The remote peaceful atmosphere and dramatic scenery of Ceredigion are one of the best kept secrets of Wales. The hillsides abound with history and culture and a few of the many attractions around the Aberystwyth area and beyond, are mentioned here.
Pontrhydygroes is the gateway to the historic Hafod Estate, the legacy of Thomas Johnes who in the late 18thC transformed a desolate area into a splendid gothic mansion with landscaped grounds. He shaped the already spectacular landscape in the ‘picturesque style’, laid out walks to make it accessible, constructed bridges, gardens, cottages and a model farm. The Hafod Estate is managed jointly by Forest Enterprise and Hafod Trust, it has both a romantic and tragic history and many interesting paths and walkways.
Nearby Devil’s Bridge is internationally famous for its cascading waterfalls of the river Mynach and the Vale of Rheidol narrow gauge steam railway. It has spectacular scenery and is renowned for its 3 bridges. There are four way marked walks with mountain views from the Arch Picnic Site (grid ref SN765756)
Parson’s Bridge at nearby Ysbyty Cynfyn between Devil’s Bridge and Ponterwyd was said to have been built to allow the priest who officiated at the two small churches of Ysbyty Cynfyn and Ystumtuen to travel more quickly between them. On route you can admire the spectacular gorge of the Rheidol. You also pass an ancient stone circle and old lead mining village of Ystumten, before descending to the George Borrow Hotel in Ponterwyd.
ADAS Pwllpeiran – Pwllpeiran today is the Welsh Research Centre of ADAS, a leading Consultancy to Land Based Industries, and has a long and distinguished history of involvement in change and development in the Welsh Uplands. The acclaimed Pwllpeiran Trail (7km) starting from the famous Hafod Arch is well worth walking. It provides information on agriculture, forestry, wildlife and history along its route.
Plas Llidiardau Gardens, Llanilar is a 7 acre garden of a Victorian house on an old landscaped site, imaginatively redeveloped and planted since 1985, with double herbaceous borders, rare shrubs and trees, formal pond, mature wooded areas, stream, wildlife pond and old walled garden now housing organic raised bed vegetable garden and small nursery specializing in hardy plants, especially geraniums. Open by appointment.
Enjoy the History and Nature walks in the scenic area of Ystrad Meurig.
The nearby Maenarthur Trail is one of a series of trails in Pumlumon – Five Peaks, the highest mountain in Mid-Wales. The trail follows the Miner’s Bridge over the Ystwyth gorge up through woodland for wonderful views of the valley.
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Strata Florida Abbey, a ruined Welsh Cistercian abbey first founded in its present picturesque location in 1164 and burial place of Dafydd ap Gwilym, the greatest poet in Mediaeval Wales. Throughout it’s lifetime the Abbey provided a key role in Welsh political and cultural history. The site exhibition and museum are open May-October
Llywernog Silver Lead Mine, an award winning mining heritage trail with colourful exhibitions and the best collection of silver lead mining curiosities in Wales both educational and fun. Discover the 19th C silver lead mine in the heart of the beautiful Cambrian Mountains with an underground tour, working water wheels, machinery and tramways and a panning shed for you to work the mine material for minerals.
Nant yr Arian is home to some of the most spectacular mountain biking in the UK and offers three challenging trails Dafydd Davies, Forest Sports Advisor for the Forestry Commission said “We have taken a lot of care to properly construct these trails and have developed routes that are fun, safe and of very high quality. They definitely reinforce the message that Wales really is a world class destination for biking”. Nant yr Arian also caters for horse riding, where you saddle up at the Rheidol Riding Centre and explore hours of scenic views and spectacular wildlife. The area is renowned for Red Kites and these birds can often be seen soaring above. The centre provides information and activities relating to the preservation of the Red Kite and other birds and wildlife.
Rheidol Riding Centre, Capel Bangor is a BHS Approved Centre offering accompanied rides out in the beautiful scenic Rheidol Valley. Caters for all standards from novice to experienced. Open daily, all year round.
Rheidol Hydro-Electric Power Station – experience wildlife and natural history living in harmony with modern technology in the Rheidol Valley. There are free guided tours of the power station and fish farm.
The Magic of Life Butterfly House in Cwm Rheidol offers the opportunity to observe free-flying tropical butterflies in a luxuriant tropical setting of exotic and unusual plants from the world’s warmer regions.
Nanteos, Rhydyfelin has a Georgian landscaped park with mid 18th century features, ha-ha, woodland walks and early 19th century trees. There is also later ornamental planting, a walled garden, a neo-classical stable block and Italianate Renaissance 19th century lodge. Open as hotel or by prior appointment.
Llanerchaeron – is a rare survivor of a classic Welsh gentry estate of the late 18thC. The house was designed and built by John Nash in 1795 and is now owned by the National Trust. Today it is a working organic farm which has two walled gardens cultivating home grown produce. Open from late March to early November.
Fantasy Farm Park, Llanrhystud is packed with plenty of things to do and see and promises a great day out for the whole family. There is a shop and café area with special attractions throughout the year.
Aberystwyth arguably the cultural capital of Wales, is the largest town on the west Wales coast and one of the principality’s favourite traditional seaside resorts. Visitor attractions in Aberystwyth are many and varied; the Cliff Railway built in 1896, is the longest one of its kind in Britain and the only one in Wales, Aberystwyth Castle was built in 1277 as part of the massive building programme of castles by Edward 1. Aberystwyth Arts Centre is one of the main venues in Wales for the performing and visual arts, the quality and scope of the centre’s programme is very impressive and attracts many top name performers. The centre also features a nationally acclaimed gallery area, ceramics collection, craft shop, café and bookshop. The Ceredigion Museum has a fine collection of folk material housed in the Coliseum, a beautiful Edwardian theatre built in 1905. The National Library of Wales dominates the hillside overlooking the coastline and town of Aberystwyth. A £5m multi-million pound project to improve facilities for visitors was assured in 2001. The ‘Visitor Experience’ is the result of a major reassessment by the Library of its role and the means by which its serves its users. A new entrance, with a ramp for disabled people, leads visitors to an area which will familiarize them with the Library’s facilities. This area also has a shop and restaurant with views over Cardigan Bay.
Aberaeron is a very attractive and popular little town – a unique example of Regency town planning in Wales, with charming Georgian houses, squares and terraces, and a once busy stone walled harbour. Many of the town’s buildings are designated as being of special or architectural interest. Several places of interest in Aberaeron merit a visit; Aberaeron Sea Aquarium, Clos Pengarreg Craft Centre and the Hive on the Quay to name but a few.
Tregaron – this small and very Welsh market town is the most easterly town in Ceredigion. To the visitor it offers not only a fascinating history, but is also a pony trekking centre and the gateway to a stunningly beautiful landscape and several major attractions: the National Nature Reserve of Cors Caron, the Teifi Pools together with the vast upland wilderness that stretches 20 miles east to Abergwesyn, which is often described as the great Welsh desert. In the middle of Tregaron you will find the Rhiannon Welsh Gold Centre. This specialist craft centre has an international reputation for its unusual range of Welsh and Celtic gifts as well as renowned Rhiannon silver and gold jewellery, made on the premises.
These are just a few examples of what the area offers in close proximity – we are centrally located for the many varied attractions on offer throughout Wales.