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Dyfed Gazetteer

Dyfed, named after an ancient Welsh kingdom, is what is known as a preserved county of Wales. It was created on 1 April 1974 by amalgamating three pre-existing counties of Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. It was abolished twenty-two years later when the three original counties were reinstated, Cardiganshire being renamed Ceredigion.

The southern halves of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire are known as the 'little England beyond Wales'. This has long been an English enclave; Henry Tudor (later Henry VII) had his power-base here, after all.

As you head north the place names and the people become progressively more Welsh, but the area still feels more like the Marches than deepest, darkest Wales. That is until you get into Cerdigion.

Fine coastline, blessedly traffic free, a bit like Cornwall, but with less reliable weather.

Cilgerran Castle

Location

Pembrokeshire Map

OS Ref: SN 195 430

Last Visited: 1989

Cilgerran Castle, Cardigan

Cilgerran Castle, Cardigan

Cilgerran Castle

Cilgerran Castle

Remains of a Norman Castle, only half of which still remains substantially above ground level. Fine views down to the Teifi river, where coracle fishermen can still sometime be spotted.

Check the National Trustʼs website for opening times etc.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • Cadw - Cilgerran Castle
      Cadw Handbook entry
      http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/cilgerran-castle/?lang=en
    • Castles of Wales - Cilgerran Castle
      Private site with history, description and lots of (large) photos
      http://www.castlewales.com/cliger.html
    • Cilgerran Castle
      National Trust Handbook entry detailing opening times, ticket prices, facilities, etc.
      https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cilgerran-castle

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Llandovery Castle

Location

Carmarthen  Map

OS Ref: SN 767 342

Last Visited: 2017

Llandovery Castle

Llandovery Castle

Tucked away behind the main car park, it has to be said that the ruins of Llandovery Castle lack the wow factor.

Started by the Normans in 1116, the castle changed hands many times in the following years in battles not only between the English and Welsh, but also between rival Welsh warlords.

The Llywelyn-ap-Gruffydd Monument

The Llywelyn-ap-Gruffydd Monument

Eventually in 1282 the English defeated Llywelyn the Last and it fell to Edward I. Most of what we see today dates to the re-fortification that occurred after Llywelyn's defeat.

It was attacked by Owain Glyndŵr during his rebellion, and in 1401 a Glyndŵr sympathizer named Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan was executed here in the presence of Henry IV. A very fine statue to him now stands on the motte, dominating the car park below.

In 1490 it was abandoned and, as with so many castles, it was slighted and rendered completely useless after Cromwell's victory in the English Civil War.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • Llandovery Castle
      Lots of photos and information from the Catles of Wales site.
      http://www.castlewales.com/llandov.html

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St. Brynach's Church, Nevern (Nanhyfer)

Location

Pembrokeshire Map

OS Ref: SN 083 400

Last Visited: 1989

Celtic Cross - Nevern Church

Celtic Cross - Nevern Church

Famous for its 4m (13ft) high elaborately patterned Great Celtic cross, dating from the 10th century, one of the finest in Wales. It is said that the first cuckoo arriving in Wales sings its very first song from the top of the cross on St Brynachʼs feast day, 7th April.

The church is also well known for its collection of Celtic memorial stones, one of which - to Maelgwyn (Maglocunus) - is inscribed in both Latin and Ogham, and acted as a sort of "Rosetta Stone" to the Ogham script.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • St. Brynach's Church, Nevern
      Travel Company Site. A lot of information, albeit in a rather plonking style.
      http://www.britannia.com/celtic/wales/sacred/brynach.html

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Pentre Ifan

Location

Pembrokeshire Map

OS Ref: SN 099 370

Last Visited: 1987

Pentre Ifan

Pentre Ifan

Surely the most elegant of all the dolmens. Its beautiful cuttlebone shaped capstone rests so delicately on the points of the three supporting uprights that it is difficult to believe that the ancients could ever have covered it all with a mound of earth.

Reminds me of Concorde, somehow, but perhaps thatʼs just me.

External Links and References

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Porthgain

Location

Pembrokeshire Map

OS Ref: SM 815 324

Last Visited: 1989

The Blue Pool, Abereiddy

The Blue Pool, Abereiddy

Stone Bins

Stone Bins

An Industrial Archeologistʼs paradise.

Most noticeable are the substantial remains of the brick-built road stone hoppers on the quayside. Granite was quarried nearby, and hauled up to the top of the hill behind the village.

Porthgain Cliffs

Porthgain Cliffs

Here it was crushed and sorted into different grades which were stored in the hoppers until ships, which could barely fit into the harbour, came to transport the stone all around the UK.

In addition to the granite, slate from nearby Abereiddy was also shipped from here, and there was a brickworks and a lime kiln. There is a fine cliff top walk from Porthgain, past the remote beach at Traeth Llyfin to Abereiddy and its Blue Pool (the old slate quarry).

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • The Sloop Inn
      New site with limited information on the pub
      http://www.sloop.co.uk/
    • The Shed Wine Bar & Bistro - About Porthgain
      The Restaurant is new since we were there, but they have some interesting information on the village and its history on their site.
      http://www.theshedporthgain.co.uk/aboutporthgain.htm

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Rydym ni yma o hyd (We are still here)

Location

Ceredigion Map

OS Ref: SN 609 630

Last Visited: 2017

Rydym ni yma o hyd

Rydym ni yma o hyd

Driving along narrow country roads in deepest, darkest Ceredigion, blindly following the sat nav, I suddenly stumbled on this group of sculptures in a field at Brynamlwg outside the village of Penuwch

According to the information board they date from 1993 when "Penuwch Primary School was invited by The Welsh Arts Council to research and record in a multi medium art form the history of the village and its adjoining communities".

It takes its title from lines in a poem by local bard John Roderick Rees. These read:

Oni welwch chi ddyrnaid ohonom
Yn cyndynnu glynu wrth yr erwau hyn,
Yn gelodaidd glymu wrth yr erwau hyn
Rydym ni yma o hyd.
Don't you see the handful of us
Clinging desperately to those acres.
Attached like leeches to these few acres?
We are still here.

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St Davids

Location

Pembrokeshire Map

OS Ref: SM 752 254

Last Visited: 1989

Bishop's Palace, St Davids

Bishop's Palace, St Davids

St David's Cathedral

St David's Cathedral

Perhaps the smallest city in the British Isles, St Davids is, in fact, no more than a large, reasonably attractive village.

The small, but perfectly formed, Cathedral hides away from Viking Raiders in the bottom of a valley.

Next to it are the magnificent remains of the old Bishops Palace.

Check the Cadw website for opening times etc.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • Cadw - Bishop's Palace
      Cadw Handbook entry
      http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/stdavidsbishopspalace/?lang=en
    • St Davids Online
      Comprehensive site covering the village and all it has to offer
      http://www.stdavids.co.uk/
    • St Davids Cathedral
      Not the easiest site to navigate, but there is plenty tucked away in there
      http://www.stdavidscathedral.org.uk/

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Teifi Valley Railway

Location

Ceredigion Map

OS Ref: SN 359 407

Last Visited: 1989

Teifi Valley Railway

Teifi Valley Railway

Short narrow-gauge line built on the track bed of a former standard-gauge branch of the Great Western Railway.

Trains used run from Henllan, three and a quarter kilometres (two miles) up to Llandyfriog, stopping at the impressive Pont-pren-shitw bridge on the way back.

Note: In Welsh the 's' and 'h' are pronounced as separate consonants, not the 'ssh' sound they make in English. Just as well, really.

Industrial Locos

Industrial Locos

One of the primary objectives of the railway is to attract tourists to the area, and a worthy enough objective that is too.

However, it is difficult for an old cynic like me to shake off the thought that they are somehow 'cashing in' on the popularity of Welsh narrow-gauge railways, rather than undertaking a serious exercise in preservation.

They do have a nice collection of industrial diesel locos, however, together with a couple of recently acquired steam engines. Furthermore in 2006 the line was extended as far as the River Teifi.

Check the Teifi Valley Railwayʼs website for opening times etc.

External Links and References

  • External Links

    • UK Heritage Railways
      Comprehensive listing of all preserved railways, tramways and rolling stock in the UK with links to the individual railway sites
      http://www.heritagerailways.com/
    • The Teifi Valley Railway
      Official site with opening times, etc.
      http://www.teifivalleyrailway.wales/

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