Date walked: 11th October 2013
Distance walked: 11.4 miles
Cumulative total of miles walked along The Wales Coast Path: 452
OS map required: Explorer 198: Cardigan and New Quay
This part of The Wales Coast Path comes within the Ceredigion Council’s area. Their Coastal Access Officers can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com 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 was in two minds about whether to return home with Anne after our short break at Penbryn. I still felt tired – mostly from indifferent nights sleep for the last two nights rather than the effort of the two previous days’ walks. But it is quite a journey from home now to pick up this walk and I had no pressing need to return home, so I decided to continue. After we had packed up at the cottage Anne dropped me back at New Quay. I had a real pang as she drove out of the car park – at least it wasn’t raining.
The tide was in so I was walking on the high-tide line of the pebbly beach of New Quay Bay for half a mile or so. The beach is backed by a thick muddy bank that had been sculpted by the elements.
It finishes at Llanina Point (unless the tide is out and you can carry on walking on the beach for another 3/4 mile. ) and heads inland through a wood and follows a minor road briefly.
When it leaves the road the path continues on a good grassy track, climbing steadily until there is a view back to New Quay.
Shortly after this high point there is a steep descent to a footbridge crossing the Afon Drwyi. The stream has cut deeply through the exposed layered rock to create a series of little waterfalls. It’s very unusual and very pretty.
Half a mile further on it is Caravan World again, some of the brutally plain buildings of the Gilfach Holiday Village being sited on the cliff tops and the rest strung above the valley.
I prefer it when the fields are occupied by cows (this was a former diary farm according to Liz Allan).
Next stop Aberaeron. The town is situated on level land either side of the river, its harbour jutting into the bay.
It’s an attractivetown, both from a distance and, unlike New Quay, close to. As I walked past the outskirts an extraordinary property caught my eye.
The three-winged bungalow has been extended by faux-gothic battlements and an ochre wall complete with a stained glass windowed “ruin” bang next to a modern hexagonal summer-house. The swimming pool is adorned with Italiante motifs. In the garden stands a black horse with a green tail and a mad eye. I think it might be fibreglass. Possibly concrete.
It ought to be in the National Gardens Scheme.
You might think me very odd but I preferred this place, though, to the municipal building that you pass next before reaching the pretty harbour.
The path skirts the boat-filled harbour to cross a footbridge at its far end.
In the above pic there’s a glimpse of Belle Vue Terrace which is the ONLY place in Wales to feature in”Historic Streets and Squares” by Melanie Backe-Hansen.
I was ready for lunch. Every other shop on the main street appeared to be a cafe or a restaurant. I settled on a hot take-away pasty. At the bakery counter a bearded young man was struggling with asking about the price of a roast chicken in Welsh. He gave up and asked (in English) “Do you speak Welsh?”. “No” came the rather curt answer.
I enjoyed my Cornish pasty (don’t ask me why there was not a Welsh one) from a seat opposite the harbour, intrigued by a chap in a boat who seemed very interested in the buoys. On the harbourside the boys were circulating in groups and eating ice-cream.
After Aberaeron there is a shortage of accomoodation for a while. I did a bit of Googling on my phone and came up with a Bed and Breakfast at Llanon that doubled up improbably as an Aromatherapy and Refelxology Centre and a place in Llansntffraed, a couple of miles further on. The latter was my first choice but I got no reply and Llanon had a room, so that settled it.
No resort in Wales would appear to be complete without a caravan site and Aberaeron had one in spades. After the town the next mile and a half to Aberarth was exceptionally flat. The busy A 487 running parallel to the coast here for several miles, provides a background rumble to accompany the seaside sounds.
Aberarth feels like one of those “why is it here” places; it was a little port once. Someone had very kindly left out a basket of apples with a “Help Yourself” sign. I helped myself to three (they proved to be excellent).
The little river Arth crossed, the next mile and half was a fairly easy climb along a fairly windswept path, the sea-side views mostly hidden by hedges until the next caravan site appeared on the horizon at Llansantffraed.
The path drops down to another coastal plain and then sends you inland at a small stream to join the A487 at Llanon. Quite why there is no crossing of this inconsequential water is a mystery but I suspect the hotel on the other side did not fancy the hoi polloi traipsing through its grounds.
It was a bit of a shock to find myself walking alongside this busy road with lorries thundering by. I found the sign to the The Barn House Bed and Breakfast, which, thankfully, was far enough away from the road as to render it a quietish spot.
My room was tiny and not en-suite and I failed the inititaive test of getting the TV to work. The shower would not get to hot no matter what I did, which was a disapointment.
The village was not inspiring. Of my two options for a meal and a drink, I didn’t like the look of either pub and walked past both before favouring The White Swan by the toilets. The bar was small and noisy, the juke box – (“I DON’T CARE, I LOVE IT”) – and telly (football) competing unfavourably with the clientele (a gathering of the Obese Woman of Wales of The Year candidates). It had no real ale. I ordered a Guinness.
I spied a snug and opted for its solitary confinent to enjoy my scampi and chips. The sauce basket had lots of sachets of tartre sauce, most of them a year out of date. I kicked myself that I was going to miss their County and Western night on October 26th. I bet it was a blast.