Visit and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire. This hamlet lies on the main road between Lampeter and Llandeilo at a bridge over the Cothi river. The pleasant inn where George Borrow stayed while he tramped Wild Wales overlooks the trout stream. For the rest, Pumsaint consists of a few scattered houses, an old smithy, and the overgrown entrance to the decayed estate of Dolaucothi. Dolaucothi was the ancestral home of the Johnes family, who owned it from the reign of Henry VII. The old house was the scene of a celebrated late Victorian tragedy when Judge Johnes was murdered in his study by a discharged butler who afterwards committed suicide.
Pumsaint must be distinguished from Llanpumsaint, a small village 15 miles to the West. in the Gwili valley. “Pump” is Welsh for five, and the same five saints were connected with both places. Ceitho, Celynnen, Gwyn, Gwyno, and Gwynoro were apparently quintuplets one of the earliest cases on record. Legend relates that they came under the spell of an enchanter who laid them to sleep in a cave near Pumsaint. There they lie, waiting to return when a truly pious bishop shall rule the diocese of St David's. It is no reflection on the Church in Wales that, so far, the saintly “quins” have not reappeared.
Pumsaint has magnificent and unfrequented country to the North. The upper reaches of the Cothi are particularly attractive.
About ½ mile East of Pumsaint are the celebrated Roman gold-mines. Nothing is visible of the Roman bath-house marked on the Ordnance Survey map, over the bridge East of the village. The mines, however, can be seen ½ mile North of the main road. The land is now National Trust property. The Carreg Pumsaint, a stone with five hollows for the five saints, is close at hand on a low mound. The Romans worked partly by opencast and partly by driving adits into the lodes. The open-cast section looks like an overgrown modern quarry, but the adits honeycomb the wooded slope beyond. Some of them have Roman chisel-marks clearly visible. Exploring the galleries is dangerous, and a fence has recently been erected to prevent the public from entering certain areas. Gold has been worked here in recent times, until 1939.
From the gold-mines the road runs up the Cothi valley, which becomes increasingly beautiful. The aqueduct that brought water to the mines from the head-waters of the Cothi can be traced on the South side of the valley. It requires expert eyes to follow its full course, but it must have been one of the most impressive works of its kind in Britain.
Some 3 miles up from Pumsaint beyond the gold-mines is Cwrtycadno (Fox Hall). Cwrt Methodist chapel stands at the crossroads, with its name curiously spaced among the windows. The National Trust owns the fine natural woodlands that clothe the hill-side. The National Trust area includes the farm that was once the home of “Dr” John Harris, the “dyn hysbys” (wizard) and astrologer, who was famous throughout Wales in the l830s. People came to consult him from all over the principality. He had received some medical training, was a distinguished herbalist and healer, but was also credited with practising the black art in the woods around Cwrtycadno.
The val1ey closes in about 2 miles beyond Cwrt. The Cothi comes down from its mountain source in a fine ravine and a series of falls among the thick woods called Pwlluffern (Pit of Hell). A miniature pass, Bwlch-y-Rhiw, takes the road over to the tributaries of the upper Towy valley. Just over the top, amongst the trees on the side of Mynydd Mallaen, is the Baptist chapel of Bwlch-y-Rhiw. built originally in 1717. It can claim to be the most romantically situated chapel in South Wales. The road drops down to Rhandirmwyn under the crags and woods of Mynydd Mallaen.
Nearby towns: Lampeter, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llanybydder
Nearby villages: Abergorlech, Abermeurig, Brechfa, Cellan, Cilycwm, Cribyn, Cwmann, Cynghordy, Ffaldybrenin, Gartheli, Llanbydder, Llanddeusant, Llanddewi Brefi, Llanfair Clydogau, Llanfynydd, Llangadog, Llangybi, Llansadwrn, Llansawel, Llanwnen, Llanwrda, Llanycrwys, Myddfai, Pencarreg, Porthyrhyd, Rhandirmwyn, Rhydcymerau, Silian, Talley, Talsarn, Temple Bar, Ystradffin
Have you decided to visit or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a bed and breakfast (a B&B or b and b)
- a guesthouse
- a hotel (or motel)
- a self-catering establishment, or
- other accommodation