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The Cwm Tydu Circular Coastal  Walk

Click here for a  map of the walk

Organised by Ceredigion County Council and led by David Thomas, author of several books on Dylan Thomas and New Quay, the walkers met in the car park of the Crown Inn at Llwyndafydd. This pub, now a renowned local restaurant also, was once the meeting place of the Cilie poets - children and grand children of Jeremiah and Mary Jones.

 The day had not started well with an overcast sky and a persistent drizzle. However, as if on cue, the rain stopped and the sky began to clear. There were only nine of us, including David Thomas and Paul Evans from the County Council (Coastal Footpaths).

River Dewi

The river Dewi

We set off  to Cwmtydu alongside the Afon Dewi - Dylan Thomas'  'Singing Dewi' where the river tumbles over a series of rocky ledges on its way down to the sea at Cwmtydu. The road is narrow  here, overhung with the branches of Sessile Oaks that cling to the side of the valley above the road. On our left beside the river were tall larches, no doubt planted by a former owner of  Pendderw whose private road crosses a bridge and climbs the side of the valley to the unseen house on the edge of the fields high above. 

In these narrow coastal valleys, the sun struggles to penetrate the steep enclosing hillsides and dense forest canopy. As a result there is a profusion of Ferns on both sides of the road, while many branches are thick with Polypodium  and the grey boulders are clothed with mosses. 


We soon came to a road junction at Felin Huw - although there was no visible trace of a mill today.  Here there is a bridge over a deep gorge where the river rushes between . Beneath the bridge we were told sheep were once dipped. The road to the left led up a steep slope to Cilie farm, once the home of the famous 'Cilie Boys'. Although they all held day jobs, they were famous poets of the day, visited by many notables including Lloyd George. 

Limekiln at Cwmtydu

Cwmtydu Lime Kiln

Further on the road becomes less steep and we emerge from under the trees to the flat valley bottom where the Dewi  - now known as the Tydu enters the sea. Here the shingle bank pushed up by the waves forms a lagoon before the river rushes across the pebbles into the sea. At the top of the beach is an old Lime kiln - restored in recent years and shown at the left. Lime Kilns were common in this area with many along the Ceredigion coast - some being seen at Cei Bach just the other side of New Quay. Click here for a page about Lime Kilns in Ceredigion
The path leaves the beach through a 'kissing gate' and then zigzags up the hillside to give an excellent view of the beach below. You can click on the photo to get a bigger version (500x375). As we climbed the path we disturbed a pair of Ravens from the rocks below, and then moments later we saw a Chough with its distinctive red bill and feet. There are only a few dozen pairs of this threatened species on the Ceredigion coast and the path between Cwmtydu and New Quay is one of the best places to see them.

Cwmtydu beach from the coastal path

Cwmtydu Beach

Castell bach from the coastal path

Castell Bach Beach

Far below us a fishing boat out of New Quay was surrounded by Herring gulls looking for a free meal. We watched the boat for a few minutes and then continued along the path for half a mile or so. As we reached the top of the hill we were treated to a stunning view of the Ceredigion coastline extending far to the north. 

Immediately below us was a rocky grass-topped islet cut off from the shore by a sand and shingle beach and quite inaccessible at high tide. On the grassy plateau beyond could be seen the remains of an Iron Age fort 'Castell Bach'

There was some excitement from the group when a big Grey Seal was seen watching us from the water below. He remained in the same place alternately diving and then resurfacing for a look around as we skirted the bay and descended to the  remains of the iron age fort below.

The little River Soden runs from Nanternis into the sea

Spring Squill along the coastal path

Spring Squill Scilla verna

Marsh Orchids

Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza purpurella

Several of us had noted the many flowering species of coastal plants growing in the stunted grass growing at the top of the cliffs. Here we found the Spring Squill, Bird's Foot Trefoil, Thrift, Stonecrop, and many more.

We continued along the coastal path until descending to another little beach. Like Cwmtydu and so many other beaches  in this part of coastal Ceredigion, this beach was formed where a river cut through the hills. The  rocks and pebbles worn away by the river over thousands of years have formed a beach. However, the river only flows gently when there has been no heavy rain so the action of the waves immediately fills in any channel the river might form in the beach every time there is a high tide. As a result, the river's water runs across the beach pebbles into the sea.

Hart's Tongue Fern

Hart's Tongue Fern
Asplenium scolopendrium

Birds Foot Trefoil along the coastal path

Bird's Foot Trefoil

Thrift on the coastal path

Armeria maritima

Notable among the plants growing at the top of this beach were the kidney Vetch, the Bird's Foot Trefoil and the Thrift. The path climbs up a steep slope (be careful here) on the other side of the beach before turning inland and following the densely wooded side of the valley towards Nanternis. After half a mile the footpath from the beach joins with the path that follows the coast to New Quay. Here there is the 'Byrlip',  National Trust sign.  The valley at this point has the most magnificent displays of ferns one is ever likely to see in Britain, there are Male Ferns, Shield Ferns and especially Hart's Tongue Ferns looking so lush and green they could almost be mistaken for  Asplenium nidus in a garden centre!

After another half mile the narrow woodland path widens as the path runs above a water treatment facility. Through a couple of gates and it meets the road in the little community of Nanternis. The road is steep and is quite a climb until, leaving the village it levels out. At the cross roads by a quaint old furniture shop, we continued as the road descended into Llwyndafydd to the welcoming Inn where we had started our walk some three hours earlier.

With impeccable timing,  the skies opened and rain poured down - but not until we were in the pub!



Map of the walk

  • Details of  the New Quay Cliff walk can be found Here

  • The Dylan Thomas Trail in New Quay is Here.

  • Details of the Aberystwyth Bat Group  walk can be found Here

  • The Llanina Beach Walk is Here.

  • The Tregaron Bog (Cors Caron) walk is Here

all photos   Rod Attrill 2003


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