Travel

Talley Abbey & Talley Woodlands

We love finding new places to explore. We have a few firm favourites, but are always on the lookout for new areas to visit.
Adam bought me a copy of Wild Guide Wales for my birthday, which is filled with tons of great walks and places to discover.

With a county-wide lockdown looming tomorrow which means we won’t be able to leave our local area. We picked a remote walk in Carmarthen, Talley Abbey & Talley Woodlands, to make the most of the sunshine and our last day of ‘freedom’.

Talley is a small village just north of Llandeilo. It’s defining feature is the ruined abbey, founded by Rhys ap Gruffyd in the 1180s for an order of Premonstratensian monks from Amien. Standing in an idyllic setting, over looking the village’s lakes and surrounding countryside, the abbey was a victim of Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, but even before that it struggled due to lack of funds and attempted takeover by the abbot of Whitland.

Important info

  • Admission cost: Free
  • Opening hours: 10am – 4pm for the abbey grounds.
  • Dog friendly: Yes.

How to get there

From the direction of Carmarthen/Llandeilo on the A40/A483 take the B430 (Talley Road). Approximately 1/2 mile after passing the village sign the road bends round to the right; take the left turning on the corner, by the white house, sign posted with a Cadw sign for ‘Talley Abbey’. Follow the road round into the village centre. There is parking next to the abbey and the church. Postcode for sat nav – SA19 7AX.

Talley Abbey

Situated in the heart of the village, the remains of the abbey are a striking sight. Planned as a much bigger building, lack of funds and conflict with the Whitland Cisterian abbey meant it was never fully completed. It’s not a big site, but is a great place to start your walk. We visited on a beautiful autumn day and had the place to ourselves.

Once you’ve finished looking around the abbey ruins, it’s definitley worth taking a walk through the churchyard to Talley lakes.
There is a gate in the fence that runs down the left hand side which leads into the churchyard. The church itself was built in 1773, using stone and beams from the abbey. The church is unusual in that it has two doors and two aisles. As we visited on a Sunday the church was open, but due to covid we didn’t feel it was appropriate to go in (though I did sneek a look through the open door and caught a glimpse of the beautiful stained glass window).

If you follow the path right, through the graveyard, it leads down to the twin lakes. We were unsure if it was possible to walk around the lakes, but I think it would be (research suggests they are owned by the RSPB and The Wildlife Trust). On the area of land in between the two lakes is a Norman motte and bailey castle which I would like to explore on a future visit.

Talley Lakes

Talley Woodlands Walk

The woodlands above the village offer three different walks, all which start from a small car parking area which can be found just up from the church, on the left.
All of the walks are strenuous (read: there is a very steep hill), but vary in distance. We chose to do the yellow ‘Big Trees Walk’ which took us about an hour and a half to complete. If it’s a nice day I would highly recommend taking a picnic to enjoy when you reach the top.

Talley Woodlands Walk Map Route
Talley Woodlands Walks
Talley Woodland Big Trees Walk
Talley Woodland Big Trees Walk
Talley Woodland Big Trees Walk Waterfall

The route took us up through the trees and a former arboretum; looming pines, covered with swathes of moss, huge oak and ancient ash. It was lovely and peaceful walking through the trees, and again we were the only people there. Indy enjoying running around sniffing everything and taking advantage of the small streams and waterfalls to cool herself off – it was a steep climb to the top!

At the top of the hill the area opened up to sheep covered moorlands with a red kite wheeling over head. It was a clear day and we could see for miles. The views are stunning, looking over Talley and the Brecon Beacons in the east and the Cothi valley in the west.

The picnic bench at the top provided a very welcome spot to enjoy the scenery. It was a beautiful autumn day and was nice to be able to sit in the sunshine and feel like you were the only people for miles around. It was at this point that I definitely wish that we’d brought a picnic with us!

Talley Woodland Walk

Following the route down the hill took us back towards Talley, with views over the village and the abbey and the Brecons beyond. The trail loops back above the lakes before dropping down a braken and gorse covered hill to double gates and back to the start of the walk.

Talley Woodland Walk
Talley Woodlands

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