A Twizy Visit to Dolaucothi Gold Mines

Thierry outside The Level Crossing in Llandovery

Thierry outside The Level Crossing in Llandovery

For 2 weeks in August, Tracy (one of the ETN Twizy fleet) is going to be hired out from The Level Crossing Bunkhouse & B&B in Llandovery (opposite the railway station). If you are in the area in August, make sure to book yourself a Twizy trip.

Last Saturday, we wanted something relatively cool to do in the 30 deg temperatures so we headed off to Llandovery in Thierry-the-Twizy to explore what it would be like to Twizy to Dolaucothi Gold Mines from Llandovery. The best thing about Twizys is that they are open-sided. Thierry doesn’t even have doors and it means that driving in this lovely hot weather is a joy.

First stop was The Level Crossing to enjoy a beer and one of their delicious paninis and for Thierry to catch some watts after his long-ish first leg from Pencelli – he was going to need those before he headed on up into the hills.

Dolau Hirion bridge

Dolau Hirion bridge

After a sunny lunch, we unplugged Thierry, crossed the railway and turned off the A40 to the right alongside the Towy riverbank because we were keen to visit the Dolau-Hirion bridge built in 1773. My partner, a Llandovery College OB (particularly ‘O’ in his case) remembered swimming here in the pool below the bridge. We parked Thierry by the bridge and wandered down to the river where it was gloriously shady and cool. Unfortunately, no time for swimming today so, after taking a few photos, off we went.

Our planned destination was Dolaucothi Gold mines just 10 miles from Llandovery. It’s a place we have long wanted to visit but, as we are discovering, having a Twizy somehow encourages even us locals to make such outings – partly because the trip there and back, especially by the backroads, becomes part of a fun day out. Certainly beats driving the A40 in an ordinary car.

As explained on the National Trust website, the Romans first mined for gold here 2,000 years ago and there is still some evidence of how they did that. Gold was mined again here during the 19th and 20th centuries, ending in 1938. There are guided tours every hour giving you a chance to experience the conditions of the Roman, Victorian and 1930s underground workings.

Thierry twizy charging at Dolaucothi Gold Mines

Thierry twizy charging at Dolaucothi Gold Mines

Arriving at the carpark, the very friendly National Trust warden immediately recognised the Twizy from the Rough Guides trip in the spring. She kindly radioed up to the main site to see if it would be OK for us to drive the Twizy up there and plug in for a charge while we toured the mines. This made us feel very welcome and also meant that we knew we would
be able to make the 42 mile journey home in one shot. The National Trust apparently plan to install a full electric vehicle charge point like their one at Dinefwr Park in due course. In the meantime, they certainly offer a warm Twizy welcome and were keen to offer us watts but warned us that driving across the main site to plug in might not be possible on a busy day when there are more visitors around.

So, we parked Thierry outside the “Kitting up Shed” and ran our extension lead through the window to plug him in. Thierry duly happy and feeding, his crew headed off to explore this fascinating site and book ourselves on the next tour.

Kitted out for Gold Mine Tour

Kitted out for Gold Mine Tour

This involved being kitted out (in the “kitting out shed” of course) with a helmet, wellies and an extremely heavy lead acid battery to power a headlamp. No luxury of lithium batteries here! Duly kitted, we headed into the Victorian mines where it was fantastically cool – just what was needed on such a hot summer’s day. The tour guide was excellent and we particularly enjoyed climbing out at the end via the original Roman entrance to the mine.

If we had had more time, we’d like to have also visited the newly opened Dolaucothi Arms in the nearby village for a pint – maybe next time. As it was, we treated ourselves to a post-tour ice cream, unplugged a fully-charged Thierry, thanked our National Trust hosts and headed off home by our favourite Twizy route up high above the Usk Reservoir where the views over the little known Carmarthen Van Mountains are spectacular.

So, if you are in or around Llandovery in August, hire a Twizy from the Level Crossing and visit Dolaucothi or one of the many other Carmarthenshire attractions all in Twizy reach.

Entrance to Dolaucothi mine

Entrance to Dolaucothi mine


About Alison Kidd

Research Psychologist
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