Carmel National Nature Reserve

Useful Information

Location: Near Llandybie in South Wales, Carmarthenshire.
(51.827144, -4.044317)
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: Karstkarst lake. Turlough.
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=4 km.
Guided tours: L=1.9 km, self guided.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: P. Hardwick, J. Gunn (1995): Landform-groundwater interactions in the Gwenlais karst, South Wales. In: Geomorphology and Groundwater. Edited by A. G. Brown, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 75-91, 1995.
Address: Carmel Woods National Nature Reserve, Llandeilo, Tel: +44-300-065-3000. E-mail:
Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Carmel, Llandeilo, SA1 4NR, Tel: +44-1239-621600. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1995 seasonal lake recognized as a turlough by P. Hardwick and J. Gunn.
1996 land acquired by Tarmac.
24-JUN-1999 reserve opened by HRH The Prince of Wales.


The area of Carmel is of significant environmental importance, as it has ash woodland, heaths, raised bogs and unimproved grasslands. Significant industrial archaeology sites date back to the 1850s. But the most interesting feature from our viewpoint is the only ephemeral lake (turlough) found on mainland Britain.

About 4 km of public footpaths allow visitors to explore the area.

Until 1995 it was thought that there were no turloughs in Great Britain. The most similar location was Malham Tarn, a permanent lake in Yorkshire, which is surrounded - but not floored - by limestone. It is thought to have some formational characteristics in common with poljes, but is not a seasonal lake. Then the seasonal lake at Carmel was recognized as a turlough by P. Hardwick and J. Gunn in their work about Gwenlais karst.