Cors Fochno- Dyfi nature Reserve, photographed from The wales Coast path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

Wales Coast Path: Aberystwyth to Eglwys Fach

December 22, 2013 · 17 comments

Date walked: 25th November 2013

Distance walked: about 12 miles

Cumulative total of miles walked along The Wales Coast Path: 478

OS map required: 213: Aberystwyth and Cwm Rheidol to Borth, then OL23 – Cadair Idris and Lyn Tegid.  I get all my maps from Dash4it. They are well discounted, and delivery is free and fast.

This part of The Wales Coast Path comes within the Ceredigion Council’s area. Their Coastal Access Officers can be emailed at  countryside@ceredigion.gov.uk

I had with me a copy of Liz Allan’s little booklet on the Ceredigion Coast Path (published 2009). This has some interesting  background but no specific information about facilities. Also Mike Salter kindly sent me his booklet “The Ceredigion Coast Path” last updated in  2012 and obtainable directly from him at mike@castlesalter.co.uk  priced £4.75 inclusive of posting . Illustrated with black and white photos, this publication is also brief and lacks detailed information about facilities but also has (sometimes different!) background and historical information than Liz Allan’s booklet even though it is not as well presented. They cover the path as far as Borth.

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After last month’s walk I had decided to suspend my walking the coast path until spring next year. I hadn’t taken into account that this has become almost something of a compulsive activity; this was my first opportunity to get a few more days in. This time I had found an excellent base in Eglwys Fach just off path.  We (Anne came too) hired London House which is situated on the busy main road. The village  has no shop – although it has a church and it does have an excellent bus service in the X 27 that runs quite frequently (Monday to Saturday) between Aberystwyth and Machynlleth. So on a bright Monday morning I caught the 9.49 bus to join the commuters to Aberystwyth.

Sit back and take it easy- this is a long one!

By 10.30am I was walking past the station to return to the harbour and looking back towards last months walk.

View to Pendinas across the harbour at Aberystwyth photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The hill is called Pendinas

You can’t see much of the ruined castle from the path but the war memorial by the promenade looked splendid against the blue sky.

 

Aberystwyth war Memorial phootgraphed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The memorial was designed by Italian Mario Rutelli, and built in the 1920’s

There were some very fine buildings belonging to the University on the seafront that rather shamed the comparatively shabby pier.

View to the Funicular railway in Aberystwyth from the promenade, photographed by Charles hawes

A lovely morning to be by the sea

Round the corner from these, the recent storms had spread a good dollop of the gritty beach onto the pavement; council workers were out with their brooms.

Bench on the sea-front in Aberystwyth, half buried by sand after a recent storm, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

A wreath attached to the railings must, I thought, have been placed in memory of those lost at sea.

Wreath of poppies on railing of Aberystwyth sea-front photographed by Carles Hawes

I really should have paused to read the card!

It seemed for some like a morning for contemplation.

Woman on the promenade at Aberystwyth, photographed by Charles Hawes

This woman’s hair looked lovely in the warm morning light

I was contemplating whether my recently starting a low dose of a beta blocker prescribed to counteract SVT  (see my blog post of  December 8th ) was going to inhibit my ability to get up the steep bits. I’m pleased to report that climbing up the zig zag path of Constitution Hill by the funicular railway didn’t present any difficulties. So far so good.

View over Alexandra Hall and Aberystwyth Harbor from the Funicular railway photographed by Charles Hawes

Alexandra Hall (of residence) looked Very Shabby close to.

I was soon at the top of the cliff  (where there is a Camera Obscura said to be the largest in the world) and looking forward to my first caravan site of the day. The sea was as calm as I have seen it in my entire walk.

Finger post for the Ceredigion Coast Path on Constitution Hall, Aberystwyth, photographed by Charles Hawes

Beautiful day and view – with just a hint of caravan

I didn’t have long to wait. Nestling below me in Clarch Bay was the Mother of all caravan parks its regimented green boxes laid out as if to be about to mount a campaign on the surrounding hillside.

Aber_to_Eglwys-17

As I marched past the caravan clubhouse my phone rang. The very annoying people from Santander were ringing me to try and justify their ludicrous policy of  insisting of sending me a text before they will allow me to pay someone new when I had already told them that I don’t get a mobile signal at home. My bad for having the phone on.  A mile of the most beautiful cliff top paths flanked by rusty coloured bracken soon erased my irritation.

View to Aberdovey from The wales Coast path near Borth, photographed by Charles hawes

That’s Aberdovey in the distance.

Opposite a somewhat severe property called Wallog, where several pea hens wandered around, a ridge of shingle, known as Sarn Gynfelyn was making its presence known even at the high tide by the breaking of waves as they approached the shore.

Sarn Gynfelyn photographed from The wales Coast path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

An amazing sight on a sea as calm as this!

In her guide, Liz Allen says that this 20 metre wide  morainic feature dating  from the ice-age extends around 7 miles to sea.  I kept looking back to it as I continued towards Borth.

Sarn Gynfelyn photographed from The wales Coast path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

Here’s another view.

In the end all I could make out was a dark shadow on the sea’s surface which reached the horizon.

Sarn Gynfelyn photographed from The wales Coast path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

And another, I found this as interesting as Ramsey Sound!

A few more quite steep climbs and drops on this most excellent grassy path gave me my first view of  the mouth of the Dyfi and its dune covered surroundings.

View to Aberdovey and the estuary photographed from The Wales Coast path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

Even the clouds were perefect on this most lovely of days.

View to Aberdovey and the estuary photographed from The Wales Coast path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

OK it’s a bit indulgent to use another very similar pic but it was such a great view

There were sheep in the fields, of course.

Shhep by the wales Coast path in Ceredigion, photographed by Charles Hawes

“Hello! Say hi to Anne for me”

And there were more caravans, as numerous as the sheep.

Caravan park near Upper Borth in Ceredigion photographed from the Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

You know the OS maps totally mislead about caravan parks. All they show is a blue symbol and often don’t show their extent

Any attempt at containing them within a boundary appeared to have been abandoned. In fact they had become the boundaries of the fields…..

Caravan park near Upper Borth in Ceredigion photographed from the Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

“shaking head”

….merging seamlessly into the settlement of Upper Borth.

Caravan park near Upper Borth in Ceredigion photographed from the Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

“poking sticks in my eyes”

As I strolled down the bungalow lined street to Borth a rather battered green Golf drew up beside me and  an elderly gentleman started talking  to me through the open window. He told me that he was brought up in Borth and had walked all of the coast around here and most of Pembrokeshire. He followed this up by complaining about what they had done to the beach. I cast my critical eye over the beach but could not find the fault (though that looks suspiciously like a sewage outlet.)

Borth Beach in Ceredigion, photographed from The wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

It’s probably just an innocuous drain of some sort

“Those boulders”, he exclaimed “totally out of keeping”. I suppose I could  see his point, though the pipe itself would have been my objection and I confided in him my dislike of the caravans. “There were no caravans in my day”, he said. Which raised the question for me. When do we consider “my day” starts and finishes?

Borth struck me as a very strange place. A sort of synthesis of a Wild West shanty town with somewhere where Dr Who ought to have landed (and given his propensity to turn up in Wales, may well have done already). I don’t think  that I can do better but to offer a short photographic essay by way of explanation.

Borth, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 

Borth, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 

Borth, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 

Borth, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 

Borth, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 

Borth, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 

Borth, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 

Borth, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 

Borth, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 

Borth, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 Towards the end of this long and fascinating street, a sign post sent me away from the beach due east. It was an odd but rather exciting experience knowing that  for the next three days I would be walking not by the coast  but alongside the Dovey estuary.

Borth, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The path crosses the railway line that connects Borth to Aberystwyth and Machynlleth.

Crossing the Riailway Line at Borth, photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

See the little Wales Coast Path badge on the post? I’ve got quite fond of these.

In the next field a little group of donkeys were munching on a bale of straw, prompting me to take and tweet a picture to our friend Sarah (@nicelittleplace) who has two donks.

Donkies in field at Borth, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Donkies (Donks) Donkeys

As I plodded across this very flat and slightly soft ground a couple of low flying military planes headed up the valley.

Low flying military plane in the Dyfi Valley, photographed from The wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

They were the relatively slow cargo-type ones, so i had time to take a pic

The path then crosses the obviously canalised River Leri which discharges  into the Dovey.

River Leri, near Borth, photographed from The Wales Coast Path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

In 1824 its route was diverted to provide a harbour for the local shipbuilding industry

It was around 3pm by now and the low sun was beautifully illuminating the bushy seed heads of the reeds growing by the little drainage ditches of this boggy land.

Reeds by drainage ditch in flood plain of River Dovey, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Anyone know their reeds? Do post the name if you do.

These ditches clog up regularly and the banks are cut and the ditches regularly cleared out.

Drainage ditch on the Dyfi national Nature Reserve, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

 The path runs past a very scrubby wood.

Alder wood on the Dovey Flood plain, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

The sun is getting very low now, lighting up the trees from the side.

The moisture-loving alders are the dominant species, their tall slim trunks  were still carrying a few leaves.

Alder wood on the Dovey flood plain, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

I know these canopy shots are easy but they do look good against the blue sky

After leaving the wood , a raised walkway led to a little fenced off area and notice, compelling me to investigate. I’m glad I did. It led to a wide oblong shaped pool surrounded by reeds and grasses. This low warm light shining on the straw coloured stems was making the most perfect picture.

Cors Fochno  or Borth Bog, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

This is the only UNESCO designated biosphere reserve in the whole of Wales.

This is the most dramatic view of the Cors Fochno or Borth Bog.

Pool  at the edge of Cors Fochno (Borth Bog) photographed from the wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

It was just stunningly beautiful on this perfect day

The next mile skirts this peat bog….

The edge of Borth Bog (Cors Fochno) photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

Autumn colour at its best

…..the views inland to the fields around looking increasingly pretty in the low sun.

Hills near Tal-Y-Bont, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

The trees, making a tapestry of different shapes and colours, were especially beautiful.

Woodland above Tre'r ddol, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

Trees and sheep! (We, like sheep……)

After 4 miles of crossing the Dovey flood plain the path joins the A 487 briefly at Tre Taliesin and I found an opportunity for my favourite kind of photograph.

Tree by the A487 in Tre Taliesin, photographed from The wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

Straight into the sun.

Tre’r- ddol is just half a mile further along the road, though here the quiet village is bypassed by the busy road. They have an impressive chapel.

Soar Chapel, Tre'r-ddol, Ceredigion, photographed by the wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

Soar Chapel: formerly occupied by part of the Welsh National Folk Museum

Thankfully the path leaves the road just after Tre’r-ddol and climbs up through the mostly birch woods of Pantglas Mawr.

Pantglas Mawr - birch wood near Tre'r-ddol, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

A very young plantation or naturally regenerated?

The path continues to climb, giving me a glimpse of the Dovey estuary and then traverses the hillside below Foel Fawr.

View through the woods to the Dovey estuary photographed from below Foel fach on The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

As it became very gloomy in this last light of the day I needed to take a route back to the A487 at Furnace and Eglwys Fach where a much deserved cup of tea and a piece of Bara brith were promised. If I made  it myself.

All the photographs on this and most of my other posts were taken on a Canon  compact and were processed from Raw files. High resolution files and/or prints of up to A3+ size can be produced on request. Email me for costs at Charles@veddw.co.uk

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruth Livingstone December 22, 2013 at 8:54 am

Wow, staggeringly beautiful photographs and a great blog post. I’m looking forward to Wales 🙂

Reply

Charles December 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Thanks Ruth! Glad to have given you something to look forward to!

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Anne Wareham December 22, 2013 at 10:03 am

You didn’t make the Bara brith yourself….

This post will be a delight to the spell checkers! And tut tut “formally occupied”. Ever thought of writing your posts all in Welsh? Then hardly anyone would know if you spelt it all wrong??

Was a good holiday…..

Xxxxx

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John December 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Nope, cos we would feel obliged to list all the mistakes in English for the benefit of the incapable. But as attention is irresistable drawn to all the wonderful photos, the odd little typo disappears. And the way Charles writes, it almost feels as if we’re there beside him.

The reference to “a few days” gives me hope of another couple of blogs before Charles tucks himself under the duvet till next spring.

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Charles December 22, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Thanks John. I must try harder, though, with my proof reading. Ah yes, I have two more to come already and hopes to keep up the momentum, albeit at this reduced rate.

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John December 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm

By the way, it’s Llyn Tegid (aka Bala Lake) not some person named Lyn!

And don’t rely on a spellchecker. I once sent a couple of hundred pre-printed letters out to teenage school pupils about a foreign holiday cancellation. The letters included the phrase “really hard luck”. And I discovered that *that word* was in the spellchecker!

Those who read your blog because they enjoy what you write and your photos won’t worry about the odd typo; the normal eye reads word patterns, not individual letters.

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Anne Wareham December 22, 2013 at 3:01 pm

My eye is nearly normal.

Charles December 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I made the teas. Insofar as anyone makes tea. Oh gawd… back to the spell checker and context finder…..

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Maggie December 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Really enjoyed this, as all the previous ones. xxx

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Charles December 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Thanks. *blows kisses*

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Martin December 22, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Another fine post, and walking obsessions are a good thing in my book. Looking forward to more in the new year.

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Charles December 22, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Thanks Martin.Obsessions/ compulsions, – its all about feeling that pull to get out there, isn’t it. Although I clealry don’t have quite your appetite for being really out there!. Yep, more in two weeks time. Have a great Christmas. Charles

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Martin December 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

“walking compulsions” I meant but you get my drift I’m sure

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juia December 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Best post yet, Charles – great photos. Caravan parks should be blown up – I can say this as was forced to spend a couple of childhood holidays in them – all ghastly, parents arguing, rain and smelly loos – golf courses too are the blight of the countryside but you don’t have many in Wales??. But you have Borth instead.

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Charles December 22, 2013 at 10:10 pm

This made me smile. I do think that it is far easier to find photographically interesting subjects in the built environment, although I am thinking of doing a book on sheep. Caravan parks are the Work of the Devil, I agree. I was fortunate in that my parents were the first to discover foreign holidays when I was just about old enough to enjoy them, so I escaped this clearly damaging experience. But in fact there are dozens and dozens of golf courses in Wales , although I have only passed a handful that are directly on the coast. We must discuss our campaign.

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rob grover December 24, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Wow: something for everyone there, and an education if you follow some of the links.
I will certainly be giving that amazing war memorial a closer look, and you may regret not doing so.
From a Wikipedia look at Mario Rutelli, the sculptor, one of the figures has what the Welsh historian Gwyn Williams descibed as ” the finest backside in Cardiganshire”. Rutelli also has a famous statue of Queen Victoria in London; I don’t know it, but doubt whether she got the same treatment.
Borth is certainly a strange looking place, although I guess that your photo essay was attracted to it’s weird and idiosyncratic side. I’m afraid I rather missed your captions and commentary in this section, as it is the combination which makes the blog so entertaining. I had to imagine what you might say about the carved man on the bench.
Looking forward to the next one: have an indulgent Christmas

Reply

Charles December 24, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Hi Rob. Yes, I did have a pang of regret that I didn’t take a 10 minute detour to have a closer look at the memorial. I like a good bottom. I did think about captions for the Borth pics but decided that I’d let the pics speak for themselves for once. Happy Christmas to you, too. I will indulge with most things.

Reply

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