Other historic places to visit

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.

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).

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 current Strata Florida Project. Also in Lampeter is the Welsh Quilt Centre where a magnificent collection of historic quilts, built up by the remarkable Jen Jones, is on display alongside other exhibitions.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Basic information on each can be found on theCeredigion Faith Trail website]. Of particular note are Soar-y-Mynydd, Llangeitho and Llanddewi Brefi.

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