Fireplace with bread oven at Ffos-Las, Ceredigion, photographed by Charles Hawes

Wales Coast Path: Llanon to Aberystwyth

November 24, 2013 · 15 comments

Date walked: 12th October 2013

Distance walked: about 12 miles

Cumulative total of miles walked along The Wales Coast Path:466

OS map required: Explorer 198: Cardigan and New Quay for a couple of miles, then 213: Aberystwyth and Cwm Rheidol. 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.

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I had stayed last night at The Barn House in Llanon.  Breakfast was a solitary affair and, as my Mum would say, dead average.

I was packed and back on the road at about 9.30, heading down to coast on a lane that led to the little church at Llansanffraed. After the church there were several quite unusual stone built kissing gates that were charming but not designed to accommodate Man with Back Pack.

Unusual stone kissing gate near Llansantffraed taken on The Wales Coast Path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

Not a complaint: I don’t expect them to re-build it for back-packers benefit.

Then just before rejoining the coast there are a series of five (I think) limekilns – I had never seen them in such a group before.

Craiglas limekilns, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Not a very good pic as I didn’t have much room to play with.

Ahead the first caravan park of the day and after less than half a mile of walking  by the beach one has to has to return inland to the A487 at Llanrhystud (where, just across the road from the path there is a Texaco garage and adjacent Cost Cutter shop and cafe) only to be immediately directed back down a lane through Pencarreg caravan park on the other side of a  small river known as Wyre Fach.

view to the caravan parks at the mouth of the Wyre, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Oh joy, more caravans.

The lie of the land and the density of the caravans meant that I could not see if there was a crossing of the river at the coast but even if there was one I suspect the park owners would not have wanted walkers traipsing through their sites.

Caravan garden in the Pencarreg caravan site, Ceredigion, photographed by Charles Hawes

This garden has everything – including a Meerkat being tortured

A short way after the caravans the path climbs again to provide the  more familiar cliff top walking and pleasing views. Ahead, I could just make out Aberystwyth.

View to Aberystwyth from near Llanrhystud, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

You might need your glasses to make out Aberystwyth

This was mostly easy walking on pasture passing the occasional small farm.

Mynachdy'r Graig farm photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I beileve this place is called Mynachdy’r Graig

I began to notice that most of the fields were dotted with field mushrooms and wondered if the local inhabitants made use of their tasty crop. Below me at one point was a clear Fairy Ring of the fungi.

Fungi Fairy Ring photographed from The Wales Coast Path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

Well, maybe it was a Fairy semi-circle

The farm called Ffos – las was in ruins and officially the path skirts the property but I find it almost impossible to pass ruined places without wanted to have a poke around. Inside was an intact bread oven to the side of the main fire.

Ffos-las on The Wales Coast Path in Ceredigion photographed by Charles Hawes

Please excuse my trespass, I couldn’t help myself.

Someone had clearly made a start at some point of  doing something to the place but it seemed to me that work had been stopped and its condition was deteriorating once more.  A static caravan was tucked discreetly on the seaward side of the outbuildings so maybe it will yet become a home once more to someone wanting an isolated existence and mushrooms for breakfast. (I recognized it later as the caravan that the detective was living in in the TV series “Hinterland”)

Ffos-las on The Wales Coast Path in Ceredigion photographed by Charles Hawes

Lovely spot!

Nearly all the coast is subject to erosion and the occasional landslip and I was reminded of this as I passed a gaping hole at the bottom of a cliff top fence.

Collapsed cliff edge near the Wales Coast Path in Ceredigion, photographed by Charles Hawes

Don’t worry, there was another protective fence around this but this made for a more dramatic picture.

Just after passing Ffos-las the path veers off up the hill, passing though a wonderful and most unusual tunnel of Hawthorne.

Hawthorne tunnel near Ffos-las, on the Wales Coast Path, photographed by Charles Hawes

I’m sure that there must have been a lot more such hedges, so why was this one left?

This deviation was probably necessitated by the need to skirt around another caravan park at Morfa Bychan. The path actually joins the road down to the park and then leaves it to pass above the site and climbs once more.

Caravan park at Morfa Bychan, photographed from the Wales Coast path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

How many caravan parks is that so far on Ceredigions Coast?

It was around this time that I began to think what my plans were for the day. It would be easy to find a Bed and Breakfast in Aberystwyth but it looked from my weather Apps on my phone  (Weather Pro and Met Office) that rain was on its way.  I looked up train times on thetrainline App and could see that I could comfortably make a train that would get me back to Chepstow at around 8pm (at a very expensive £67) .  I’d walked for 4 days and was a bit weary so it was an easy decision to make for home. I rang Anne who sounded pleased, so that sealed it.

It was a steady climb from Morfa to around 400 feet.  Liz Allan describes these last two miles to Aberystwyth as offering some of the best views of the whole of Ceredigion and as I reached the brow of the hill I could see why.

Wales Coast Path approaching Aberystwyth from the south, photographed by Charles Hawes

 The path is on the ridge of hills and on a clearer day there would have been a good view to Cader Idris and the edges of Snowdonia.  As it was I still had a great view down to Aberystwyth when I reached the brow.

View onto Tanybwlch beach and Aberystwyth, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

What, no caravans!

It’s a steep clamber down to Tanybwlch beach, which Allan describes as the best shingle beach in Ceredigion and is apparently designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on account of its distinctive plant communities.

Tanybwlch beach,Aberystwyth, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I can’t say as I noticed the plants – maybe they are little ones

Suddenly I was sharing the path with people out for a stroll and walking the dog. I headed for the bit of beach nearest the harbour to find some more pebbles for our bird bath (Anne had said that we had not collected enough from Penbryn), thus doubling my packs weight. Just on the other side of the beach near the harbour the houses have enviable sea views. I was stuck by this garden’s formality and wondered if Noel Kingsbury had planted the section in front of their steps as a clever counterpoint.

House and garden on the outskirts of Aberystwyth, photographed by Charles Hawes

Now is this clumpy planting or intermingling?

I challenge anyone not to love harbours. I seriously reckon that its a Freudian thing, feeling enclosed and protected by them.

Harbour wall at Aberystwyth, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 

I had arrived in plenty of time to find the station and buy my ticket from the automated machine. I did’t fancy the Weatherspoons on the station platform so wandered into town for my coffee and cake. There was nothing special about the cafe or the cake but it was still very nice to sit on the pavement, watching the world go by and to think that I would be home that night.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Neil November 24, 2013 at 8:17 am

With only two spawn of the devil caravan parks, some lovely views, and a beautiful hawthorn hedge tunnel, this looks a decent days walking. Pity about the views… Yonder lies splendour.

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Charles November 24, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Yes, I was quite laid back about the caravan parks, I thought. I’ll bring you views of Snowdonia ASAP but I just have to negotiate the Dyfi and pop into Machynlleth first. Which will take me a few days.

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Anne Wareham November 24, 2013 at 9:58 am

Loved it. But no sheep? No cow? ONLY caravans?

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Charles November 24, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Sorry about the lack of sheep. There were sheep, of course. And we still like sheep.

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Anne Wareham November 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm

*reassured* Xx

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Maggie November 24, 2013 at 11:23 am

This one had be chuckling all the way. Loved it too Anne, as I have all the others so far.
Can we not get you to organise a minibus and take a few of us unadventurous lot for rambles?
Or would that ruin your solitary desires.

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Charles November 24, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Glad to make you chuckle! Am not up up for minibus trips for the unadventurous. But you could always join me for the next wimpy bit of coast. Or maybe you could be the minibus driver? xx

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Anne Wareham November 24, 2013 at 5:51 pm

No, Maggie – I get to stop at home in (relative) peace and quiet. Bliss….

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rob grover November 24, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Don’t you ever have days when it’s too wet and windy to get your camera out?
Some great views and observations ( not complaints), and the strangled meerkat with it’s left paw on a welcome sign is pure, creepy photographic gold

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Charles November 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Funny you should say that Rob. Next week’s post is from the heart of Snowdonia and it rained all day. I gave up trying to keep the camera dry in the end. I don’t think I saw the poor Meerkat until I was looking at the pics when I got home. But yes, that particular collection of garden ornaments is priceless!

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Neil November 24, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Actually, you’re right Rob. The garden ornament collection… not that there’s many in that collection that figure in any garden I’ve seen…. does pay closer inspection. I particularly like the half-a-duck mad max solar powered motorbike rider ( at least, I think that’s what it is ), …. And, um, what is that gnome doing?

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Charles November 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm

You haven’t got time to worry about gnomes……get back to your painting!

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Martin November 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Lovely post, such beautiful countryside, I haven’t visited Wales in well over a decade, I really have to do something about this!

Cheers

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Charles November 25, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Thanks Martin. Yes you really should come over. It’s fab all over. Post from the heart of Snowdonia next week.

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julia November 28, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Funny. Keep it up.

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Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)