Walking in the Aberystwyth Area

 

 

 

Above Penrhyncoch

 

 

 

Bedford Monument, Hafod

 

 

 

Waterfall at Hafod

 

 

 

Open Access

 

 

 

Mountain Bothy

 

 

 

Alone

 

 

 

Crossing a Footbridge After Frost

 

If you wish you can go direct to
the All Wales Coast Path and the Ceredigion Coast Path

Introduction

The Aberystwyth area has two great advantages for the walker - and one disadvantage.

The advantages are beautiful walking country (unspoilt scenery and lots of archaeological interest both ancient and modern), and a dense network of footpaths (some derived from old drovers' trails, others from lead miners' paths).

The disadvantage is that many of the Rights of Way shown on the map are in poor condition.  Visitors hoping to find appropriate walks from their Ordnance Survey maps should be aware of this.

The problem is gradually being overcome, with the Local Authority now committed to tackling the problem in a serious way, but it will take some years of effort to overcome the years of neglect.  In the meantime the tourist faces a problem. How can he or she know where it will be possible to walk? "I came to Mid Wales on a walking holiday and went home after three days because so many paths were blocked" is a complaint that has on occasion been received by the local Ramblers Group. These notes aim to overcome that problem by giving a brief guide to the increasing number of areas where the walker can expect to find paths that are open and welcoming.

Maps

Ordnance Survey maps for the area which are of most use to walkers are:

  • Landranger 135, Aberystwyth and Machynlleth, scale 1:50,000
  • Explorer 213, Aberystwyth and Cwm Rheidol, scale 1:25,000

In addition, the 1:25,000 OS map shows land designated as Open Access land under the provisions of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act. The Landranger map can be seen on the web here

In addition there are sometimes permissive paths and other access on farms involved in the Tir Gofal and Glastir (agri-environment) Schemes. These are not shown on OS maps but are available here. Note that all Rights of Way on Tir Gofal farms should be in good order. 

Aberystwyth and the Long Distance Paths

Aberystwyth is readily accessible on foot. There are six long distance paths passing nearby.

  • All Wales Coast Path and Ceredigion Coast Path  The Ceredigion Coast Path was opened in 2008 to provide a spectacular 60-mile route from Cardigan in the south of the county to Ynyslas in the north, passing directly through Aberystwyth. In 2012 the new 870-mile All Wales Coast Path came into being, and this incorporated nearly all of the Ceredigion Coast Path (though there are two significant differences - see below). There are many new sections of path, and some diversions on older sections, so watch out for signposts and waymarks.    Note:

    • In the south, the All Wales Coast Path starts right on the county boundary (where the Pembrokeshire Path finishes). It reaches Cardigan after about four miles, and this is where the Ceredigion Coast Path starts. From Cardigan onwards the two paths coincide for 60 miles till they reach Borth towards the north of the county. At this point, the Ceredigion Coast Path sticks to the coast for another couple of miles, ending when it reaches the major obstacle of the estuary of Afon Dyfi at the popular holiday centre at Ynyslas. The All Wales Path diverges inland from Borth in order to cross the Dyfi at Machynlleth (the location of the first bridge).

    • It is possible to walk the whole of the path in linear segments by using public transport.  At the north end, there are regular and reasonably frequent bus services between Borth and Aberystwyth, and between Aberystwyth and Aberaeron, with access to the coast at numerous points on these routes.  Towards the south, there is a summer-only "sherpa" bus (the Cardi Bach) between Cei Bach (just north of New Quay) and Cardigan calling at all the main beaches.

    • The route of the Ceredigion Coast Path is fully described, with much additional background information in the official guide - Gerald Morgan's Ceredigion Coast Path/ Llwybr Arfordir Ceredigion. The route is also described on Walk Cardigan Bay

    • Maps for the entire route of the All Wales Coast Path are available on the CCW website Wales Coast Path Go towards the bottom of the page to find the list of maps.

  • The Cambrian Way (from Cardiff to Conwy) passes through Devil's Bridge and Ponterwyd. For full details see Cambrian Way by A J. Drake. Aberystwyth can be reached from the Cambrian Way via any of three different routes:

    • From Devil's Bridge via the Mal Evans Way to Borth then on the cliff top path from Borth to Aberystwyth;
    • Via the Ystwyth Valley from Cwmystwyth . Those with reasonable map-reading skills will find a number of usable options for following this route.
    • Via the Rheidol Valley from Devil's Bridge . There is at present no waymarked route but the enterprising walker will find numerous Rights of Way on the map - many of them have recently been improved. A possible route is outlined in The Birmingham and Aberystwyth Walk (see below).
  • The Birmingham and Aberystwyth Walk is what it says. It approaches Aberystwyth via Pontrhydygroes, Devils Bridge, and the Rheidol Valley. The book of this title, by John Roberts, was published in 2001 by Walkways Quercus.

  • The Dyfi Valley Way starts from Aberdyfi on the north side of the Dyfi, goes inland to Bala, and back again to Machynlleth and on to Borth. See Guide to the Dyfi Valley Way by Laurence Main. There is a good connecting cliff top path from Borth to Aberystwyth.

  • Glyndwr's Way is an official Long Distance Trail providing two alternative links from Machynlleth to the Offa's Dyke Path (which goes from Chepstow to Prestatyn). From Machynlleth, Aberystwyth can be reached via the All Wales Coast Path

  • Mal Evans Way - Borth to Devil's Bridge  Aberystwyth Ramblers have installed stiles on behalf of Ceredigion County Council to open up a recommended route of some 18 miles of beautiful countryside between the seaside town of Borth (location of a Youth Hostel) and Devil's Bridge (on the route of the Cambrian Way). This route is known as the Mal Evans Way.  A detailed leaflet, produced by Ceredigion County Council, is available from Tourist Offices in the area.  Please note that the Youth Hostel at Ystumtuen (which was on this route) has now been closed.  The route has recently been extended so that it is possible to continue from Devil's Bridge to Pontrhydfendigaid on waymarked rights of way.

Aberystwyth Ramblers' Programme

Aberystwyth RA organises a regular series of walks in and around North Ceredigion, mostly at weekends. Visitors are welcome to join any of the walks that coincide with their holiday. Non-members are asked to join the Ramblers after three walks. The current programme is always on show in the Tourist Office in Aberystwyth and on the Ramblers Notice Board on the Car Park side of the Cooperative Supermarket in Park Avenue. Note that, because this is a livestock area, DOGS, however well-behaved, are not permitted on Aberystwyth Ramblers' walks.

Other Publications

The recommended publications, listed below, are available from local bookshops or the Tourist Information Centre in Terrace Road Aberystwyth (adjoining Ceredigion Museum, housed in a former theatre and well worth a visit).

  • A new series of leaflets produced by Ceredigion County Council and available from Tourist Offices. These can be contacted as follows: Aberystwyth 01970-612125; Aberaeron 01545-570602; Borth 01970-871174; Cardigan 01239-613230; and New Quay 01545-560865.
  • A set of walks around Aberystwyth mainly in the Rheidol Valley (linked to the Rheidol narrow gauge line).
  • Walks at Hafod (near Devils Bridge). This is the former home of Thomas Johnes (1748 to 1816), and many of his landscapes and walks have been restored by the Hafod Trust in partnership with Forest Enterprise. See The Hafod Landscape by Jennifer Macve.
  • Two books by Laurence Main: Welsh Walks: Aberystwyth and District and Family Walks in Mid Wales.
  • Roger Handley's Walking Around the Plynlimon HIlls.
  • Richard Sale's Ceredigion Walks provides historical background to the various walks described.

Other Recommended Walks

The first three walks below are easy to identify from the Rights of Way shown on Ordnance Survey Explorer maps of the area.

  • The cliff top path from Aberystwyth northwards to Borth (see the Victorian funicular railway and Camera Obscura on Constitution Hill) returning by bus or train.
  • The cliff top path south from Aberystwyth can be taken either to Llanrhystud or Llanon from where there are frequent buses back to Aberystwyth.
  • From Aberystwyth Promenade, over the golf course and through Cwm Woods to Clarach, returning via the cliff top and Constitution Hill.
  • Parc Natur Penglais. This is a Local Nature Reserve which can be readily accessed from a footpath opposite the Coopers Inn at the bottom of Penglais Hill in Aberystwyth. A leaflet is available from the Tourist Office. Parc Natur Penglais immediately adjoins the golf course path referred to above.
  • Pen Dinas - a hill on the south side of the town - is an impressive Iron Age Hill Fort also noted for its prominent monument commemorating the Battle of Waterloo. Much of this area is now a Local Nature Reserve.
  • Forestry Commission walks and self-guided orienteering leaflet at the FC's newly refurbished Visitor Centre at Nantyarian (about 12 miles east of Aberystwyth on the A44).
  • The Arch (a historic structure a mile or so east of Devil's Bridge).  There are many walks from the Forestry Commission car park - on the north side of the road through mainly forested areas, or on the south side is the Pwllpeiran Trail (a walking route provided by ADAS).
  • Rheidol Valley. Most paths in Cwm Rheidol (Rheidol Valley) are now in good condition following a programme of works by the Council and the Ramblers' Volunteers.

Other good centres are the RSPB reserve at Ynyshir (between Aberystwyth and Machynlleth); the Nature Trail at Ynyslas (due north of Borth); the Organic Farm Trail at Dolybont (just off the minor road between Aberystwyth and Borth - this is the original source of Rachel's Organic Yogurt which is well-known all over the country); and the Cwm Rheidol Nature Trail (at the power station in the Rheidol Valley).
 

Mountains

TAKE CARE WHEN WALKING ON MOUNTAINS: BE WELL EQUIPPED

  • Cadair Idris can be climbed from the car park at Minffordd (Grid Reference SH 731115). Minffordd is accessible by bus from Aberystwyth. For those travelling by car, parking at Minffordd is free.
  • Pumlumon (Plynlimon) can be climbed from Eisteddfa Gurig (Grid Reference SN 798841) or from the Dyffryn Castell Hotel (Grid Reference SN 774817), both on the A44 east of Aberystwyth and accessible by bus from Aberystwyth. For those travelling by car: parking at Eisteddfa Gurig involves a charge; parking at the Dyffryn Castell requires permission of the owner.
     

 

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