The Aeron Valley (Cwm Aeron) in Ceredigion Mid Wales is a verdant gentle valley reaching from Llangeitho to Aberaeron on Cardigan Bay. The Aeron River (Afon Aeron) has its source in Llyn Eiddwen near Trefenter in the range of hills called Mynydd Bach. It then flows south for a while before broadening out at Llangeitho and beginning to change direction, following a north-west course from Felinfach, through Ystrad Aeron and Ciliau Aeron to the sea at Aberaeron. The broad river valley is flanked by low hills; the banks are thickly wooded in places whilst farmland is the predominant feature of the area.
At the mouth of the river, the beautifully designed Georgian town of Aberaeron with colourful houses and pretty harbour offers attractions in the form of several shops, a coffee house, La Cuccina, with some of the best cakes and pastries in the area; a large fish and chip restaurant, ice creams and local fish dishes at The Hive; and a posh restaurant, the Harbour Master.
The most prominent attraction of the Aeron Valley is the restored 18th Century estate of Llanerchaeron, now owned by the National Trust. The charming manor house designed by John Nash is open for viewing and of special interest is the service courtyard where dairy, laundry, brewery and salting house all contributed to the self-sufficiency of this minor gentry estate.
The estate now has a working organic farm with Welsh Black cattle, Llanwenog sheep and rare Welsh pigs. There is an ornamental lake as well as a delightful walled garden complete with mature orchard. Plants and produce are sold here in season.
Walk or Cycle by the River
Between Llanerchaeron and Aberaeron, a disused railway line has been made into a walking/cycling trail and is good for pushchairs. From the centre of town, find the Welsh Cob statue in the south-west corner of Alban Square. Turn right onto the A482 and then left onto Bro Allt-y-Graig, just before the bridge. On the right at the end of the row of houses is the track, which takes you close to the river and through gorgeous woodland.
At the point where the river starts to alter its course towards the west, sits Llangeitho, a village destined to be at the centre of the 18th Century Methodist Revival due to being the birthplace of one of its leaders, Daniel Rowland. A memorial column to this famous curate was erected after his death in 1790.
The original chapel was built in 1760 and became popular with people from other parts of Wales, many of whom visited it to hear the preaching and receive the sacrament.
The same century saw many periods of religious revival, but 1762 was the most notable, with much rejoicing and jumping for joy, following which Welsh Methodists became known as ‘jumpers’.
Llangeitho has a small, family run pub called The Three Horse Shoe; it serves homemade food and real ale and has a large garden.
Dylan Thomas Connection
The family of a close childhood friend of Dylan Thomas rented a mansion called Plas y Gelli at Talsarn during the Second World War, and Dylan joined them there with his wife, Caitlin.
He once described the valley as ‘the most precious place in the world’, claiming that his daughter, Aeronwy, was conceived on the banks of the river Aeron, and therefore named after it.
During his time here, Dylan was inspired to write Country Sleep and A Winter’s Tale. Now you can follow the Dylan Thomas Trail from Talsarn to Aberaeron.
There are walks suggested in the 'Paths for People' booklet available from Tourist Information Centres.
Dylan used to travel from London on the train (the railway line is now a walking route between Aberaeron and Lampeter). Dylan and Caitlin would walk across the fields from Gelli to enjoy the beer and talk in the pubs at Ystrad Aeron. Dylan also went up the valley to Llangeitho.
The Aeron valley was the home of other poets, one of whom was Dan Jenkins of Pentrefelin farm. It is said that Caitlin borrowed ponies from him.
Another famous poet, T S Eliot, came to the Aeron valley in the 1930s to stay with the publisher Geoffrey Faber at Tyglyn Aeron mansion. Eliot was an admirer of Dylan and published some of his work in the Criterion magazine of which he was editor.
Villages with Pubs
Upstream from Llanerchaeron, there are various hamlets and villages. Cilcennin, about a mile north of the valley, has a pub called The Commercial Inn.
Felinfach has a post office/shop and filling station with a large Londis store. Its pub, the Vale of Aeron, is at the west end of the village. Theatr Felinfach, built in 1972, is a major centre of Welsh culture and language and is one of only a small number of theatres which hosts productions primarily in Welsh. Just along the road, The Fronfelen Arms at Temple Bar is another pub in the area
See more things to do in Cardigan Bay.
Looking for somewhere to stay in the Aeron Valley?