Laugharne loop

There’s more to Laugharne than Dylan Thomas

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Start and finish

Car park below the castle in Laugharne

Distance

4 miles / 7 kilometres - Laugharne castle circular walk

1 mile / 1.35 km Dylan’s Birthday Walk

Along the way

Even if you’re not a fan of Dylan Thomas, there’s plenty to see and do in the lovely little coastal village of Laugharne. And this walk takes in some fantastic estuary views, beautiful woodland and countryside sections, a great medieval castle, and of course, its fair share of Dylan.

Set off by crossing the footbridge from the car park and follow the path around Laugharne castle, taking in some splendid views across the Taf estuary and Carmarthen Bay to Gower, beyond.

Within a few hundred yards we reach Dylan’s old writing shed and the Boathouse where he lived for the last four years of his life and from where he produced some of his best work – much of it heavily influenced by the town, the landscape and its characters.

Into the woods

From here, the path goes through a lovely woodland with some immense moss-and-ivy-clad sycamore and beech trees.

We then go through some fields and up a steepish tree-lined track for half a mile or so. At the top, the Wales Coast Path turns right for “Brixtarw,” but we go left at this point then right, before the track to Delacourse Uchaf, and back down a tranquil, enclosed, country lane for another half a mile or so towards Laugharne. Soon, we reach St Martin’s Wood on the left and the Grade II listed St Martin’s Church on the right.

Atmospheric churchyard

This must be one of the most atmospheric churchyards in Wales with overgrown, tilting, gravestones shaded beneath some massive ancient Yew trees. We go through a kissing gate and around the church, then through another gate into the newer cemetery. This is where Dylan and his wife Caitlin are buried – the grave is easy to spot, marked by a simple white cross.

When we’ve paid our respects, we aim for the wooden gate at the top of the cemetery, and turn right along a path back to Laugharne.

The village of Laugharne

This is the village described by Dylan as: “…a black-magical bedlam by the sea… timeless, beautiful, barmy..… there is nowhere like it anywhere at all.” He also denied that Laugharne and its people were the inspiration for Under Milk Wood, although the people here don’t seem to have much of a problem with that, if it were true.

The village itself has plenty of places to eat, drink and relax. The most well-known being Brown’s Hotel – Dylan’s favourite local.

Laugharne Castle

And just down the road from Brown’s is Laugharne Castle. Founded in 1116, it was part of a Norman chain of castles from Chepstow to Pembroke but was never safe from Welsh attack and was captured many times.

Rescued from near-ruin by Elizabethan courtier Sir John Perrot the dilapidated thirteenth century castle was turned into a residence fit for a gentleman. But its renaissance was short-lived, and it was captured for the final time and partly dismantled after a siege by Parliamentary forces in the Civil War.

Now we head back to the waterfront, past the listed Island House and the Cross on the Grist, a Grade II Listed Building in Laugharne.
We could finish our walk here, but we continue along the foreshore and along the so-called “new path,” built in 1856 to help cocklers reach the marshes at the other end.

Dylan’s Birthday Walk

The “new path” has now been renamed as Dylan’s Birthday Walk after it provided the inspiration for his Poem in October. As we climb steadily through the woods, occasional benches provide opportunities to sit down and take in the views while information boards provide some insights into the area’s history and wildlife.

At the point where the path starts going downhill, we turn around, enjoying some fine views out to the estuary and back towards Laugharne Castle.

Walk highlights

Nigel Nicholas, Wales Coast Path Officer, said: “This walk packs a lot into a short distance. There’s obviously lots of Dylan, but there’s pleasant sections through some fabulous woodland, near the estuary and along country lanes. And of course, there’s Laugharne Castle standing guard at the mouth of the Taf estuary.”

Need to know

There is a selection of places to eat, drink and snack in Laugharne, all within a stone’s throw of the village car park. There are public toilets in the village as well.

Map

Download the Laugharne circular walk map (JPEG, 7.8MB)