Carmel National Nature Reserve, near Llandeilo

What's here


Explore a rich tapestry of habitats from ancient woodland to flower-rich grassland on our walking trail through Carmel National Nature Reserve.

Limestone has been extracted from this valley since the Middle Ages and the far-reaching views from the top of the disused quarry are well worth the steep climb at the start of the route.

The reserve is home to a rare seasonal lake fed solely by groundwater (known as a turlough), filling up in winter and emptying during most summers.

There is a small picnic area with two picnic tables next to the car park.

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales looks after the western sections of the reserve next to Carmel village.

Walking trail

The walking trail is waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trail.

Find out about walking trail grades.

Quarry Trail

  • Grade: Difficult
  • Distance: 1¼ miles/1.9 kilometres
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Trail information: The trail follows steep paths with a loose stone surface - wear hiking boots. There is a steep climb at the start and steep steps at the end. The quarry faces are steep - keep to the paths and do not approach the quarry edges. Two of the viewpoints have benches.

This circular walk climbs to the top of a former quarry where you can take in the far-reaching views.

It goes through the deciduous woodland, which is full of bluebells in spring, and returns alongside the turlough (a seasonal lake).

What to see on the National Nature Reserve

Carmel is a National Nature Reserve.

National Nature Reserves are places with some of the very finest examples of wildlife habitats and geological features.

The landscape and wildlife varies depending on which time of year you visit – here’s what to look out for.


Enjoy carpets of bluebells, dog’s mercury, ramsons and wood anemone in the woods.

Go orchid hunting next to the path into the quarry.

Hundreds of toads make their way to the lake to spawn in spring (risking their lives crossing the road at night!).


Look out for rare plants like lily-of-the-valley, herb paris and toothwort in the woods.

Enjoy limestone grassland flowers such as bird’s foot trefoil, marjoram, aquilegia and harebell.

Try to spot woodland birds like treecreepers, great spotted woodpeckers and redstarts.


Forage for fungi in the woods and brightly coloured wax caps in the grasslands.

Take in the autumn colour and kick some leaves.

National Nature Reserves in Wales

There are over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales.

Find out more about National Nature Reserves.

Visiting safely

We want you to return home safely after your visit here.

You are responsible for your own safety as well as the safety of any children and animals with you during your visit.

Please note:

  • steep quarry faces – keep to the paths and do not approach quarry edges.
  • risk of falling rocks – keep away from the bottom of the quarry slopes.
  • disused lime kilns and old quarry workings - do not approach or enter.
  • caves – may only be visited by experienced and equipped cavers.

For advice and tips to help you plan your visit here go to Visiting our places safely.

Changes to visitor facilities

See the top of this webpage for details of any planned closures or other changes to visitor facilities here.

For your safety, always follow instructions from staff and signs including those for trail diversions or closures.

We may divert or close trails whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations and we may need to close other visitor facilities temporarily.

In extreme weather, we may close facilities at short notice due to the risk of injury to visitors and staff.

How to get here

Carmel National Nature Reserve is 5 miles south west of Llandeilo.


The postcode is SA18 3JP.

Please note that this postcode may not take you to the car park if you use a sat nav or navigation app.

We suggest you follow the directions below or use the Google map on this page which has a pin on the car park’s location.


Take the A476 from Llandeilo towards Llanelli.

Go through Carmel village and, after ⅓ mile, at a staggered crossroads turn left, signposted to Llandybie.

Follow this road for one mile and the reserve car park is on the left just before a junction.


View this place on the What3Words website.

Ordnance Survey

The Ordnance Survey (OS) grid reference for the car park is SN 605 164 (Explorer Map 178).

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is in Llandybie.

For details of public transport go to the Traveline Cymru website.


The small car park has room for four cars.

Parking is free of charge.

Overnight parking is not permitted.

Contact details

There are no staff at this location.

Contact our customer team for general enquiries during office hours, Monday to Friday.

Related document downloads

Other places in South West Wales

Last updated