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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This was mostly easy walking on pasture passing the occasional small farm.
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.
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.
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”)
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.
Just after passing Ffos-las the path veers off up the hill, passing though a wonderful and most unusual tunnel of Hawthorne.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I challenge anyone not to love harbours. I seriously reckon that its a Freudian thing, feeling enclosed and protected by them.
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.