Aberaeron’s most striking feature is its architecture. One house in every four is listed either as being of special architectural or historical interest. The graciously designed town just invites you to walk around it and feast your eyes on the subtle differences between this house and the next, that street and the other….. A thriving port in the days of commercial sailing, sailing still plays a major part in the life of the town, its stonewalled harbour sheltering yachts from near and far for much of the year.As well as being a most popular centre for yachting Aberaeron is a popular port from which to set forth to marvel at the wildlife of Ceredigion’s Maritime Heritage Coast – the first offshore conservation area of its kind in the United Kingdom. Aberaeron is a popular shopping centre for its surrounding hinterland and also offers a selection of crafts and local produce at small shops within the town and at the Clôs Pengarreg Crafts Centre.
Welcome to West Wales where traditional contemporary design meets traditional craftsmanship. The Cardigan area is a hub of creativity, home to a large number of talented artists and craft producers. Enhance your stay with a visit to some of our local galleries and craft shops. There is plenty do for all ages. The area is difficult to match for its range of coastal and inland walks, cycling, fishing, and coastal based activities from lazing on our unspoilt beaches to trying your hand at Sea Kayaking and Coasteering. There is plenty to do and see in the Cardigan area. Many of our visitors just want to chill out and enjoy the breath taking scenery and unique coastline, but don’t miss the opportunity to visit our wide range of attractions. Take a boat trip out to see the dolphins in Cardigan Bay, visit our heritage sites, potter around our galleries and craft shops or try your hand at a wide range of sea and land based activities. Walkers can now enjoy a series of newly developed circular walks in the Cardigan area ranging between four and a half and six and a half miles taking in some beautiful sections of the Teifi Valley and the coast.
The Ceredigion coastline is variable and includes slow eroding rock cliffs, erodable boulder clay cliffs, shingle beaches, sandy beaches, long beaches (Borth) and pocket beaches (Llangrannog). In addition the coast has a number of estuaries including the two larger ones that delineate the Counties boundary; The Teifi and the Dyfi. The shape of the beaches, sand dunes and estuaries are constantly changing due to the action of the waves, tides and currents that move sediment along the coast. Sand and silt that settle in the estuaries can form banks and marshes, whose edges are shaped by meandering river channels. Beaches and sand dunes are important natural coastal defences that absorb the sea’s energy, reducing the need for expensive artificial defences. Sand blown from the beach forms and maintains sand dunes. However, sand or shingle may cause problems when it blows or washes onto promenades, the highway and residential properties.The largely unspoilt nature of the coast, the variety of coastal features and diversity of its geology and habitats makes the Ceredigion coastline a place of significant environmental interest, at a local, national and international level. These same characteristics make the coastline a major tourist attraction of great importance to the local economy. Over 47% of the population of Ceredigion reside on or adjacent to the coast and these settlements have a long and traditional maritime association. The agriculture industry in the coastal strip is important to the region and the fishing industry is of economic and cultural importance to the main ports and harbours.
Cwmtydu is a beautiful, secluded cave-walled beach with an equally impressive access route along tiny lanes with hairpin bends winding down from the hill above.Once very popular with pirates and smugglers, the beach is predominantly shingle with an area of sand exposed at low tides. The public footpath over National Trust land overlooks Cardigan Bay and if you are lucky you may see seals, dolphins and porpoises on your walk to the beach. Cwmystwyth was an industrial village in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains. This is now lovely wild countryside, but in the nineteenth century it was as industrialised as the valleys of South Wales. Copper has been worked here since the Bronze Age and the Romans mined for silver-bearing lead. Later, the Cistercian monks of Strata Florida had mines and a grange farm here. Remains of some of the lead mines are up the road to the east of the village.
Devil’s Bridge is world-renowned for: the three bridges; the great little narrow gauge steam railway that climbs through the verdant Vale of Rheidol from Aberystwyth; and the cascading waterfalls of the river Mynach. Devil’s Bridge’s most famous feature is probably the unique arrangement of its three bridges -which are built one on top of the other. The original bridge was believed to have been built either by the Cistercian monks of Strata Florida abbey or by Knights Templar. The latest bridge was built by the County Council during this century. Hafod Uchtryd,- 12 miles south-east of Aberystwyth, is recognised as one of the finest examples in Europe of a Picturesque landscape. Its most celebrated owner, Thomas Johnes (1748-1816), built a new house in this remote location and laid out its grounds in a manner suited to displaying its natural beauties in sympathy with the ‘Picturesque principles’ fashionable at the time, with circuit walks allowing the visitor to enjoy a succession of views and experiences. Johnes also used the land for farming, forestry, and gardening, in each case trying out new ideas and experimental methods. Hafod became an essential destination for the early tourist in Wales. Today the Hafod estate occupies some 200 hectares of the Ystwyth valley and surrounding hills. Most is owned by the Forestry Commission who, in partnership with the Hafod Trust, is managing a conservation and restoration project with public and private funding.
An RSPB reserve, Ynys Hir is made up of salt marshes, wet grassland and woodland – part of which is said to date back to the 17th century.There are seven hides dotted around the thousand acre sanctuary, offering spectacular vantage points across the estuary. There are also several marked nature trails – the shortest route is 0.5m and the longest three miles.Ynys Hir is probably best known for its Greenland white-fronted geese. Every year, about 150 of them fly in to spend the winter in this part of the world. It’s their only regular wintering site in the whole of Wales and England. Winter is also a good time to see other wildfowl. At this time of the year, the estuary attracts thousands of ducks such as wigeon and teal as well as Canada geese.In the spring and summer, the oakwoods attract two species of woodpecker in addition to the usual woodland species. The RSPB has put up special bird boxes around the reserve which are used every year by more than a hundred pied flycatchers.The Dyfi estuary is also one of the few strongholds for breeding lapwing and redshank in Wales. Feeding cormorants, goldeneyes and red-breasted mergansers can be seen from the Domen Las Hide. Even if you’re not a keen bird-watcher, Ynys Hir is a lovely place to go for a walk – especially in the spring when the woodlands are carpeted with bluebells. Tregaron Bog is one of the few remaining examples of a raised peat bog in Britain. Lying beside the river Teifi just above the small market town of Tregaron on the edge of the Cambrian Mountains, there is now an excellent walk through the heart of the Bog on a timber decked walkway. A raised bog such as Cors Caron was once the site of a shallow lake that became filled with vegetation. Its acidic nature was ideal for the various species of Sphagnum moss which not only increase the acidity of the water, but which are very absorbent and help to hold the water in the bog and prevent excessive evaporation. The acid also prevents decomposition, so layer upon layer of Sphagnum gradually builds up – in this case over some 12,000 years to produce a shallow dome characteristic of the raised bog. The acidic and nutrient deficient conditions are suitable for a unique flora with plants like the Purple Moor Grass dominating the landscape. In places can also be seen the Cotton Grass, the Bog Asphodel and the carnivorous Sundew.Old folklore holds that if cattle ate the Bog Asphodel, their bones would become brittle. This is because the Asphodel grows on land lacking in nutrients such as calcium that are required for strong bones. This is reflected in the plant’s scientific name Narthecium ossifragum. The Sundew gets its nitrogen from insects that it traps on sticky hairs on its highly modified leaves.Growing profusely in many areas of the bog is the lichen Cladonia. Lichens are unique as they are composed of a relationship between an alga embedded within the tissues of a fungus. The Cladonia lichen is closely related to the Reindeer ‘Moss’- an important component of the diet of the reindeer in northern Europe.
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