Cenarth and the Falls on the River Teifi
Cenarth is a charming little community straddling the river Teifi between
Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn. Here, the River Teifi has made its way through the
hard rocks to produce a spectacular series of waterfalls. There has been a Mill
at Cenarth at least since the 13th century when Cenarth Mill came into the
possession of Edward I when he became Lord of the Manor of Cenarth. There is
evidence of another mill that was possibly destroyed during Glyndwr's campaigns
in the early 1400s.
The Teifi has always been famous for its Salmon, and it is recorded that over one hundred Salmon have been taken in a single morning as they attempted to leap the falls on their way up river to spawn.
Under the bridge
The dominant feature of the village is the bridge. Built in 1787 and designed by William Edwards and his son David, the bridge features a series of circular holes that serve to maintain strength while reducing the weight of the structure. Edwards devised this architectural solution after his original bridge at Pontypridd collapsed as its footing could not support the weight of the bridge. He rebuilt the bridge at Pontypridd with his trademark circular holes where it still stands today. When it was built, the bridge at Pontypridd was the longest single span bridge in the world.
Hole in the Bridge
Coracle men, Cenarth 1925
Teifi below the bridge
Coracles were once used all over Britain, but their use only
continues today in a very few locations, of which Cenarth is one. They can be
seen on the Teifi, the Towy and the Taf where they are used for net fishing, the
net being held between two coracles which drift down with the current, taking a
Salmon or Sewin during the open season. The Coracle Museum at Cenarth has a
display showing how coracles are made and used with examples of coracles from
around the world.
The coracles are traditionally made of strips or laths of Willow or Ash which are then covered with calico or canvas which has been impregnated with pitch and tar or, in recent years, bitumastic paint. Coracles weigh between 25 and 40 pounds and can be carried on the shoulders of the coracle man. Fishermen would commonly walk five or ten miles upstream miles before drifting back down with the current.
Leap and Water Mill
Teifi Pool at Cenarth
Rapids above the Falls
Cenarth is a half hour's drive from New Quay. We
recommend a triangular route ( day or half day trip ) visiting three towns,
starting with a visit to the pretty market town of Newcastle Emlyn . The road
then runs along the Teifi Valley to Cenarth. From Cenarth you can continue along
the A484 to Cardigan where there is a good selection of shops, pubs and
restaurants. Return to New Quay on the A 487.