Heading to Carmarthenshire… via Powis

Departing from Ruthin, we leave North Wales behind us and head south. Our route took as along the border with England, on the eastern edge of Wales. As we trundled along… we decided to stop at Powis Castle!

The courtyard of Powis Castle

Powis is a very Manor house type of castle. There has been a castle on this sight since the mid 1200’s, when Powis was built by Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn. This was never one of the castles intended to control the wild Welsh hoards – as so many of the castles Edward I built in that era. Rather this was a Welsh prince, changing allegiances and building on land given to him by the Crown. Harumph. The two large drum towers date from 1312, and the majority of the construction was renovated in the 1530’s.

Powis is famous for its tiered gardens – sadly we only overlooked them… as it was a grey and rainy day. I loved the Medusa details on the sculpture. (“Fame”, attributed to the workshop of Dutchman John van Nost )

I apparently snuck a few pictures inside, not knowing it was not allowed.

These fantastical creatures date back to the period 1587-1595 when Lord Edward Herbert had extensive renovations done to the castle. They are in the Long Hall – the only surviving room from that era.

Our second destination was Cwmcrwth Farm, near Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire. Utterly charming, this working farm has down sized its flocks and herds, and converted many of the original stone farm buildings to cottages. It is still a farm, however – and Rob and Fiona are amazing hosts.

Croeso to Cwmcrwth Farm!
Kitchen still life
To the pasture…

One of the highlights for my nephews, I think was feeding the animals. There are Highland cattle, alpaca, goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs… and Bryn and Meg the working border collies!

 Cwtch Corner (cwtch is Welsh for cuddle) was a big hit. Not pictured are the rabbits – Snowy and Sooty who were fed many handfuls of dandelions…

While we were based at Cwmcrwth Farm, my sisters and I had a simply amazing experience! Billed as a cooking lesson, it was a day of food and camaraderie with Lisa Fearn at The Pumpkin Patch.

Heather and Cristy – making Welsh cakes

Lisa is a chef, author, and television personality – regularly appearing on S4C’s Prynhawn Da program. She teaches cooking classes for all ages, and welcomed us into her home for a day of traditional Welsh recipes. We made bread ( something I have never attempted) Welsh Cawl and Welsh cakes. Oh – Lisa whipped up some Welsh rarebit to go with our bread…

Welsh Cawl – a hearty soup of veg and ham/lamb.

While our dough was proving ( don’t I sound ready for the Bake off? Ha) Lisa showed us her new addition Y Sied. This newly renovated barn now houses the cooking school as well as a coffee shop and cafe! I was excited to see this new space before the unveiling – and am only sad I don’t live closer. I wish Lisa and her staff all the best in this new venture!

The Farm was a lovely respite in the middle of our trip. And we had such delicious offerings from our cooking class to take back to our self-catering cottages! So delicious!

Alpaca walk – post shearing
Sunset from the high pasture.

From our home base near Carmarthen – up next was a day trip to St Davis and the Pembrokeshire coast!

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