pronunciation: [kɛrɛˈdɪɡjɔn] ( listen)) is a
Mid Wales and previously was a minor kingdom. Known for
centuries in English as Cardiganshire (Welsh: Sir Aberteifi), it began
to be administered as a county in 1282.
The county had a population of 75,900 at the 2011 UK census. Its
largest town, Aberystwyth, is one of the two administrative centres;
the other being Aberaeron.
Bronglais Hospital and the National Library of Wales. The inland town
Lampeter houses part of the
Wales Trinity Saint
Ceredigion is considered to be a centre of Welsh culture and
more than half the population speaks Welsh. The county is mainly rural
with over 50 miles (80 km) of coastline and a mountainous
hinterland. The numerous sandy beaches, together with the
Ceredigion Coast Path
Ceredigion Coast Path provide excellent views of
In the 18th and early 19th century,
Ceredigion had more industry than
it does today; Cardigan was the commercial centre of the county; lead,
silver and zinc were mined and Cardigan was the principal port of
South Wales prior to the silting of its harbour. The economy became
highly dependent on dairy farming and the rearing of livestock for the
English market. During the last century, livestock farming has become
less profitable, and the county's population was in decline as people
moved to the more prosperous parts of
Wales or emigrated to other
countries. More recently, there has been an increase due to elderly
people moving to the county for retirement, and the various government
initiatives that have encouraged tourism and other alternative sources
3 Local government
5 Sport and leisure
7 See also
10 External links
Kingdom of Ceredigion
Kingdom of Ceredigion and Seisyllwg
Ceredigion has been inhabited since prehistoric times: 170 hill forts
and enclosures have been identified across the county and there are
many standing stones dating back to the Bronze Age. Around the time
of the Roman invasion of Britain, the area was between the realms of
Demetae and Ordovices. The
Sarn Helen road ran through the
territory, with forts at Bremia and
Loventium protecting gold mines
near present-day Llelio. Following the Roman withdrawal, Irish raids
and invasions were repulsed, supposedly by the forces under a
northerner named Cunedda. The 9th-century History of the Britons
Nennius records that Cunedda's son
Ceredig settled the
area around the Teifi in the 5th century. The territory supposedly
remained a minor kingdom under his dynasty until its extinction upon
the drowning of
Gwgon ap Meurig c. 871, after which it was
Rhodri Mawr of
Gwynedd before passing to his son
Cadell, whose son
Hywel Dda inherited its neighbouring kingdom Dyfed
and established the realm of Deheubarth. Records are highly obscure;
some historians believe that Hyfaidd ap Bledrig, the
Dyfed ruler, may
Ceredigion before his heirs lost it to Hywel through war.
Many pilgrims passed through Cardiganshire on their way to St Davids.
Some came by sea and made use of the churches at
Mwnt and Penbryn,
while others came by land seeking hospitality at such places as Strata
Florida Abbey. Both the abbey and Llanbadarn Fawr were important
monastic sites of scholarship and education. Place names including
ysbyty denote their association with pilgrims.
Edward I of England
Edward I of England conquered the principality of
divided the area into counties. One of thirteen traditional counties
in Wales, Cardiganshire was also a vice-county. Cardiganshire was
split into the five hundreds of Genau'r-Glyn, Ilar, Moyddyn, Penarth
and Troedyraur. In the 18th century there was an evangelical
revival of Christianity, and non-conformism became established in the
county as charismatic preachers like Daniel Rowland of Llangeitho
attracted large congregations. Every community built its own chapel or
meeting house, and Cardiganshire became one of the centres of
Wales with the Aeron Valley being at the centre of the
Cardigan was one of the major ports of southern
Wales until its
harbour silted in the mid-19th century. The Industrial Revolution
passed by, not much affecting the area. In the uplands, wheeled
vehicles were rare in the 18th century, and horses and sleds were
still being used for transport. On the coast, trade in herrings and
corn took place across the Irish Sea. In the 19th century, many of the
rural poor emigrated to the
New World from Cardigan, between five and
six thousand leaving the town between 1790 and 1860. Aberystwyth
became the main centre for the export of lead and
Newquay did brisk coastal trade. The building of the railway from
Shrewsbury in the 1860s encouraged visitors and hotels sprang up in
the town to accommodate them.
This area of the county of
Dyfed became a district of
Wales under the
Ceredigion in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, and
since 1996, has formed the county of Ceredigion. According to the
Ceredigion has the fourth highest proportion of Welsh
speakers in the population at 61%; only Gwynedd, the Isle of Anglesey
Carmarthenshire have a higher proportion.
See also: List of places in Ceredigion
Ceredigion, as shown with traditional boundaries
Cors Caron, near Tregaron
Ceredigion is a coastal county, bordered by
Cardigan Bay to the west,
Gwynedd to the north,
Powys to the east,
Carmarthenshire to the south
Pembrokeshire to the south-west. Its area is 1,795 square
kilometres (693 sq mi). In 2010 the population was
76,938, making it the second most sparsely populated county in
The main settlements are Aberaeron, Aberporth, Aberystwyth, Borth,
Cardigan, Lampeter, Llanarth, Llanddewi Brefi, Llandysul, Llanilar,
Llanrhystud, Llanon, New Quay, and Tregaron. The largest of these are
Aberystwyth and Cardigan.
Cambrian Mountains cover much of the east of the county; this
large area forms part of the desert of Wales. In the south and west,
the surface is less elevated. The highest point is
Pumlumon at 2,467
feet (752 m), other Marilyns include
Pen y Garn
Pen y Garn and Llan Ddu
Fawr. On the slopes of
Pumlumon five rivers have their sources: the
Severn, the Wye, the Dulas, the Llyfnant and the Rheidol, the last of
which meets the
Afon Mynach in a 300 feet (91 m) plunge at the
Devil's Bridge chasm. The largest river is the
River Teifi which forms
the border with
Pembrokeshire for part of its
length. The towns of Lampeter, Llandysul, Newcastle Emlyn and Cardigan
are all in the Teifi Valley, and each has communities on each side of
the river, in different counties. Other significant rivers include the
River Aeron which has its estuary at Aberaeron, and the River Ystwyth
River Rheidol both of which reach the sea in Aberystwyth
Ceredigion's 50 miles (80 km) of coastline has sandy beaches. In
2011 Ceredigion's beaches were awarded five Blue Flag Awards, four
Green Coast Awards, and fourteen Seaside Awards.
Ceredigion is one
of only two places in the United Kingdom with a permanent presence of
bottlenose dolphins. Another member of the fauna is the red kite;
these may be seen in various localities in the county, but at the Red
Kite Feeding Centre near Tregaron, they are fed each day, and large
numbers congregate along with hungry crows and other birds.
Ceredigion had the largest population growth of any county in Wales,
with a 19.5% increase from 1991 to 2003. Tourism and agriculture,
chiefly hill farming, are the most important industries. In addition,
two universities are within the county boundaries: Aberystwyth
University and the
Lampeter campus of the
University of Wales, Trinity
Saint David. The
Welsh Plant Breeding Station is near
linked to the University. The National Library of Wales, founded in
1907, is also in Aberystwyth.
Ceredigion is an extremely rural county;
the largest town, Aberystwyth, has fewer than 15,000 permanent
residents and the remainder of the population of the county is
scattered over 150 small towns, villages and hamlets.
The county has no large commercial areas. The nearest substantial
settlements are located at least 1 hour 45 minutes drive away.
Approximate road distances from Ceredigion's largest town,
Aberystwyth, are: Swansea, 75 miles (121 km) to the south;
Shrewsbury, 76 miles (122 km) to the east, in the English county
of Shropshire; and Wrexham, 82 miles (132 km) to the northeast.
The capital, Cardiff, is over 100 miles (160 km) from most parts
of the county. Although
Gwynedd share a boundary, it is
not possible to travel directly between the two by land as all road
and rail links avoid the Dyfi estuary and pass through Dyfi Junction
Machynlleth in Powys.
Dylan Thomas lived in
New Quay and Talsarn and frequented Aberaeron
and Lampeter. The
Dylan Thomas Trail runs through part of the county,
linking the places associated with the poet. The
Path from Cardigan to
Ynyslas is about 60 miles (97 km) following
the coastline and has some spectacular scenery. It can conveniently be
divided into seven sections.
Between 1888 and 1974, the county was governed by Cardiganshire County
Council, which took over the functions of county administration from
Quarter Sessions court in 1889. The county was abolished in
1974 by the
Local Government Act 1972
Local Government Act 1972 — and it was succeeded by the
Ceredigion in the new county of Dyfed. This district
became a unitary authority on 1 April 1996 under the name of
Cardiganshire; to change its name back to
Ceredigion the following
day. It has, apart from minor realignments, identical borders to the
A referendum was held on 20 May 2004 on whether to have a directly
elected mayor for the county, the first in Wales. The Llais Ceredigion
political initiative had been formed with this aim but the
proposal was rejected.
Hill farm at Cwm Brefi
Farming has traditionally been the basis of Cardiganshire's economy,
with dairying and stock-rearing being the main occupations. Before the
first railway was built in 1866, the stock used to be herded over the
mountains to England, where Rugby,
Northampton and London were
important destinations. At one time there was a sizeable mining
industry in Cardiganshire, but the reserves of lead, silver and zinc
became unprofitable to mine by the early part of the twentieth
century. Shipping was also important in the county, with coal and lime
being imported in coastal vessels, and mineral ores and oak bark for
tanning being exported.
Shipbuilding was an important industry with
most of Wales' sailing vessels being built in Cardiganshire.
Cardiganshire had a substantial population in the early modern period
but this declined during the nineteenth century as wider social and
economic developments affected all aspects of Cardiganshire life.
Traditional industries were in decline, agriculture was in decline and
it was becoming increasingly difficult for a still-rising population
to earn a living within their native parishes and communities. By the
first half of the twentieth century, falling livestock prices and
greater world competition made farming unprofitable and many residents
of Cardiganshire moved to other parts of South Wales, where there were
better employment opportunities, and many more emigrated to the United
States, Canada, Patagonia and Australia. Another factor was that
the owners of the great landed estates, who had for so long dominated
the politics of the county, were in many cases heavily in debt. This
second factor contributed to the loss of landowner influence in the
running of the county, a trend that became very apparent at the first
elections to the Cardiganshire
County Council in 1889.
Caravan park near the beach at Clarach Bay
By the second half of the twentieth century, the declining population
trend had gone into reverse. Increasing numbers of retired people were
arriving to make their home in the tranquil surroundings, and after
the Beacham Commission in the 1960s, the British government realised
that the rural way of life in parts of
Wales was in crisis, and
started to react. Through government initiatives and local actions,
opportunities in tourism, rural crafts, specialist food shops,
farmers' markets and added-value food products began to emerge.
However, in 2011, at 3.1%,
Ceredigion still had one of the highest
proportions of its population working in agriculture, forestry and
fishing, close behind such other places as
Orkney and Shetland.
Another use for marginal land in exposed positions is the provision of
renewable wind energy;
Cefn Croes Wind Farm near Devil's Bridge has 39
turbines and a nominal capacity of 58,500 kW.
Farm incomes have been in decline over the years and, as well as being
a European Objective I area, in 2001
Ceredigion was designated a
regional "Tourist growth area" by the
Wales Tourist Board. There
is little industry other than farming, so tourism plays an important
part in the county's economy. Visitors stay in hotels, guest houses
and homes offering bed-and-breakfast, self-catering cottages, caravans
and camp sites, spending money in local shops, dine in local
establishments and visit the county's many attractions. Ceredigion
prides itself on offering an unspoilt natural landscape, and
Aberystwyth lays claim to being the capital of Welsh culture.
Sport and leisure
The main football team in the county is
Aberystwyth Town F.C. which
plays in the Welsh Premier League, its home matches being at the Park
Avenue ground in the town. It has yet to come higher than third in the
League but won the
Welsh Cup in 1899/1900 and the Welsh Amateur Cup in
1930/31, 1932/33 and 1969/70. Cardigan Town Football Club, also
known as the "Magpies", play in Division 1 of the
which they won in 1968/69, 1995/96, 1999/2000, 2000/01 and
Leisure activities available in the county include beach activities,
rambling, cycling, sea fishing, canoeing, sailing and horse riding.
Many of the towns and villages along the coast have small harbours and
facilities for sailing, dolphin watching and other maritime
River Teifi is a renowned salmon fishing river and
also has a series of rapids near
Llandysul where canoeing, kayaking
and white water rafting take place.
National Library of Wales
The county is rich in archaeological remains such as forts, earthworks
and standing stones. Historic sites that can be accessed include
Aberystwyth Castle and Cardigan Castle, as well as Strata
Other visitor attractions include the
Cwmystwyth Mines, Devil's
Bridge, the Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre,
Cors Caron (
Tregaron bog), the Vale of Rheidol
Aberystwyth Cliff Railway.
The National Library of Wales is at
Aberystwyth and there is
information on local history at the
Ceredigion Museum, also in
Aberystwyth. There is also the technical museum Internal Fire –
Museum of Power, which is at
Tan-y-groes near the coast road.
Stately homes in the county open to the public include the Hafod
Estate and Llanerchaeron.
UAV at West
Cambrian Line provides mainline railway services between
Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury, where passengers can join services for
London and elsewhere. Passengers can change at Dovey Junction railway
station for trains to Pwllheli. There are no motorways in
Ceredigion. The A487 coast road links Cardigan with Aberystwyth,
passing close to Newquay and through Aberaeron, and the A44 goes
Aberystwyth to Rhayader,
Leominster and Worcester.
There are local bus services between the main centres of
population, and long distance services between
Cardiff. A bus service known as "Bwcabus" operates in the south of the
county offering customised transport for rural dwellers.
There are no commercial airports but the West
Wales Airport near the
Aberporth is licensed for the deployment of civil and
military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)s and is used for flying and
testing these drones. There are no ports or ferry termini in the
county but several of the coastal towns have facilities for yachts and
List of Lord Lieutenants of Cardiganshire
List of Custodes Rotulorum of Cardiganshire
List of High Sheriffs of Cardiganshire
List of schools in Ceredigion
List of MPs for the
Ceredigion (formerly Cardiganshire) constituency
Centre points of the United Kingdom
Cuisine of Ceredigion
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ceredigion.
Llandre (Llanfihangel Genau'r Glyn)
Troed y Rhiw
Wales Trinity Saint David
Ynys Aberteifi (Cardigan Island)
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings
Local government districts of
Alyn and Deeside
Ynys Môn - Isle of Anglesey
Vale of Glamorgan
Principal areas of Wales
Neath Port Talbot
Rhondda Cynon Taf
Vale of Glamorgan
Historic counties of Wales
Coordinates: 52°15′10″N 4°00′01″W / 52.25278°N