Explore South Wales – Whitemill, Ferryside and Kidwelly.

Our week started out with us needing to find a campsite to empty the toilet cassette and have a shower. It had been a busy few days with us doing some volunteering work clearing some land. After the manual work we were pretty stinky plus the smell of bonfire filled our van and wardrobe! We decided to explore South Wales in more depth as we still had some time to kill before needing to be in Devon for a family holiday at the end of the month.

Previously we have explored West Wales from Cardigan to Aberystwyth and North Wales but haven’t had time to explore South Wales coast. 

View from welsh mountain Lou meeting the local horses

cooking on the campfire

sunset in the valley  heating water for a wash vanlifediary

Explore South Wales – Let the journey begin!

On Sunday morning we left our volunteering site and ventured in to Swansea to have a well earned carvery and a pint of cider with a friend.  We met on one of the many Facebook groups we belong to. It was so lovely to see her again and have a proper nose about in her camper. She’s got round windows in her van. They look really good but she said they were very authentic of a submarine and leak from time to time! When it comes to Camper windows, whose don’t?

Quarry Lodge Campsite

After our massive roast dinner we made our way to a campsite we had seen on pitchup.com. Beautiful location to explore South Wales from. Just off of the A40 at Felinwen (Carmarthen) and up a narrow road with plenty of passing places. You will find Quarry Lodge campsite on your right. As you pull in the electric pitches are on the right hand field. The non electric and tent pitches are to the left and beyond.

As it’s name suggests the campsite is situated on an old Quarry so it is on a few different levels – the pitches however have been nicely levelled so don’t worry about sleeping on a tilt! They have landscaped the site fantastically to allow for a natural toilet soak-away. This has provided a wild life area rich in plants and animals. From here paths take you down to multi levelled clearings in the woodland. One of these has almost a balcony feel with a hedgerow surrounding the edge.  It was here, that I proposed to Louise.

Luckily, she said yes! There will be more info on the proposal in the future.

The facilities were very clean and well maintained. Several toilet blocks situated on the site make life easy in peak season. A washing up area with information board was a real help. There were fresh chicken and duck eggs for sale with an honesty box as well as a herb box where you could snip your own and herbs for sale courtesy of the owners daughter – 50p for a planted pot of herbs! I also got a push on the tire swing by Rob, one of the owners!

Quarry Lodge is part of the camping and caravan club, and had we known this before booking it likely would have put us off altogether. (Don’t hate us but we have found they can be a little selective and our self build sticks out like a sore thumb!). However we are both very glad that we stayed here. It is a small but welcoming site with very calm energy and amazing views. You cant ask for more from your hosts. Honestly cant wait to visit there again and see Rob and Linda. They were the most amazing hosts and are so lucky to have such an amazing small but cosy site. If you only go to one campsite in Wales, make it this one!

Ferryside

Once we left Quarry Lodge with tears in our eyes, we continued to explore South Wales by heading south to a place just shy of 15 miles away. Ferryside is a village on the opposite side of the estuary to Llansteffan. Strangely enough there used to be a ferry from one side to the other. Although the original Ferry stopped running in the 1950’s a new service run by an amphibious boat has operated since 2018. Trivia fact – Ferryside was the first village in the UK to switch from analogue to digital TV!

As you drive along the road, you can’t imagen the little gem that awaits you! The houses are on one side of the road and their garages are on the other. When you see the railway station crossing you will also see a small turning. It is there you will find the car park for the lifeboat station and the sailing club.

Ferryside Beach

A lovely little beach, mostly sand at low tide but some stones higher up the beach. The life boat station on the right hand side of the car park but plenty of spaces with a low walled sea defence. As you look over the estuary you can see LLansteffan. Whilst walking we met a lovely gentleman who said “lovely isn’t it…. The other side looks like the finest place on earth until you get there, then you look back and this side looks like the finest place on earth too”. Was this a ‘grass is always greener’ comment or the truth that these two locations are among the best of South Wales hidden gems?

We reversed the van up to the wall and opened the back doors to overlook the estuary. It is the closest we will get to those Instagram photos – you know the ones I mean.

No Overnighting!

We had hoped to sleep near here for the night. We were approached by a gentleman from the sailing club who made it quite clear that campers were not welcome to overnight (but they had to tolerate us during the day).

Not wanting to outstay our welcome we decided to then head along a narrow mostly single track coastal road in the the hope we may spot somewhere to sleep en route to Kidwelly. Sadly we didn’t find anywhere and that was including a wrong turn that took us in a massive circle around a farm. There is another road to Kidwelly that may be more suitable for you if you are feint of heart!

Kidwelly

Kidwelly is situated in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. It is 7 miles north west of Llanelli. Perhaps its most attractive tourism pull is the Castle. Kidwelly Castle is a site to behold. We arrived in the evening and pulled into the car park to look at her. She was glowing in the low evening sun all golden and majestic. We knew we had to come back to see her properly in the morning so we found a place on search for sites near the canal. A large car park with stunning walks popular with local dog walkers. Just a warning – you are next to a small sewage works although the wind was in our favour and we didn’t have any nasty smells. We didn’t have any trouble here and cooked our dinner before snuggling up in bed.

Next morning, after a hearty breakfast, we headed back to the castle. Its part of CADW so we used our passes to get in for free. If you are not a member, it is worth thinking about. You get free entrance to all the Welsh sites and half price off of English and Scottish heritage sites. On renewal I believe it’s then free access to all 3.

The castle is a motte and bailey Castle and there current works date from around 1114. It is a double walled fortress. This means that they have an outer wall and an inner wall to protect the castles occupants. An army would have to breech both walls to get inside. The Castle has several towers on the perimeter as well as the remains of chapels, kitchens and a tale of a very lucky magical cat.

Mythical black cat

The information boards around the site tell you of the legend of the magical black cat. legend claims that the cat was the first thing to appear from the castle after the great plague, and there are also myths about her surviving a huge fire. The cat is on the official coat of arms for the town so do keep your eyes open. Legend has it that she still has 6 lives left, and is a magical cat that is still sometimes seen!

The castle is very maternal in its history and the woman that lived here, fought here and died here. The wildlife was in abundance with swallows and crows nesting in the towers and the wagtails patrolling the picnic benches for scraps.

We have added lots of photos for you but we really think this is a castle you need to visit for yourself without too may spoilers! Oh just one spoiler, the one way system that takes you to the castle and out through the remains of the walled town, has an 11ft 3 height restriction that they don’t tell you about at the start of the one way system. We changed our pants after. Close call for our van!

Where did we go next? From Kidwelly we travelled to Pembrey Country Park and Beach. It’s not far from Kidwelly and was so amazing.

We are going to write our next post about this location. We love to explore South Wales and it is getting better every day.

Don’t forget to comment below with any other recommendations for that areas we travel to. We want to know where you have visited too!

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One thought on “Explore South Wales – Whitemill, Ferryside and Kidwelly.

  1. That’s so cool you actually got to see a castle! i’ve always wanted to do that. I’ll have to check out that website you mentioned, that sounds like a great way to find a place to rest.

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