Beautiful West Wales & the Cardigan Coast
The market town of Lampeter, known in Welsh as Llanbedr Pont Steffan (St Peter’s by Stephen’s Bridge) is the third largest town in Ceredigion and lies on the confluence of the Creuddyn and Dulas rivers with the beautiful River Teifi. It was an important centre on the Welsh Drover’s Road used to take cattle, sheep and geese on foot to the markets in England, which gave rise to a number of inns along the way. Lampeter University campus, now a part of Trinity St David’s, is the third oldest in Britain after Oxford and Cambridge and in the 1850s became the home of Welsh Rugby after it was brought from Cambridge by Rowland Williams. Crafts and services including tanners, blacksmiths, carpenters, saddlers and bootmakers developed to serve the needs of the local rural area. There were several woollen mills, one of which produced the double-woven tapestry cloth destined to become famous in the Welsh Wool Blanket industry and about four miles away is Jane Beck’s Emporium of Welsh Blankets. Quilting is another craft that has a deep-rooted tradition in the area and housed in the Town Hall is the renowned Welsh Quilt Centre with exhibitions of traditional and contemporary textile art. Right next door is Calico Kate, a renowned destination fabric and craft shop where you can spend hours browsing on three floors. Lampeter is also the centre of a network of country walks along footpaths, bridleways or quiet roads leading to lakes, river banks, abandoned hill forts, ancient woodland and standing stones.
Aberaeron is just 15 miles from Lampeter and is a picturesque little Harbour Town with Regency style terraces of pretty painted cottages. Recently voted the "Best Place in Wales" it was carefully designed and planned in the early 1800s and still retains its character.
New Quay is a popular seaside holiday destination well known for dolphin spotting boat trips, as well as its Blue Flag and Seaside Award winning beaches and watersports. There is a heritage centre and marine wildlife centre, as well as shops and restaurants. Nearby New Quay Honey Farm is the largest bee farm in Wales with a live bee exhibition and shop for honey, mead and bees wax.
Bwlch Nant Yr Arian Visitor Centre is a free attraction in the stunning Cambrian Mountains 9 miles east of Aberystwyth run jointly by National Resources Wales and the RSPB. There are many activities available but the highlight is the daily spectacle of the feeding of 150 or more Red Kites. The Red Kite is Wales’ National Bird of Prey and the ones at the centre come to feed from a radius of around 10 miles and can be seen gathering in the skies above well before feeding time. The YouTube video below was taken on our visit.
Devils' Bridge Falls is in the stunning Rheidol Gorge 12 miles from Aberystwyth and you can take the Nature Trail to view the Falls and the amazing Three Bridges. They were built on top of each other to adapt from pedestrians to horse-drawn vehicles and early cars and then to heavier modern traffic. You can take the car or step back in time with a trip through spectacular scenery on the Vale of Rheidol Steam Railway from Aberystwyth. For an even better look at the area you can combine the train journey with a luxury 4x4 tour of beauty spots in a Land Rover Discovery with Cambrian Safaris. They offer a variety of customised tours of the beautiful Cambrian Mountains on and off-road.