New Quay to Llangrannog

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  • Location: New Quay to Llangrannog
  • Distance: 9.5 miles
  • Description of this walk: Hidden coves, dolphin spotting and prehistoric rock strata on this coastal walk.
  • BBC Disclaimer: The Weatherman Walking maps are intended as a guide to the TV programme only. Routes and conditions may have changed since the programme was made. The BBC takes no responsibility for any accident or injury that may occur while following the route. Always wear appropriate clothing and footwear and check weather conditions before heading out.
  • Download the map of this walk: Print off and follow in Derek's footsteps (PDF 1.01MB)

We began the walk at New Quay Harbour Wall - a great place to start a walk.

Harbour Wall

The curled arm of the wall extends out into sea giving you lots of opportunities to look back at New Quay, watch the boats and maybe spot some dolphins.

From here, follow the coastal path signs and head up through the town to the high cliff path. If you follow your nose you'll soon find the right route, as the path starts off high above a local fish processing plant.

At the top of the path look back for a stunning view of the harbour (and try and imagine how it looked 200 years ago when the West Walian ship building industry was thriving and this place was nicknamed 'the Welsh Clydesdale'.

Bird Rock and Dolphin Watch station

Craig Yr Adar - A really important site for sea birds and other wildlife this is an early treat on the walk.

The great grey slab of flat rock provides a good place for birds to perch and they are far enough down to feel safe so they don't fly off or spook easily.

Speaking of the drop below, it's worth noting that this is a potentially risky place to walk so don't go too near the edge.

There have been fatalities on this route and there are signs all over warning people to keep well away from the cliff side.

In fact the council provide an alternative, safer route here, if walkers are scared of heights or are afraid of dizzying drops.

For a safer wildlife watching experience you may want to carry on for another 100 yards and take a seat inside the old Coast Guard hut, now a look out post for the volunteers of Dolphin Watch.

If nothing else it makes for a dry place to eat your sandwiches if the weather turns nasty! You'll also be a very unlucky walker if you don't spot a dolphin at some point on the walk.

Traeth Soden and Cwm Soden

The first of two 'walkers only' beaches - that is a beach that can only be reached on foot. This is one of the many smugglers coves on the route and is a good spot for fishing.

It's also an important site for the endangered Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly, which thrives on the dog violets that grow on the slopes here

There's also a chance to get up close and personal with some of the spectacular folded rocks that occur on this coastline.

But before you get too excited, there are even bigger and better rock formations just a further mile away at the next walkers' only cove.

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Castell Bach

Before you rush down to beach, pause for a moment and take in the strange semi circular trench that guards the descent down to the sea.

These are the remains of an Iron Age fort which at one time was a huge circular construction that would have extended to the pinnacle of one of the isolated peaks that rise out of the surf to your right.

Over time the sea has eroded the cliffs and eaten into the ground, the fort was built on - collapsing the land and washing it away.

What's left behind now is a stunning example of the forces of nature at work on the coastline here.

Similarly spectacular are the huge buckled boulders and rock walls that run below the fort on the beach itself.

Hit this spot at the right time of day, with the tide out and the beach deserted and you're in for an evocative experience.

Cwmtydu

At last a beach you can drive too! And at the 4 mile mark, it's a good place to break up the route and return back to the harbour if the full 9 mile walk doesn't appeal to you.

A former lime loading harbour (there's a preserved kiln here near the car park) this is a great place to go seal watching but check the months of the year for access as sometimes dogs are discouraged to keep the seal pups safe and stress free.

The track leading to the Urdd Centre

Looking down from the top of the cliffs towards the iconic finger of land that is the Ynys Lochtyn peninsula you'll spot the terrifying slalom slope downwards, that is the next mile of the route.

The path has been cut into the slopes of the cliff and while it promises some vertigo inducing walking it's actually fairly tame once you're on it, so be brave.

This stretch was the most recently completed section of the Coastal Path and links the Cwmtyddu part of the walk with the Urrdd Centre above Llangrannog.

The centre's dry ski slope is the most visible part of the camp site as you wander by.

Ynys Lochtyn

A spectacular slice of coastal geography, there is a hidden beach here you can walk down to and some beautiful veins of quartz on the tidal island at the tip of the finger stretch of land.

Our guide's advice however is just to look at the island from the tip of the peninsula and not try to clamber onto it.

You should also mind your step near the edges of the peninsula, as it can be dangerous.

As you continue to wander (safely) around Ynys Lochtyn, you'll be following in the footsteps of some famous visitors who were suitably inspired by these surroundings. Lloyd George apparently enjoyed walking here from Llangrannog and found it very relaxing.

The area also has a reputation for producing poets, while the composer Edward Elgar was another famous name who left here with his heart stirred - his "Works For String Orchestra" benefiting from some Ceredigion inspired creativity.

Bird watchers meanwhile may want to keep an eye out for the red legged choughs that occasionally fly past.

Llangrannog

The end of the walk and another cracking beach with the great rock Carreg Bicca guarding the entrance to the bay here (legend has it that it is the remains of an aching tooth ripped from the mouth of the giant Bicca and flung into the ocean).

It's also a good spot for sea kayaking as well as sun bathing and paddling and with the Ship Inn tucked in just behind the sea wall, it's also a good place to grab some well earned refreshment.

Finally Llangrannog, like Cwmtyddu and New Quay, is a stop on the Cardi Bach bus route which allows walkers to head back to the start rather than retracing all 9 miles of the route.

Julian Carey - Producer, Weatherman Walking


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