Carmel National Nature Reserve, near Llandeilo

Dramatic disused quarries, ancient woodland and unique seasonal lake

What's here

Coronavirus update


The car park and trail here are open.


Visiting our sites safely


We are working hard to provide a safe and welcoming experience as our sites re-open.


Please take personal responsibility for your safety, making additional preparations ahead of your visit and abiding by the safety measures in place.


We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.


See our tips about how to plan for and enjoy a safe visit.


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/2 kilometres
  • Total climb: 265 feet/ 80 metres
  • 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 at the National Nature Reserve

The landscape and wildlife varies at Carmel National Nature Reserve 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.

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

Find out more about National Nature Reserves.

How to get here


Carmel National Nature Reserve is five miles south west of Llandeilo, off the A476.

Ordnance Survey map

Carmel National Nature Reserve is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map 178.

The OS grid reference is SN 605 164.


From Llandeilo: Take the A476 from Llandeilo towards Llanelli. Go through Carmel village and, after mile, at a staggered crossroads turn left, signed to Llandybie. Follow this road for one mile and the reserve car park is on the left just before a junction.

From Llanelli: Take the A476 from Llanelli towards Llandeilo. At Carmel village, ignore the large brown and white nature reserve sign (which takes you to the western section of the reserve looked after by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales) and take the next right immediately after this sign, signed to Llandybie. Follow this road for one mile and the reserve car park is on the left just before a junction.

Public transport

For details of public transport visit the Traveline Cymru website.


The small car park has room for four cars.

Parking is free of charge.

Closures and diversions

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations.
  • We may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice, due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff.
  • Please always follow any instructions on site and any temporary diversion signs.

Contact details

0300 065 3000