On April 1, 1996, the new county of Dyfed, which had swallowed up the historic counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire, wasdisbanded. The old county names were reinstated, although many of the area’s inhabitants had never stopped using them.To the far west is Pembrokeshire, sometimes referred to as ‘the Little England Beyond Wales‘, perhaps due to the annual influx of holidaymakers. With its mildclimate andmagnificent coastal scenery, Pembrokeshire is the Welsh equivalent of Cornwall. The centre of the county isrich, level farmland; the county is famous for its 167-mile coastal walk along rugged cliffs.

North of Pembrokeshire isCardiganshire(now known as Ceredigion), which has similarly spectacular views, but less history of tourism. Even today,the coast is difficult to reachbecause of its mountainous hinterland. The exception is Aberystwyth, which was linked to the railway network in the mid 19th century. Ceredigion is not densely populated andlargely unspoilt; house prices are lower than in Pembrokeshire.South of Ceredigion liesthe rich farmland of Carmarthenshire, which rises in the east towards the Brecon Beacons.

Carmarthen was the former county town of Dyfed, anddairy farmingis the county’s main industry. The population, which is English and Welsh speaking, is relatively small.Prices in Pembrokeshire are higherthan in the other two counties, and boosted by holiday-cottage owners. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has ensured that planning controls on the coast are strict,and houses with a sea view arecorrespondingly expensive.In Carmarthenshire, prices are 15% to 20% lower; in Ceredigion, up to 40% lower.

Major Towns
Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, Cardigan, Carmarthen, Llanelli, Pembroke, Milford Haven, Haverfordwest, Fishguard.

Transport links
Train: Euston to Aberystwyth (via Wolverhampton or Birmingham) 4hr 46min; Paddington to Carmarthen (via Swansea) 3hr 44min; Paddington to Milford Haven (via Swansea) 4hr 50min.Car: Aberystwyth is 237 miles from London, via the A44 and M40; Carmarthen is 216 miles, via the M4; Milford Haven is 256 miles, via the M4 and A40.

Public schools
Haylett Grange Pneu School, Haverfordwest (01437 762472). Co-educational, age range 3-11, day.Llandovery College(01550 20315). Co-educational, age range 11-18, day and boarding.St Michael’s School, Llanelli (01554 820325). Co-educational, age range 7-18, day.Netherwood School, Saundersfoot (01834 813360). Co-educational, age range 3-16, day and boarding.

Leisure
Golfcourses: Newport, Pembrokeshire (01239 820244); Tenby (01834 842787); Aberystwyth (01970 615104); Ashburnham, Burry Port (01554 832466).Hunts: the Pembrokeshire,the South Pembrokeshire, the Tivy Side.Yachting clubs: the Penarth, Barry, Burry Port, Dale, Fishguard Bay and Pembrokeshire Yacht Clubs.Fishing: rivers Teifi and Towy.