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Welsh: Sir Gaerfyddin
United Kingdom
The Boathouse - - 461239.jpg
The Boathouse and estuary, Laugharne
Flag of Carmarthenshire
Rhyddid gwerin ffyniant gwlad
(A free people a prosperous country)
[Interactive map]
Area: 937 square miles
Population: 184,232
County town: Carmarthen
County flower: Whorled caraway [1]

The County of Carmarthen is a maritime shire in the south-west of Wales, and at 937 square miles it is the largest county in Wales, but only the 28th largest in the whole United Kingdom.

Carmarthenshire lies on the sea where the Bristol Channel is opening onto the Atlantic. The coasts of Carmarthenshire curve around Carmarthen Bay, the quiet dip of the fields running into broad sandy beaches.

The Towy Valley crosses the county from its north-east and runs from the mountains, broadening from Llandovery and providing farmland down through Llandeilo to Carmarthen, a little south of which the Towy opens into the middle of a three-branched an estuary with the Gwendraeth and the Taf into Carmarthen Bay. Off these rivers are many tidal creeks.

The southern part of Carmarthen is generally low lying and pastoral. The north and east, beyond the Towyn Valley, are mountainous.

The county's three largest towns are Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford. The county town is Carmarthen, but the most populous town is Llanelli, taken together with the suburban areas around it. About half of the county's population are Welsh-speakers.

With its fertile land and agricultural produce, Carmarthenshire is known as the "Garden of Wales".[1] Its Welsh name is Sir Gaerfyrddin (Caerfyrddin being Carmarthen) or Sir Gâr.


Llyn y Fan Fawr in the Black Mountain

Carmarthenshire is bounded to the north by Cardiganshire, to the west by Pembrokeshire, to the east by Brecknockshire and Glamorgan and its south is washed by the waters of the Bristol Channel.

The surface generally is upland and mountainous. Fforest Fawr and the Black Mountain range extend into the east of the county and the Cambrian Mountains into the north. The south coast contains many fishing villages and sandy beaches. The highest point is Fan Brycheiniog, reaching 2,525 feet, albeit that the mountain only reaches its summit in Brecknockshire.

The shire is drained by several important rivers, especially the Towy, which flows into the Bristol Channel, and its several tributaries, such as the River Cothi. The Towy is the longest river flowing entirely within Wales and is noted for its trout and salmon fishing. Other rivers include the Loughor (which forms the eastern border with Glamorgan), and the Gwendraeth Fawr.

The county's principal industries are agriculture, forestry, fishing and tourism.


Carmarthenshire has its early roots in the region formerly known as Ystrad Tywi (Vale of [the river] Towy) and part of the Principality of Deheubarth during the High Middle Ages, with the court at Dinefwr.

There is evidence to show that the county of Carmarthen itself came into existence between 1270 and 1280, and following the Edwardian Conquest of Wales, it was formalised by the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284.


The hundreds of Carmarthenshire

The county has eight hundreds, originating as mediæval commotes:

Towns and villages

Carmarthen Guildhall

The county town is Carmarthen, an ancient town, and it is from this town that the county takes its name. The name of Carmarthen is from the Welsh Caerfyrddin, meaning "Myrddin's fort", and a legend has grown up that it is named after Merlin of Arthurian legend.

The county's principal towns are:

For a full list of villages and hamlets, see Category:Towns and villages in Carmarthenshire

Civil communities

Sites of Carmarthenshire

Carreg Cennen Castle
Cathedral/Abbey/Priory Cathedral/Abbey/Priory
Accessible open space Accessible open space
Amusement/Theme Park Amusement/Theme Park
Castle Castle
Country Park Country Park
Cadw Cadw
Forestry Commission Forestry Commission
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House
Museum (free)
Museum (not free)
Museum (free/not free)
National Trust National Trust
Zoo Zoo


Castle Castles:

Other built heritage



Museum (free) Museums:

  • Carmarthenshire County Museum
  • National Trust Dolaucothi Gold Mines, Pumsaint
  • Kidwelly Industrial Museum
  • National Woollen Museum
  • Parc Howard Museum
  • Pendine Museum of Speed (Pendine)
  • West Wales Museum of Childhood

Heritage railways

Heritage railway Railways:

Outside links


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