The cream of Ceredigion's architecture?

Wales Coast Path: New Quay to Llanon

November 17, 2013 · 15 comments

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  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.

************

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 Beach at New Quay Bay, on the Wales Coast Path in Ceredigion, photographed by Charles Hawes

Pebbly beaches: good to listen to, hard to walk on.

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.

The beach at New Quay Bay, Ceredigion, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

I suspect the hand of man in this arrangement of pebbles.

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.

Near Llanina Point on The Wales Coast path in Ceredigion, photographed by Charles Hawes

The Saxon king, Ina, was supposedly shipwrecked at Llanina Point

When it leaves the road  the path continues on a good grassy track, climbing steadily until there is a view back to New Quay.

View to Llanina Point and New Quay from the Wales Coast Path in Ceredgion, photographed by Charles Hawes

I’ve no idea why they have not sited caravans on Llanina Point.

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.

Footbridge across the Afon Drwyi photographed from The wales Coast path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

Smashing spot.

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.

Gilfach yr Halen Holiday village, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Caravans no doubt produce more income than cows.

I prefer it when the fields are occupied by cows (this was a former diary farm according to Liz Allan).

Cow

Next stop Aberaeron. The town is situated on level land either side of  the river, its harbour jutting into the bay.

View to Aberaeron photographed from the Wales Coast path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

When you look at the map you wouldn’t think that the town sticks out nearly so much 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.

Property on the outskirts of Aberaeron, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Wonderful detailing in the gabled ends.

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.

Sculpure of horse in a garden on the poutskirts of Aberaeron, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

These people have a wry sense of humour. I hope.

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 county Council offices in Aberaeron photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Nothing but the best architecture for Ceredion Council

The path skirts the boat-filled harbour to cross a footbridge at its far end.

Aberaeron Harbour, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

A surpisingly untidy and scrappy flora for such a central location in the town.

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.

Man in boat in Aberaeron Harbour, photographed by Charles Hawes

Buoys: a lot to think about

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.

Caravan park outside Aberaeron, photographed from The wales Coast path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

This is a biggy

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.

Property in Aberarth photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Not all the houses in Aberarth have as carefully planned front gardens as this one

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).

Windswept hedges above Aberarth photographed from The Wales Coast Path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

The Japanese would love this.

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.

View to Llansantffraed (and Aberystwyth) photographed from The Wales Coast Path in Ceredigion by Charles Hawes

One of the best views of the day

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.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Neil November 17, 2013 at 8:01 am

One of the unexpected pleasures of your blog is finding all those places to miss…. Like this one. I note the shift from rant to ironic sarcasm. Actually more entertaining, (although you need to be careful that you don’t start giving ideas to people about where to site further caravan parks).

Also like the concept of diary farms. I’d like to order one that has plenty of adventures, with lashings of obese welsh women, thank you.

As usual entertaining with great photos, and helpful captioning. Cow was espescially helpful. (I sort of recognised it but the name eluded me).

Call me when you’re planning your walks for the snowdonia stretch 🙂

Reply

Charles November 17, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Yes, this is a warts and all blog and IMHO Ceredigion has introduced more than its fair share of warts on The Wales Coast path. Never assume, that’s my motto. There may be people who don’t know what a cow looks like. As it happens I enter the Snowdonia National Park area very soon- just past Machynlleth in fact, but I expect you might want to wait until I’ve passed Aberdovey to pick up again. Spring next year?

Reply

Ian Thorpe November 17, 2013 at 8:06 am

I think the combination of being tired (though you deny it) and missing Anne (which you admit) has produced some of the most entertaining irony of your account so far . Were I not seeing your photographs, I would find it hard to believe the awfulness of the buildings and mobile homes you are seeing.

Reply

Charles November 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Yes I WAS tired (just corrected drafting ambiguity on the point, thanks!). But most of all glad that my humour has hit the right spot. I suspect the people of Llanon won’t be so impressed. They do have an excellent Spar.

Reply

Neil November 17, 2013 at 8:21 am

Ooops. Just realised I should clarify my comment above… Lashings as in delightfully plentiful.

Reply

Charles November 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm

You don’t fool me. I know what you mean by lashings.

Reply

Neil November 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Where, precisely, is this pub?

Reply

Charles November 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Haha. You don’t want to go there!

Reply

Anne Wareham November 17, 2013 at 9:38 am

Still laughing………

Reply

Paul Steer November 17, 2013 at 2:35 pm

The path from Newquay to Aberaeron is interesting, has some lovely layered rocks as you mentioned. Aberaeron itself is a pleasing place, but the caravan parks are not hidden or screened, and who would want to trespass there so what’s with the ‘STRICTLY PRIVATE’ sign ? A very warm Welsh welcome to all.

Reply

Charles November 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Yes, some fantastic geology. I have just had a recommendation for a book on Wales’ geology from a follower on Twitter so will start (a bit late, I know) to introduce more informed comment in future. And Prynhawn da to all my Welsh readers.

Reply

rob grover November 17, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Very entertaining, as usual, but more so. Mind you the flow does seem to be coming from all directions, as I have just read the birdbath saga in the Telegraph; not that I’m a Telegraph reader – it was free in Waitrose, not that I’m usually a Waitrose shopper.
I’m surprised that you failed to recognize the land art ‘pebbles at base of mudbank’. I have recently been to a Land Art exhibition at the National Museum in Cardiff. It is all very confusing; a very straight track beaten down across a meadow by repeated backwards and forwards walking was described as an iconic work. There was a circle of rocks filling the floor of one gallery and a slate sundial on a brick base in another. Yes, very confusing – Art is such a slippery concept.

Reply

Charles November 17, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Hi Rob. Yes, once you get your eye out for me I’m all over the place (or should that be shop?). You are rather tripping over yourself about what supermarkets and papers you don’t frequent. Be my guest and state your preferred food and media supplier so that readers will know exactly how to judge the validity of your comments 😉

Land Art, of course it was. I missed a witty reference to Andy Goldsworthy there. I am as perplexed as you about it all.

Reply

Bryn Pascoe November 7, 2014 at 9:39 am

Great photos of your coastal walk! The bungalow on the cliff outside Aberaeron is my grandfather’s house and unfortunately I’m not sure that the crazy horses eye was painted with any humour at all! The house has since changed colour but is no less magnificent. Every decade or so he losses some of his garden to the footpath from erosion, I can remember the cliff being a fair bit further away!

Reply

Charles November 7, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Hi Bryn. How fantastic for you to have found this post and for you to tell me a bit more about your grandfather’s extraordinary place. Does he ever let the public in? It was nice for me to return to the blog just to be reminded what you were referring to. I hope you drop in again.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)