Saturday, 5 July 2014


Walkers heading south along the coastal path from New Quay are in for a treat, especially those who enjoy wildlife, natural phenomena and ancient remains.  First there is Bird Rock with its colonies of nesting birds, then a short distance further along is Seal Bay, where mature seals can often be seen, although the autumn is the best time for younger seals.  Then for the ancient history enthusiasts there is the site of Castell Bach, a 2,000-year-old Celtic fort.  The village of Cwmtydu has a shingle beach reached  by a drive along narrow lanes.  The beach is overlooked by the remains of an old lime kiln, and the nearby shale cliffs are dramatically buckled and tilted.  

One of the many things I enjoy about the British coast is the spectacle of mountainous surf rolling onto the shore, all the more so when viewed from close quarters.  This was what I was met with during my visit to Llangrannog a couple of years ago, where I stood on the beach watching the waves roll in, and became so transfixed by the sights and sounds of it all that I was reluctant to drag myself away.  This small resort is reached by narrow lanes weaving past picturesque cottages.  The village was established in the 6th century around its church.  The original church of St Caranog has been superceded by a newer building dating from 1885, although among its contents are treasures from the Norman period.  St Mary's Well, also from around the 6th century, used to be visited by pilgrims who believed in the health-giving properties of its water.  However, there are signs of much earlier habitation in the area: the headland of Ynys-Lochtyn is overlooked by the site of a prehistoric fort.   

Nowadays it is tourism that is the mainstay of the economy.  Llangranog has a small sand and shingle beach with a distinctive rock at one end of it called Carreg Bica which according to legend is the tooth of a local giant, spat out when the giant had a toothache. During the early days of Llangrannog's time as a holiday resort it was visited by Edward Elgar.  Dylan Thomas also paid a visit while living in New Quay and, inevitably, ended up in the Ship Inn.  The Welsh painter Christopher Williams was moved to paint the village while there, and his painting 'Holidays, Village Girls at Llangrannog' is on display in the National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth). The village remains small and unspoilt, with a small cluster of businesses including two pubs.  A mile to the east of the village is the Llangrannog dry ski slope at a youth centre called the Urdd Centre.   

Video of drone footage courtesy of the Pentre Arms.

Map of the area. 

Llangrannog Beach with Carreg Bica


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