Ceredigion is best known for its coastline on the great sweep of Cardigan Bay. No fewer than 6 beaches along this Heritage Coast have International Blue Flag status and many of the one-time fishing villages have become genteel resorts. In the north of the county and close to the mouth of the River Dyfi is the great expanse of sand at Borth while, further south, the coastline gives way to cliffs and coves – once the haunt of smugglers.
Inland are some of the most beautiful landscapes in Wales, an area that attracts many rare species of birds, animals and plants. In particular, it is home to the graceful red kite, an impressive bird of prey that can be seen at closer quarters at the Kite Centres at Ponterwyd and Tregaron. Keen birdwatchers are also well served by nature reserves around the Teifi and Dyfi estuaries and at Llangranog, New Quay and Cors Caron. Cardigan Bay is noted for its resident population of bottlenose dolphins and several ports offer dolphin- spotting boat trips. For walkers there’s the Ceredigion Coast Path, a 60-mile route between Cardigan on the Teifi estuary and Ynys Las on the Dyfi estuary.
Ceredigion means the land of Ceredig, son of the Celtic chieftain Cunedda. Dating from around AD415, the region is renowned for its unique brand of Welshness. Its inhabitants are affectionately known as “Cardis”, as Ceredigion encompasses most of the former county of Cardiganshire. The patron saint of Wales, St David, was born in Ceredigion and many famous Welsh princes are buried in the ruins of Strata Florida Abbey. The region is not as well endowed with castles as the counties further north, but Aberystwyth and Cardigan castles both saw fighting before they were left in ruins, and Cardigan is credited with being the venue for the first recorded eisteddfod in 1176. Much of Ceredigion can be classed as very Welsh and very rural, but it is also an important area of learning. St David’s College at Lampeter, a world- renowned ecclesiastical establishment, is now, as University College, part of the University of Wales, while Aberystwyth is home not only to the first university in Wales, founded in 1872, but also to the National Library of Wales. Most notable of the area’s museums are the National Wool Museum at Llandysul, reflecting the importance of this commodity to the region, and the Museum of Power at Tanygroes, which explores the history of stationary internal combustion engines.