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The Beaches of
Cardigan Bay


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The Beaches of Cardigan Bay from Cardigan to Aberystwyth.

Poppit Sands

Poppit Sands is a very wide sandy beach at the estuary of the River Teifi near Cardigan in Wales. It is close to St Dogmaels and the northern end of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path starts there. The area is a gathering spot for surfers and boogie-boarders.

The beach is sloping so the sea is shallow a long way out. Due to the estuary there are unpredictable currents at the far end of the beach. Mostly bathing is safe within the patrolled area and there are rock pools. An RNLI lifeboat station operates from the beach as well as RNLI lifeguards for beach patrol in the summer months. The lifeboat perform drills about twice a week. There is a large area set aside for dog walkers in the summer months.

 

Mwnt

Mwnt is a National Trust beach. There is a large pay and display car park above the beach and a shop and toilets partway down the path leading to the beach. It gets its name from the prominent steep conical hill, a landmark from much of Cardigan Bay, that rises above the beach.

Mwnt was the site of an unsuccessful invasion by Flemings in 1155, and its defeat was long afterwards celebrated on the first Sunday in January as "Sul Coch y Mwnt". It is said that the bones of the defeated invaders would occasionally be visible under the sand when uncovered by windy conditions in the early 20th century.

The Church of the Holy Cross (Welsh: Eglwys y Grog) is an example of a medieval sailor's chapel of ease. The site is said to have been used since the Age of the Saints, but the present building is probably 14th century.

Aberporth

In the 16th century, Aberporth was a subsidiary landing point for the port of Cardigan. Boats, nets and salt for preserving were brought in from Ireland. It developed rapidly in the late 17th and early 18th centuries as local people began to take part in the maritime trade. It became a very active port with the northernmost of the two beaches extending into the river valley and provided a safe anchorage. Limekilns, coalyards and warehouses were built on its south shore.

Aberporth developed into one of the main centres of the herring fishing industry in Wales. Drifting and netting were both employed and at one time at least 20 full time herring smacks went to sea regularly. The industry persisted until the beginning of the First World War when fish stocks declined. Crab and lobster fishing continues on a small scale to this day.
 

Tresaith

Legend relates that a certain king of Ireland had seven troublesome daughters. Failing to exercise control over the princesses he finally lost his patience and told his servants to put his daughters on an open boat and cast them adrift. The Irish Sea currents took the craft towards the coast of Ceredigion where it beached. The seven princesses landed safely, fell in love with the sons of seven local Welsh families, married and settled down. This is why the settlement is called Tresaith (Welsh 'the Town of Seven').

The village is of recent origin. Until the mid 19th century it consisted of 2 dwellings, a thatched cottage and the Ship Inn. The Parry family who ran the inn were ship owners and their first vessel, the New Hope, was built at on the beach at Tresaith in 1827. Later, several smacks of about 25 tons operated from here, bringing in coal, limestone and culm. In the last few decades of the 19th century the village became popular as a seaside holiday destination and contemporary newspapers referred to it as the Second Brighton.

Penbryn

Penbryn Beach, between Llangrannog and Tresaith is owned by the National Trust and was used for location filming for the James Bond film Die Another Day.

Near the village is the Corbalengi Stone, a monument of the Early Christian period inscribed: "CORBALENGI IACIT ORDOVS". "Ordovs" is generally agreed to be the local tribe the Ordovices but "Corbalengi" is not found elsewhere, and there are many theories as to the significance of the inscription.

Llangrannog

Llangrannog lies in the narrow valley of the little River Hawen, which falls as a waterfall near the middle of the village. The earliest parts of the village (the "church village") lie above the waterfall and are hidden by a twist of the valley so that they cannot be seen from the sea. This protected them from the attention of sea marauders, the Vikings and the Irish. After the mid-eighteenth century the sea became safer and a "beach village" and small seaport developed. By 1825 Llangrannog commercial activity was largely concerned with the sea, including the shipment of coal. A number of ships were built on the sands, the largest being the "Ann Catherine" a brig of 211 tons. The most recent developments, in the 1860's, were the "ribbon village" which connected the beach and church villages and an extension of the beach village onto the southern slopes of the valley.

By the beach there is a shop, two pubs The Ship and the Pentre Arms and two cafes.

Castell Bach

This interesting beach is on the coastal path. There are the remains of an iron age fort on the flat section beyond the beach. There are also some spectacular folds in the mudstone rock here.

It is believed that the 'island' was a part of the iron age fort, but that it has been separated by erosion from the sea since that time.

Seals are often seen in such secluded coves along the Ceredigion coast.

 

The 'Secret' Beach - Traeth Soden

This beach on the Coastal Path can be reached by footpath from Nanternis. It lies at the mouth of the little river Soden. This valley is an important site for the endangered Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly, which thrives on the dog violets that grow on the slopes.

Traeth Soden is said to be a 'Smugglers Beach' where salt - which was heavily taxed, was brought ashore in the eighteenth century.

 

Dolau Beach, New Quay

Just to the south of the pier, Dolau beach lies below the main car park. and close to the southern terraces of Rock Street, Marine Terrace and Lewis Terrace.

Close to the top of the path leading to the beach are New Quay's three fish and chip shops, the Mariner, The Lime Crab and the Captains Rendezvous.

Fish and chips on the pier or on Dolau beach is a local favourite not to be missed by visitors.

New Quay Harbour Beach

Lying between the two piers at New Quay, the Harbour beach is the area's most popular beach in the summer as it within close walking distance of the centre of New Quay where there are many self catering cottages and Guest Houses.

Click on the links at the top of this page for a comprehensive selection of accommodation in New Quay and the local area.

Traethgwyn, New Quay

Traethgwyn extends from Llanina Point to the New Quay lifeboat station and is a wide sandy beach at low tide. Public access is from New Quay by walking along the beach from the lifeboat station, however care must be taken as people can be stranded on the rocks by the incoming tide.

Access is also via the Quay West Caravan Park, or from the footpath beside Llanina Mansion. There is public parking here in the grounds of the ruined mill and pig farm owned by Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water).

 

Cei Bach

Cei Bach (Little Bay) is just to the north of Traethgwyn at New Quay and separated by that beach by the rocky promontory of Llanina point. In the last century, there was a church on the point that was washed away by the sea. Cei Bach was important for ship building in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and there were several lime kilns above the beach. Sadly, because the majority of the cliffs are made up of glacial deposits of boulder clay, there has been considerable erosion and the remains of the lime kilns have now been lost to the sea.

Cei Bach is an entirely pet friendly beach.

Llanrhystud

Llanrhystud is a small seaside village on the A487 , nine miles south of Aberystwyth. It is named after the early Christian Welsh saint Rhystud.

There is a narrow road opposite the filling station that leads through farmland to the car park above the beach. The beach is a narrow shingle bank at high tide, but becomes wide and sandy at low tide.

To the south of the beach are several lime kilns - some of the best examples in the county.

all photos Rod Attrill