188 am – St Clears to Laugharne

I set off from St Clears on a bright and sunny morning, heading down the east side of the River Taf, back towards the sea.

The buildings along the A4066 are somewhat unloved. I pass a dilapidated shop and a closed-down pub. But, further along, a cheerful garden makes me smile. Check out the flowerpot men.

flowerpot men, Ruth walking through St Clears

There are more potty figures around the side of the house, but I couldn’t fit them all into the photo!

I cross a bridge and leave the town behind. Traffic is light, but I’m relieved when the path diverts off the road. The sunlit field behind the kissing gate seems very enticing, even if I end up walking on the right hand side of the road and, therefore, the wrong side for the river.

off the road, Ruth Livingstone on the Wales Coast Path

The nights have been cold and the foliage that lines the path is covered in dew. By the time the path emerges onto the road again, I’m soaking wet from the knees downwards. Despite waterproof spray, my boots are saturated. Soggy socks. Again.

Ruth with wet trousers, morning dew

The Wales Coast Path is doing it’s best to keep me off the road. It dives off to the left and takes me across fields and down a hill. From the slope I get a good view back up the river valley towards St Clears. The river that winds around the edge of the town is not the River Taf, as I first thought, but another tributary – the Afon Cynin.

St Clears, Ruth on the Wales Coast Path towards Laugharne

Ahead of me is the River Taf, but this is the nearest I get to it…

 can't walk along river, Ruth in Wales

… before the path takes me back up the slope again. I walk beside the road, separated from the traffic by a hedge. Despite my frustration at the contortions of the path, and still not being close to the river, I really enjoy this section of the walk.

The authorities who oversee the Wales Coast Path have really done their best to make this hike a pleasant experience. A raised wooden walkway lifts me above any mud, punctuated by the insistent yellow flag irises that have forced their way through gaps in the planks.

path beside road, Ruth on Wales coast path, Carmarthenshire

The fields are lush with wild flowers and pretty grasses. June really is a lovely month for walking, despite a surge of hay fever.

 grass meadows, Ruth hiking along the Wales Coast Path to Laugharne

Soon my path turns away from the road dips down to run closer to the river. I walk through flower meadows and then through woodland.

 woodland, Ruth hiking along the Wales Coast Path to Laugharne

I reach a track and follow it up a hill. The route is shaded with trees.

Tracks, Ruth on Wales Coast Path, towards Lugharne

Then, after walking along lanes, I come to a collection of buildings close to the river, where the plants seem even prettier than normal. This is Delacorse and I later learn its gardens are open to the public via prior arrangement only.

Delacorse, Ruth hiking Wales Coast Path

My footpath runs right past the organic kitchen garden, where a young man is busy arranging plants under netting.

gardener at Delacorse, Ruth walking down the Taf estuary

Beyond the gardens, a long strip of field is sandwiched between the river and a tree-covered slope. Here I meet a couple of walkers coming towards me. They’re the first hikers I’ve seen today.

I’m hot in the sun. Some fallen tree trunks provide a handy spot for a rest, a drink and a chance to apply more sunblock to my face and arms. My feet are still soaking from the dewy grass earlier this morning and, while my soggy socks steam gently in the sunshine, I try to mop up excess moisture from the inside of my boots with a scrunched up tissue.

Then, with my feet slightly less wet, I pose for a self-portrait.

self-portrait, Delacorse, Ruth Livingstone

At the end of the long field the path enters woodland, climbing and twisting, following the course of the river. It’s lovely and cool beneath the trees.

woodland walk, Ruth in Wales, Laugharne

I’m hungry now and thinking of lunch, so I pick up speed and make good progress…

truck on path, Ruth hiking Laugharnedigger on path, Ruth in Laugharne

…until I come across a vehicle on the path. It’s one of those 4×4 mini-trucks. I wonder what it’s doing here and edge around the vehicle with difficulty – only to find a man working with a digger a few yards further on.

They seem to be taking good care of this section of path and I wonder why.

Another couple have been walking towards me but shortly, faced by the obstruction, they turn back.

walkers on path, Ruth hiking to Laugharne

And, as I continue, I meet more people – and the occasional cyclist – on the path. I must be getting close to Laugharne. It’s a lovely day, but it’s only a Wednesday and I didn’t expect to see so many people out and about.

something special going on, Ruth in Laugharne

I begin to wonder what’s so special about Laugharne. Is it the castle? I can remember seeing its grey walls rising up from the shore when I was on the other side of the River Taf.

When I plan my walks, I use OS maps to check the route, Traveline timetables to check for buses, and Google Maps to check for cafes and pubs, but I rarely read a guidebook or do any other background research. This is not just laziness. It’s deliberate. I don’t want to have a list of sights that must be seen. I just want to take each walk as it comes and enjoy the serendipity of new discoveries.

So what’s so special about Laugharne?

[To be continued…]

Here is larger photo of the pump at St Clears:

About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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18 Responses to 188 am – St Clears to Laugharne

  1. jcombe says:

    Dylan Thomas is what seems to attract so many people there. I’m sure you know that already though! Although I don’t think he actually lived in the town that long. He was an alcholic and I heard that his last words were “I’ve had 18 straight whiskies, I think that’s the record”.

  2. welshbabe says:

    Lovely interesting walk. I love Laugharne as all my ancestors from there. Would you mind if your picture of the water pump in St Clears was shared with a gentleman who keeps a national register and website of village pumps http://www.villagepumps.org.uk – credited to you of course.

    • Your ancestors come from a lovely part of the world! And yes, would be very happy to share the pump photo with the villagepumps.org.uk. I’m not sure if it is a genuine pump – or just an ornamental one. Anyway, I’ll put a larger photo up at the bottom of the page, so he has a better quality one.

  3. welshbabe says:

    Thanks very much Ruth (my namesake) – much appreciated. I shall enjoy reading all of your travels. I can agree with your philosophy – apart from reading up on the history of places – I could not resist! Cannot do much travelling because of health so I shall be vicariously enjoying your journeys!

  4. jcombe – if you were equally dismissive about all artists (in the wider sense) that had some addiction problem you would be missing a massive and important part of the global art oeuvre.

  5. Marie Keates says:

    Thise flower pot men are wonderful. Just the kind of thing I’d like in my garden. Like you I prefer to do my research after the event. It’s much more fun to see something and wonder about it then find out later that to go with preconceived expectations and be disappointed. Traveline and Google Maps are some of my favourite tools too, along with the odd peek at the online version of OS maps. I find Google maps a great tool for finding bus stops, odd trails that don’t show up anywhere else (although not always good ones) and places to eat. What did we do before all this technology?

  6. Ah yes, Marie. You’re right. If you’re in Google Maps app, the bus times and destinations appear on the left hand side. If you’re on the Google Maps website (and NOT the app) it doesn’t work. Interesting. I’ll have to use the app more.

  7. theresagreen says:

    I love Laugharne and envy you the views from Dylan’s house there!

  8. trashpacs says:

    Very informative, love the pictures and discription of the walk, good to see what I don’t usually see as iv been very lazy and drive through except for the last part of walk. However there are some geocaching on this walk so shall be doing when the weather gets warmer.
    Much thanx.

    • trashpacs says:

      Very informative, love the pictures and discription of the walk, good to see what I don’t usually see as iv been very lazy and drive through except for the first and last part of walk. However there are some geocaching on this walk so shall be doing when the weather gets warmer. As an afterthought such a shame you walked through lower st clears via the busy road and not through the river walk that you acsess via st clears coach and horses car park as you would have missed out the run down shop and pub but passed st clears castle and bowling club to come out by the flower pot men.
      Much thanx.

      • Hi and thank you for your kind comments. Yes, I missed that alternative route and a shame. Good luck with your geocaching. I’ve tried my hand at it, but am hopeless. Never find anything or, if I do, the contents have been destroyed by the weather. This whole area is a lovely part of the country and well worth spending time exploring. Best wishes.

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