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strata florida

Whether you want to learn about the area’s history and stories, explore the countryside, or take a moment for quiet reflection and inspiration, there is plenty to do!

strata florida ~ ystrad fflur

Visiting Strata Florida

Whether you want to learn about the area’s history and stories, explore the countryside, or take a moment for quiet reflection and inspiration, there is plenty to do!

 

You can visit the abbey itself, walk around St Mary’s church and churchyard to see the memorial to the poet Dafydd ap Gwilym, or follow footpaths into the ancient Abbey woodland and mountain sheep pastures to the south and east, or along the river to the west. More ambitious walkers, cyclist and horse riders can follow the forestry road up into the hills or visit the restored holy well at Pantyfedwen.

 

The creation of our new community use space is now complete and it stands in the newly converted and refurbished cowshed, called Y Beudy, which can be found opposite the old farmhouse Mynachlog Fawr. A number of community activities and events will be held here. Please visit the Community section of the website for further details.

Opening times of abbey site

Details of opening times, admission and facilities can be found here

Strata Florida Abbey

Strata Florida Abbey (Abaty Ystrad Fflur in Welsh) is a captivating, evocative and internationally significant site located in the heart of Wales. Known affectionately as the Westminster Abbey of Wales, it had its heyday in the 12th and 13th centuries and was once an important centre of culture, religion and trade, with connections spreading far across the Welsh landscape.

The Cistercian monks who founded the abbey were quite the entrepreneurs, taking advantage of the rural location to become self-sufficient, farming thousands of sheep and building roads and bridges to allow pilgrims and traders to visit the site. The abbey would have been a very striking and imposing building and you are still, today, able to admire the majesty of its iconic, carved west doorway. The plan of the church can still be clearly traced and, rather remarkably, some of the original richly decorated tiles from the abbey have survived intact. One of them, ‘Man with the Mirror’, depicts a medieval gentleman admiring himself in a mirror!

The ruins of the church and cloisters of the Cistercian monastery of Strata Florida are currently managed by Cadw. The visitor centre includes a display, activities, shop and light refreshments. Allow approximately 1hr to visit. Details of opening times, admission and facilities can be found here

11   /   06   /   2023

St Mary’s Churchyard

The parish churchyard of St Mary's Strata Florida is a site perhaps more visited even than the abbey monument itself. We know of its existence from as early as about 1535, when it was visited by John Leland, Henry VIII's official antiquary. He noted that 'the cemetery wherein the country about doth bury is very large and meanly walled with stone. In it be 39 great yew trees'. It is exceptional that a large and important Cistercian Abbey such as Strata Florida would have a secular cemetery right next to its church. This is one of the hints that the 12th century foundation may actually have been on an earlier site. Allow approximately 1hr to visit.

A short booklet documenting the results of fieldwork undertaken as part of a university research project is available for download in the here.

 
 
 
 

Heritage walks 

There are three heritage walks of varying lengths around the Strata Florida area.

The Riverside Trail – 1.5miels/2.5km which takes approximately 45mins

The Woodland Trail – 3.5miles/5km which takes approximately 2hrs

The Hillside Trail – 1mile/1.5km which takes approximately 20mins

 

For further information on the walks download the pdf leaflet here

Location

Strata Florida lies at the head of a steep-sided valley, 1km east of the village of Pontrhydfendigaid. The village stands at the northwest shore of Cors Caron peat bog, a National Nature Reserve, on the B4343 between Devil’s Bridge and Tregaron at the junction with the B4340 to Aberystwyth. The turning for the Strata Florida is just south of the bridge across the Afon Teifi that gives Pontrhydfendigaid its historical name, and is marked by brown leisure signs. Post code: SY25 6ES. OS grid reference: SN 7467 6569

 
 

How to get here

The easiest way to reach Strata Florida is to drive to the site as it is 1km from the nearest village. Parking is free at the site. The nearest railway station is in Aberystwyth, 15 miles away from Pontrhydfendigaid. There are buses from Aberystwyth railway station to Pontrhydfendigaid throughout the day and the journey takes approximately 45mins. There is also a taxi rank at the railway station should you prefer.

For further information on transport within the county visit Travelline or download the Traveline Cymru app.

Local facilities

 

In the village of Pontrhydfendigaid there are two pubs and a busy local shop. In the town of Tregaron, 6 miles away, there are a number of shops, pubs, restaurants, cash machines and take-away’s. There is a regular bus service connecting Pontrhydfendigaid and Tregaron and there is also a local taxi service.

historic and natural landscapes

The National Nature Reserve of Cors Caron run by Natural Resources Wales welcomes visitors and has a number of dedicated walks with full information panels.

To the north of Strata Florida, and once one of its granges, lie the remains of the internationally famous Picturesque landscape of Hafod, created during the Napoleonic period by Thomas Johnes. The Hafod Trust, in partnership with Natural Resource Wales, manage this landscape and it has a visitor centre and many beautiful walks. www.hafod.org

Very much a part of the Picturesque landscape of Hafod was the Hafod Arms hotel built at Devil's Bridge by Thomas Johnes to house the many visitors to his estate. This lay on the old turnpike road from Aberystwyth to Rhayader passing through Cwmystwyth and its massive lead and silver mines, once owned by Strata Florida Abbey. The Johnes Picturesque experience was enhanced by the spectacular Devil's Bridge waterfalls which can still be visited today. www.devilsbridgefalls.co.uk

Large parts of the area are covered by planted woodland much owned by the Welsh Government and administered by Natural Resources Wales which encourages amenity access. The North Tywi forest block above Strata Florida has many tracks suitable for walking, biking and horse riding. The main access road to this runs past Strata Florida.

The River Teifi, which flows through the Abbey, has a charitable organisation looking after its natural history, the Teifi Rivers Trust, and its website has a walk around the historic Teifi Pools once owned by the Abbey and stocked with trout and eels for their consumption. www.teifiriverstrust.com  

The Elan valley area lies to the north-east of Strata Florida and much of its landscape was once owned by the Abbey. It is managed by the Elan Valley Trust and its website has a very good guide to all the things to see there and to visit. www.elanvalley.org.uk

The Cambrian Mountain Society is an organisation concerned with protecting and promoting the upland landscapes of the area and has a useful web-site with its walks section including a basic list of maps and publications. The Cambrian Mountain Society also organises a number of guided walks through the year and membership is recommended! www.cambrian-mountains.co.uk

Although not directly connected to the Strata Florida story, an important focus for understanding and conserving the natural environment in this part of Wales is Denmark Farm. It holds events, runs courses and can be visited by everybody. www.denmarkfarm.org.uk

Other local historic places

Pontrhydfendigaid (the 'bridge at the holy ford') was originally the village created by the Abbey of Strata Florida to house the workers on its nearby lands. This lay to the north of the river bridge between the two public house, the Red and Black Lions which themselves continue the Abbey's great tradition for providing hospitality for the traveller. The village expanded in the 19th century during a boom in lead mining with many miner's cottages still surviving. There are also several large chapels which were, and remain, important to the life of such communities. The website contains no details of this history, but the village is, nonetheless, worth walking round.

Tregaron is an historic market town to the south of Strata Florida and in the Middle Ages was the centre of the Lordship of Caron. The historic core lies around the square in front of the Talbot Hotel, with its 13th century parish church on the southern edge. Both the Talbot and the church are historic buildings and well worth a visit. The town, like Pontrhydfendigaid expanded in the 19th century and it celebrates its long connection to ancient mining in Rhiannon's Gold Centre, where modern jewellery can be seen alongside an exhibition of Celtic art which forms the inspiration for Rhiannon's own work. www.visitmidwales.co.uk

Llanddewi Brefi is a pretty village with a great church at the heart of it. The present structure, which dates to the 12th century, is on the site of a place famous in the story of the Welsh patron saint, St. David. Probably once an early Celtic monastery, the church contains several monuments dating to the pre-Norman period of Christianity (c.AD600-1100). www.llanddewibrefi.org

Lampeter is an historic medieval town containing today one of the campuses of the University of Wales Trinity St David. This campus began as the oldest institution of higher education in Wales, being founded in 1822. Its St David's Building is a Grade I listed building and has many fine features: a walk around its grounds and into its historic quadrangle are recommended. Its connection with Strata Florida is that its School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology began the Strata Florida Project. www.lampeter-tc.gov.uk

The National Trust property at Llanerchaeron, near Aberaeron on the Ceredigion coast is an architectural gem by John Nash, the famous Regency architect. It has also has extensive, restored grounds and parklands with beautiful woodland walks along the River Aeron. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/llanerchaeron

Another National Trust property in the valley of the River Cothi are the Dolaucothi Gold Mines which date back to the Roman period. Gold was also extracted from here during the time of Strata Florida Abbey and on into the 20th century, and today underground workings form a wonderful visit for the whole family. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dolaucothi-gold-mines

Aberaeron is a beautiful seaside town on the coast of Cardigan Bay which was created to provide a safe harbour for coastal shipping in 1807. Architecturally it has an integrity formed by several streets of Regency terraced houses, many now painted in the colours popular at that time. The whole setting around the harbour, now largely a marina, is stunning. The town holds many events and is noted for its hospitality and good food. www.aberaeron.info/en/welcome-to-aberaeron

To the north of Strata Florida, and related to its long involvement in mining, is the site of Llywernog silver-lead mine, now open to the public as the Silver Mountain Experience. This includes underground visits. www.silvermountainexperience.co.uk

For those interested in historic buildings the old parish churches of the region are well worth visiting. Many are built on much older sites of the pre-Norman era of Celtic Christianity. There are also many Non-conformist chapels, some with important parts to play in the national story of Wales. Of particular note are Soar-y-Mynydd, Llangeitho and Llanddewi Brefi.

What to do in Ceredigion

Strata Florida is in the county of Ceredigion which has one of the most varied sections of the Wales Coast Path, and there are trails and footpaths along river valleys, woodlands and moorland ridges to enjoy. There are numerous town trails that follow in the footsteps of poets, pioneers and pilgrims, from Dylan Thomas to Saint David. You can spend a few hours fishing on the banks of a river or lake, or from a boat with a local expert who knows where and when to find mackerel, crabs and other fish.

Go pony trekking, have a day out at the races or go to a horse festival, town carnival or rugby 7s tournament. Bring or hire a bike to enjoy waymarked cycle routes or to tackle the mountain bike trails at Bwlch Nant yr Arian. Enjoy watersports with your own or locally hired equipment, or let the experts show you how to make the most of our surf, rapids and landscape.

Organise a picnic, head out along our country lanes to discover the people and places that make the story of Ceredigion a tale of celebrated heroes, rebels, princes, enterprise and industry. Visit a Aberystwyth Castle, the local National Trust property Llanerchaeron or check out the Ceredigion Museum. Have a drink on the harbour wall in the Georgian town of Aberaeron or watch a pod of dolphins whilst eating your fish and chips on the quayside at New Quay.

Discover Ceredigion's wildlife in their natural habitats - there are woodland, wetland, mountain and marine nature reserves to explore, guided walks, woodland and beach activities, and train and boat trips that can show you the best of Ceredigion's coast and countryside.

For more information on what the local area has to offer visit

www.discoverceredigion.wales

www.pumlumon.org.uk

www.visitwales.com

www.visitpowys.co.uk

www.discovercarmarthenshire.com

www.walkingbritain.co.uk/map-Ceredigion

Accommodation

Self catering

Red Kite Cottages
Ty Uchaf, Ffair Rhos, Ceredigion, SY25 6BP, Wales, United Kingdom
Email: chris@redkitecottages.com
Website: www.redkitecottages.com
Phone: ++44(0)1974 831 540, mobile: ++44(0)75277478

Pentrebach
Blaenpennal,
Ceredigion
Website: www.pentrebach.org
Tel: 01974 251676

 

Parc Teifi
Pontrhydfendigaid
Ystrad Meurig
Ceredigion
SY25 6BH
Website: www.parcteifi.co.uk/index.html
Tel: 01974 831730

Bryn-Y-Gors Holiday Park
Pontrhydfenigaid., Pontrhydfendigaid, Ceredigion SY25 6EL
Website: www.bryn-y-gors.co.uk/
Tel: 01974 831675

Tanyresgair Cottages

Tanyresgair, Bontnewydd, Aberystwyth, SY23 4JG

 www.tanyresgair.co.uk

cottages@tanyresgair.co.uk

01974 251517

 

 

 

Hotels

Y Talbot, Tregaron
A cosy hotel with 12 bedrooms, four of which have been renovated,

the rest being renovated to four star inn standard by September this year.

Costs range from £70.00 for a standard twin or double room

including breakfast to £90.00 for one of our new deluxe rooms.
Y Talbot, Tregaron, Ceredigion, SY25 6JL
Website:www.ytalbot.com
Email: info@ytalbot.com
Tel: +44 (0)1974 298208

 

 

 

Bed and Breakfast

Maesglas Uchaf
Angela and Peter White
Maesglas Uchaf
Ysbyty Ystwyth
Ystrad Meurig
Ceredigion
SY25 6DD
Website: www.maesglasbandb.co.uk
Email: info@maesglasbandb.co.uk
Tel: 01974 282 571

Hafan Ynys
Ynys Y Berfedd,
Swyddffynnon,
Ystrad Meurig,
Ceredigion,
SY25 6AW
Website: http://www.hafanynys.co.uk
Email: jillleach47@gmail.com
Tel: (Home) 01974 831 602, (Mobile) 07817994046

Brynarth Country Guest House
Lledrod
Aberystwyth
Ceredigion
Mid Wales
SY23 4HX

Phone: 01974 261 367

www.brynarth.co.uk

 

 

For more places to stay please visit the Discover Ceredigion website: www.discoverceredigion.co.uk