be the oldest oak in the park, started its life in the 14th century. The park has also become a hotspot in Wales for insects; there are over 25 nationally scarce insect species on the estate. Fallen branches are deliberately left as they are an important habitat for saproxylic, or 'dead wood invertebrates' such as beetles that depend on rotting wood for food and shelter. Also, look out for yellow meadow anthills in the deer park valley grassland.
Walk around this man-made mill pond. At the pump house, take signs for the River Walk.
A great place for dragon and damselflies in spring and summer. Spot newts, frogs and ducks, as well as an occasional kingfisher (if youre lucky).
The river Tywi forms the oxbow lakes which mark the southern boundary of Dinefwr. Follow the tree line on a path, with the ruins of 12th-century Dinefwr Castle towering above to your left.
All three British woodpeckers (the lesser, greater spotted and green) live in the woodlands. Summer and winter are the best times for watching wetland birds here. Wildfowl visitors in winter include teal, widgeon and tufted duck.
With the river to your right, walk through the Twyi valley.
Twyi valley hedgerows are home to a rare breeding population of tree sparrow (looks similar to the house sparrow but has a distinctive black patch on its cheek). The hedgerows are an important habitat for these small farmland birds which have been studied by National Trust volunteers for many years.
Turn left here on a path to Llandyfeisant Church.
An important feature in the designed landscape, this church was largely rebuilt in the 19th century but actually has medieval origins.
On the track back to the Welcome Centre, pass what would have been a large Roman fort over the hill to your right. Archaeological surveys show us it existed, but nothing is visible above ground. All that remains is for you to admire the long-horned white park cattle as you cross the parkland and return to your start point.
Records show that the rare white park cattle that roam close to Newton House have been present in the park for over a thousand years.
End: Welcome Centre car park grid ref: SN615224
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- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 3 miles (5km)
- Time: 1 hour
- OS Map: Explorer 186
This circular walk is on mostly level ground. It can be muddy, especially on damp grassland. The Dragonfly Walk stretch of this walk is fully wheelchair and pushchair accessible. Other walk routes are highlighted with leaflets and way-marks on site. NB: Admission charges apply to non National Trust members. Dogs welcome. Please keep on lead in deer park, and under close control at all other times. No dog bins so please take dog litter home.
- How to get here:
By bike: National Cycle Network Route 47 (Celtic Trail) passes within a few miles of the property. See Sustrans website
By foot: Permissive paths throughout the estate with main drive access from Llandeilo town centre
By bus: From surrounding areas to Llandeilo, then 1 mile (1.6km)
By train: Llandeilo station 1 mile (1.6km)
By road: On west outskirts of Llandeilo A40(T); from Swansea take M4 to Pont Abraham, then A48(T) to Cross Hands and A476. Avoid using SatNav
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