Gwbert – Enjoys a breathtaking position on the cliffs and down to the beach overlooking Cardigan Bay – home of the dolphin. It is 3 miles from Cardigan and to the south is The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and to the north, The Ceredigion Heritage Coastal Path. Climb the rocky headland along the Ceredigion coastal path and marvel at the breathtaking views out across the Teifi Estuary. Remember to look out for dolphins and seals, known to regularly frequent this area of coast, particularly towards the end of the summer, and to those gloriously bright Autumn days. Water sports are a popular pastime for those visiting Gwbert-on-Sea. Enjoy kitesurfing, and windsurfing across the crystal clear waters of Gwbert, or just lay back, relax, and take in the sights. Take the dog for a leisurely walk across the sandy shores of Gwbert, with no dog restrictions applying at this beach at any time throughout the year, but do be aware that there is no lifeguard present at Gwbert even during the high seasons. Just a stones throw away, the busy market town of Cardigan is rich and diverse in both art and culture.
Mwnt is 4 miles north of Cardigan and is a sheltered sandy cove, owned by the National Trust. This popular beach is off the beaten track but can still get busy in the height of summer. From the headland, soak in the breathtaking panoramic view, and keep a watchful eye on the horizon for bottle-nose dolphins, porpoises and seals, all of which are regular visitors to the shallow waters off Mwnt. With green coast and seaside awards Mwnt, is popular with swimmers. Considered a safe area for swimming, Mwnt is not patrolled by a lifeguard, but as ever, remember to stay safe and vigilant when enjoying the beach. Mwnt has many helpful amenities including toilets, and during the high season, a wonderful little shop that sells a great variety of ice-creams to cool you down on those sunny summer days. The steep steps leading to the beach make it unsuitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs. Dogs are not permitted on Mwnt between May and September.
Llangrannog lies on the coast of Ceredigion, in a narrow valley which the river Hawen makes its rapid way into Cardigan Bay. Another small stream, Nant Eisteddfa flows into the sea, but is mostly hidden and emerges as an outfall near the boat ramp. In the lower part, the valley is so steep as to form a virtual ravine, the river Hawen falling at one point as a waterfall. The village is spread along the valley, the older settlement, including the church, being above the waterfall, hidden from view of the sea .The lower or beach village was built in later, safer years and for many years was a small flourishing commercial port. Llangrannog has a sheltered sandy beach known as ‘Traeth y Pentref’ (the village beach). It has a distinctive large rock on the shore’s edge called ‘Carreg Bica’ which according to legend was once a giant’s tooth. At low tide, you can walk past the rock to the hidden sandy cove of Cilborth. There is also a cliff path leading from the village to Cilborth which is not affected by the tide.
Although several miles to the north of the village of Cil-y-cwm, the building of the Llyn Brianne Dam had many subsequent and profound effects – not only on the inhabitants of the Upper Towi Valley, but also on the lifeline of the Valley, namely the fishing in the River Towi. Llyn Brianne reservoir was originally built to satisfy the growing demands of heavy industry in and around Swansea for water, notably the tin plate works at Felindre and a smelting plant at Llansamlet. Ironically, both these have since closed down and water from Llyn Brianne which is surplus to the Swansea area’s needs now goes into the general supply, quenching thirsts all the way from Llanelli, across West and South Wales and as far East as Cardiff. The dam, built with a clay core and rock fill, is believed to be the highest of its type in Europe. The Upper Towy Valley and Llyn Brianne is still one of the most beautiful areas of Wales however and it is a haven for bird watchers, anglers, mountain bikers and walkers. Mountain Bikers are particularly well catered for with nearby Llanwrtyd Wells being something of a centre for the sport with several trails commencing in the town. These include the Mynydd Trawsnant Trail, the Irfon Forest Trail and the Esgair Dafydd Trail,. Click here for more information on Mountain Bike Trails near Llyn Brianne.
Lying mostly in ruins, there is a variety of remains in the area. The Abbey Church monument is in the care of Cadw. Next to the remains of the church is the graveyard, which is still active to this day, with many people choosing to be buried there. It is traditionally the burial place of the Welsh language poet, Dafydd ap Gwilym, and a memorial to him is to be found on the site, under a Yew tree. The yew tree is quite famous, although it was quite damaged in storms, when it was hit by lightning. No less than eleven Princes of the House of Dynefwr of the Welsh Royal house of Deheubarth were also buried here during the 12th and 13th Centuries. There is a stone marker in the Chapter House of the Cadw monument (a replica for the original which is housed in a small museum) commemorating these Princes. The only substantive structure remaining is the entrance archway, the Great West Door to the Abbey Church, though low walls marking the extent of the church and six subsidiary chapels remain. A modern roof (visible in the picture) protects an area of mediaeval tiling, where one can still make out some of the designs. Inside the small on site museum, some of these tiles have been preserved and put on display. Probably the most well known of these is the ‘Man with the Mirror’, depicting a mediaeval gentleman admiring himself in a mirror. The remains of Strata Florida Abbey, in South Wales, are most interesting in many points of view, more especially as the relics of a stately seminary for learning, founded as early as the year A.D. 1164 The community of the Abbey were Cistercian monks, who soon attained great celebrity, and acquired extensive possessions. A large library was founded by them, which included the national records from the earliest periods, the works of the bards and the genealogies of the Princes and great families in Wales. The monks also compiled a valuable history of the Principality, down to the death of Llewellyn the Great. When Edward I invaded Wales, he burned the Abbey, but it was rebuilt A.D. 1294.
New Quay is a picturesque seaside town on the Cardigan Bay coast of West Wales. Its golden sandy beaches and sheltered harbour make New Quay a delight to visit at any time of year. New Quay was once a flourishing shipbuilding centre and fishing port. The miles of secluded coves around New Quay provided ideal hiding places in the less salubrious but probably more profitable trade of smuggling spirits and tobacco. Today the small local fishing and pleasure craft still come and go in the sheltered bay. New Quay’s beaches extend in a golden arc around the bay and are ideal for relaxing and strolling by the sea. Enjoy a walk along the front to the end of the Quay and watch the boats sail by. Or sit in one of the cafes overlooking the harbour and see the dolphins.
All photos © Crown copyright (2008) Visit Wales