In Ceredigion you are relieved of the hustle and bustle of the city, and, instead greeted with quaint pathways, country lanes and rustic abodes like you've only been privileged enough to see before in fine paintings. Cardigan Bay marks the territory in mid-western Wales where you find Ceredigion, a county of Wales that was previously known as a kingdom, from long ago, and, a district just before being announced as a county in 1996. If you follow the coastline of the Bay from the city of Borth to the city of Cardigan you can determine the westernmost boundary of the county, while Ceredigion ends at Pembrokeshire and Camarthenshire to the south, Gwynedd to the north and Powys at its easternmost point.
There are mountains, valleys, rivers, beaches and an amazing waterfall that is known as the Mynach Falls. The mountains here are the Cambrian Mountains, also referred to as the Desert of Wales over its wide and spares areas, and home to much evidence of pre-historic discovery in its sediments. Rivers include the Severn, the Wye, the Afon Mynach and the Rheidol among others where the Rheidol is one of the most important ones. The Afon Rheidol is naturally joined with the Afon Mynach to create the Devil's Bridge waterfalls, a waterfall that has had a three tier bridge constructed over it, with a path to the lowest bridge known as "Jacob's Ladder" and two newer, usable bridges built above.
The Rheidol River
The Rheidol River is nineteen miles in length and travels through Aberystwyth, which stands for Mouth of The Ystwyth, a resort and market town. The Ystwyth is a river in confluence with the River Rheidol. The town of Aberystwyth also sports a sizable University. After leaving Aberystwyth the river travels south-westerly through Welsh Oak Ancient Woodlands before meeting with the famed Afon Mynach. After the waterfalls Rheidol River passes the old lead mine, Cwm Rheidol, among several additional metal mines all of which polluted the river and necessitated water treatment including such remedies as constructed wetlands, that are now being used, and, a limestone filter bed that is no longer useful. Along the adjacent valleys you find, in the place of mining, beef and dairy farming, sheep farming, forestry and tourism.
The Vale of Rheidol Railway
For eleven and three-quarter miles, from Aberystwyth to Devil's Bridge, find this narrow gauged steam-operated heritage railway providing entertainment and history to tourists and locals from Easter until the end of October each year. The Vale is also operated in February at half term and in the area of Christmas time as "Santa Specials." It takes one hour to travel in the train from end to end and two hours for a round trip. Train stops include Capel Bangor near the village of the same name, this station has a new replica station that was built in 2012, Aberffrwd Station and Devil's Bridge, within walking distance of the falls. There are several request only stops too, Lianbadarn, Glanyrafon Halt, Nantyronen and Rheidol Falls require a special request for the trains to take a rest stop. The only steam operated train around, the Vale of Rheidol Railway is now owned by the Phyllis Rampton Narrow Gauge Railway Trust.
The Coastline of Ceredigion
Ceredigion's coastal region contains award winning sandy beaches, clear sea water, a summer residence of bottle nosed dolphins and resorts with camping. Several villages and town are on the coast and prepared to accommodate visitors to the area.
The village of Borth, population 1,523, is a few miles north of Aberystwyth, population 15,900, and uniquely has a clearly visible at low tide submerged forest. It is believed that the trees in the forest died around 1,500 BC. The preservation of these forests is made possible via anaerobic acid peat conditions. This forest is also associated to the Legend of Cantre'r Gwaelod, thought of as a "Welsh Atlantis" in the folklore. There also exists a Youth Hotel at Borth.
The Cors Fochno peat mire, a UNESCO Biosphere reserve and the Dyfi National Nature Reserve are next to the village of Borth with the Dyfi Valley Way footpath passing through Borth. The Nature Reserve includes the Ynyslas Sand Dunes, the Dyfi Estuary Mudflats and the Cors Fochno. Here you find vegetation, grasslands, fens, scrub, phygrana, bogs, marshes and maquis that you won't find outside of marshland areas that can be studied and explored.
Aberaeron is another seaside resort area, population 1,520. When the town was first developed it was a port with a shipbuilding industry on the side that was begun by Reverend Alban Thomas Jones Gwynne. As time progressed the area was more sought after for recreation. At the estuary you can find a special wooden pedestrian bridge. The town of Aberaeron has a history of craftsmen that include tradesmen in the woollen manufacturing industry, blacksmithing trade, carpentry industry, hat making, the shovel making trade and bootmaking. Aberaeron is known for its elegant regency style in buildings found situated around its harbor, some of which was featured on British stamps. The beaches of Aberaeron consist of fine pebbles, and, even so, were awarded a 'Blue Flag' rural beach award. Tourists love staying at the Harbourmaster Hotel; very blue in color, and, boasting a famous seafood restaurant.
The larger town of Aberystwyth is on the coast of this area, just south of Borth, and it is the largest area and the administrative headquarters of Ceredigion.