Llanelli, the largest town in Carmarthenshire, is an ex-mining town where the economy once thrived not only from mining but also from the steelworks and the tinplate industry. The latter led to the town being nicknamed 'Tinopolis'. However, following a familiar pattern, the 1970s saw the start of an economic decline with the closure of the mines coupled with competition from overseas steel producers, although some steel manufacturing still goes on in the area. Aside from economic activity, the town also has a proud rugby tradition. A few years ago a new stadium called Parc y Scarlets was built, named after one of the town's two rugby teams the Scarlets, the other one being the Llanelli RFC.
Today one of the main attractions bringing visitors to the area is the National Wetlands Centre on the banks of the River Loughor to the east of the town, where familiar birds such as geese and other waterfowl are joined by the more exotic flamingoes. Recent sightings include black tailed godwit, goldeneye and lapwing. Another draw for visitors is the Millenium Coastal Park, including a Coastal Path running for 13 miles from Loughor to Pembrey. There are also cycle paths, beaches, coarse fishing and other leisure activities to be enjoyed in the Park, all accompanied by lovely views of the Gower Peninsula to the east. Back in the town, Llanelli House is an early Georgian building offering tours which tell the history of the house and the town. Parc Howard Museum occupies a 19th century Italianate house and houses a range of exhibits including a large collection of Llanelli pottery. A range of events are held in the town during the course of the year, including the Big Day Out Music Festival, a Beer Festival and a Carnival.
Map of the area.
|Some of the more exotic inhabitants of the Wetlands Centre. Photo by Nigel Homer, via Wikimedia Commons|