Dre-fach Felindre to Henllan
‘Museum’ doesn’t seem to be the right word for the experience you get when you visit the Wool Museum at Dre-fach Felindre – which, by the way, is absolutely free to all ages. Set in an old mill with the water wheel outside still intact, you’ll soon get a feel for how busy this place once was. The staff who operate the impressive machines are great enthusiasts and will explain how a fleece becomes a blanket or carthen (a traditional Welsh blanket) – through several processes. Children (or their parents) can try their hands at carding, spinning and sewing along the way. Demonstrations of various machines are timetabled, so ask when you get there or look at the board. Just remember to time your tea-and-cake break so as not to miss either the demonstrations or the cake. Upstairs, be sure to press the audio buttons to hear stories from people who worked here.
We love the artwork of Julia Griffiths Jones who was artist in residence here for a while and who was clearly inspired by textiles and the vitality of this industry.
Leaving the Museum, turn left and the road will take you 2 miles out onto the A484, which you must cross carefully, then it’s over Henllan bridge and up into the village of Henllan itself. On your right you’ll pass an old prisoner-of-war camp where Italian prisoners were brought during the Second World War. Many worked on farms in the area and several made friends, married and settled in the Teifi valley. Remarkably, the prisoners created a church for themselves in one of the huts, building an altar and painting the most amazing fresco of the Last Supper, all using waste materials.
At Henllan you’ll find the gallery where artist Diane Mathias shows her work. Her studio is open six days a week and she has prints and cards as well as originals, so there’s something to suit everyone’s pocket. Open every day except Sunday.
A little further on, the Teifi Valley Railway awaits. There’s a steam locomotive, of course, lovely old coaches as well as a miniature railway. Check the site for their seasonal opening.
Take a walk
If you’ve spent most of your day looking at what other people have wanted to show you, maybe it’s time to do your own exploring – on foot. The riverside walks at Henllan are just lovely – love the wildlife, be romantic, take some photographs and make it a walk to remember. The Teifi River Trust recommends the walks but also tells you to take a map, because the signposting is not great. After all, you may have booked yourself a good dinner and you won’t want to get lost.
Pontprenshitw – this is the halt on the railway line where passengers can admire the bridge over the river Cynllo and see the dramatic gorge and falls. Walk to it or, in season, take the train? Your choice.
- Length – a 3-mile car journey from start to finish
- Starting-point: Dre-fach Felindre (SA44 5UP), 5 miles from Newcastle Emlyn