Explore the parkland at Dinefwr
The parkland at Dinefwr is steeped in Welsh history, covering an 800-acre estate on the outskirts of the old farming town of Llandeilo. Visit this Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the first parkland National Nature Reserve (NNR) in Wales. At Dinefwr, you can experience a microcosm of Welsh heritage and natural history combined.
In autumn the parkland at Dinefwr is a riot of colour when the veteran trees display an impressive crown of gold, red and orange leaves. Enjoy the best of what the estate has to offer on a walk designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown when he visited Dinefwr in 1775. Don’t miss the sight of the oldest trees in Wales framing stunning views of Newton House.
Autumn is always busy for wildlife until the first cold snap, as it’s a time for last-minute eating or food storage. Hear or catch sight of the fallow deer rutting, discover a variety of plants and insects and watch out for ravens and red kites, which nest in the trees around you at this time of year.
The deer rut normally takes place over a two-week period during October or early November. This varies due to the weather and availability of food, such as acorns and sweet chestnut mast.
October is also a good time to spot fungi in the woodlands and Dinefwr has quite a few species dotted around. Meanwhile, the ponds come alive with overwintering migrant birds.
Things to see in the parkland at Dinefwr
The estate slopes down to the level fields forming the Tywi floodplain where small lakes on the plain edges add more beauty and interest to the landscape.
Dinefwr boasts a vast and diverse range of habitats and environment. From flower rich hay meadows to dense woodland, wide open spaces to bog woods and wet meadows. Each providing vital habitats for a range of species and playing a crucial role in Britain’s biodiversity.
'If you take a handful of the soil at Dinefwr and squeeze it in your hand, the juice that will flow from your hands is the essence of Wales.'
- Wynford Vaughan Thomas, broadcaster, journalist and writer
Nature has been truly bountiful to this place. As well as a dense population of some of Britain’s most astonishing native and migrant birds, the estate is home to many of Britain’s most elusive mammals; some of which people live a lifetime without spotting, like otters, pole cats, voles and fallow deer.
Medieval deer park at Dinefwr
The estate holds a 100-acre medieval deer park. Roamed by a herd of over 100 fallow deer, you’ll witness the eerie, echoed bellows of the fallow bucks throughout the estate, as they lead up to the rutting season in October.
You'll see the Corvidae (crow family) helping with the grooming process by picking the moulting velvety skin from the beasts’ enormous antlers as we approach the rutting season.
White Park Cattle at Dinefwr
The birds display the same behaviour with our White Park Cattle; picking off the loose hair as this prehistoric-looking animal sheds its winter coat. This ancient and rare breed holds a lot of historical and genetic relevance to Dinefwr.
Other folklore linked to the White Park Cattle is the legend of the Lady of the Lake and the famous Physicians of Myddfai.
Oldest trees in Britain at Dinefwr
Dinefwr ancient woodland is home to some of the oldest trees in Britain. We have over 300 oak trees; some that are over 400 years old, making them true veterans and providing vital ecosystems of diverse species. Even when the trees die or fall to the ground, we do not remove them. They stay where they fall to provide habitat for plant, wildlife and fungi species.
As well as caring for the mature trees we need to plant new ones so there will always be trees at different stages. More will be planted in the Inner and Outer Cow Park to recreate the 18th-century design.
Eventually these plantations will be managed like the deer park, as grazed wood pasture. In this way, we hope Dinefwr will always be famous for its veteran trees.
Reclaimed by the descendants of a powerful Welsh Prince, Dinefwr Park and Newton House were home to the Rhys/Rice family for over 300 years.
Nestled in Dinefwr’s parkland near Llandeilo, Newton House is a relaxed and informal Welsh country house. A visit here incorporates both the historic and the contemporary.