Places to visit in West Wales
New Quay - 'Cei Newydd'
With Its picturesque houses, pubs and restaurants clings to the sides of the
hills rising above the blue waters of Cardigan Bay on the coast of West Wales.
The town has narrow streets rising in terraces - between several of which were
'ropewalks' for twisting rope in New Quay's heyday as a shipbuilding centre
(see: New Quay's history). The sheltered harbour and safe beaches are the focus
of activity in the summer.
Aberaeron is an
attractive Georgian town planned by Alban Thomas Jones Gwynne by Act of
Parliament in 1807 . During the ensuing decades, the town as we know it today
took shape around the harbour and what was once a small fishing village
gradually grew into one of the major trading ports along the Cardigan Bay
Cilgerran is just to the east of Cardigan. There is canoeing in the Gorge below. The Castle stands on a precipitous, craggy promontory overlooking the river Teifi where it merges with the Plysgog stream. The Teifi here is just at its tidal limit, so the castle was able to control both a natural crossing point and the passage of seagoing ships. . Cilgerran is first mentioned by name in 1164, when the Lord Rhys captured the castle.
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Mwnt beach is near Cardigan. A beautiful National Trust Beach with lots of
parking and an ancient 6th century church. Click on the photo for more beaches.
This is a National Trust Property and has a large pay car park on top of the cliffs. There is a small gift shop part way down the path to the beach.
The town of Aberystwyth is the largest town in West Wales. As well as having a wide variety of shops, 'Aber' hosts the National Library and the Ceredigion Museum. Also worth visiting is the cliff railway and the winter Starling murmurations at the pier. The Rheidol Valley steam railway runs tourist trips from Aberystwyth station.
The Rheidol Valley Steam Railway
The railway runs tourist trips from Aberystwyth
station for 11¾ miles from Aberystwyth to Devil's Bridge. The terminus is
adjacent to the national network station at Aberystwyth, and on the hour-long
journey passengers have spectacular views of the wooded Rheidol Valley - views
unseen for decades until the railway began its renovation programme ten years
ago. AT Devil's Bridge you can view the famous '3 bridges' and take a walk
through the valley to view the falls - see below.
Devil's Bridge and the Three Bridges
Devil's Bridge is named after a local legend from
medieval times - there's not enough space for it here! The first bridge was
built in the 11th century and the 2 more modern bridges built above it. Thee is
a pay turnstile to view the bridges and the river gorge below it, and another on
the other side of the road to walk the trail down the valley and back to view
the falls. The scenery around Devil's Bridge is quite spectacular and the
mountains in this area were the location of an important lead and silver mining
operation in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Cwmystwyth Valley
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Mining
was economically very important in Cardiganshire. Centered on the Plynlimon
Mountains inland from Aberystwyth. The mines are now all largely derelict with
almost none of the buildings intact. Anyone interested in mining could spend an
interesting half day wandering about the valley. Alternatively you could visit
the Silver Mountain Mine and Museum which is open to the public and features a tour of
the old mineshaft.
Cenarth and Cenarth Falls
The charming conservation village of Cenarth,
huddled around its spectacular falls, is a real beauty spot. On the river Teifi
between Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn, it has a number of museums and attractions
including the National Coracle Museum. The falls, a multitude of low waterfalls
cascading over rock and boulders, punctuate the River Teifi as it tumbles to its
estuary at Cardigan Bay.
One of the most popular archaeological sites in Wales, Pentre Ifan is a splendid megalithic burial chamber with a huge capstone carefully balanced on three uprights. Pentre Ifan means Ivan's Village, although it has been known as 'Arthurs' Quoit'. Pentre Ifan dates back to 3500 BC and stands on a ridge above the Nevern Valley near Newport in Pembrokeshire. The capstone weighs over 16 tons and is 16ft 6in long and 8ft off the ground.
Cors Caron (Tregaron Bog)
Two miles to the north of the village of Tregaron and to the south-east of
Aberystwyth, Cors Caron is a nature reserve run by Natural Resources Wales.
There are boardwalks bird hides and lookout points. 12,000 years ago mid-Wales
was in the grip of the last Ice Age. As the climate warmed, the glaciers receded
and a large shallow lake occupied this valley. A huge reed bed and woodland
developed, but the climate became cooler and wetter, allowing the sphagnum
mosses to invade and begin the process of building three raised bogs.
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Centre for Alternative Technology (C.A.T.)
C.A.T. is at Corris, just north of Machynlleth. It
has many exhibits relating to renewable energy resources and sustainability.
CAT offers solutions to some of the most serious challenges facing our planet
and the human race, such as climate change, pollution and the waste of precious
resources. They demonstrate practical ways of addressing these problems. Leading
by example, and aim to show that living more sustainably is not only easy to
attain but can provide a better quality of life.
Dolaucothi Roman Gold Mines. Pumsaint, Llanwrda.
Unique Roman gold mine set amid wooded hillsides on the road from Lampeter to Llanwrda. National Trust guided tours take visitors through the Roman and the more recent underground workings. There are splendid views of the beautiful Cothi Valley and three estate walks, as well as a New exhibition on mining history.
The National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne.
This spectacular garden is collecting the seeds of,
and propagating, some of Wales's rarest plants. These include Britain's rarest
and most critically-endangered trees.
The Great Glasshouse, the Garden's iconic visitor attraction which houses plants from the Earth's Mediterranean climatic regions, doubles up as a refuge for some of the world's rarest plants
The Welsh Wildlife Centre, Cilgerran, Cardigan
260 acre nature reserve owned and managed by The Wildlife Trust West Wales with extensive footpaths (many suitable for all abilities) leading into woodland, reed beds, meadows and along the river Teifi. New 'Waterworld' exhibition - mini-beasts and water wildlife. Wildlife events for all ages.
Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre, Llywernog, Ponterwyd
Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre sits at the head of a dramatic valley and has
commanding views of Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains. The visitor centre
is the starting point for a range of waymarked trails for walkers, mountain
bikers, runners and horse riders.
It is well-known for its long established tradition of daily feeding of red kites, Wales’s National Bird of Prey. East of Aberystwyth on the A44 near Llywernog.
Llanerchaeron , Ciliau Aeron Aberaeron SA48 8DG
This is a small 18th century Welsh gentry estate
which has survived virtually unaltered. The house was built by John Nash in
1795. Consisting of the house, servant's quarters, stables, farm buildings and
walled garden, Llanerchaeron is a traditional rural estate that has remained in
the same family for ten generations. The house was commissioned from John Nash
in 1789 by Colonel William Lewis.
New Quay Honey Farm, Maesnewydd, Cross Inn
Open daily Spring Bank Holiday-mid September: 11.00am-1.00pm; 2.00-5.00pm. The farm is open to visitors and has a shop, tea room and live bee exhibition, and travelers from all over the world have witnessed one of nature's most fascinating processes and sampled at first hand a wonderful range of natural hive products.