On the road between Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn, the village of Cenarth is famous for its wondrous low-rise cascade on a wide stretch of the Teifi River just upstream of the ancient road bridge. The falls form the first significant barrier on the River Teifi encountered by salmon and migratory sea trout (sewin in Welsh) on their return to this river in the autumn.
The dominant feature of the village is the bridge. Built in 1787 it features a series of circular holes which maintain strength while reducing the weight of the structure.
There is a good choice of cafés and pubs in the centre of the village, including the Thatched Coffee House and Tŷ Te Tea Rooms, The Three Horseshoes and The White Hart. Local crafts and gifts can be purchased at The Old Smithy and Salmon Leap.
Cenarth has a 17th Century flour mill, in the grounds of which you’ll find the Coracle Museum: a display showing how coracles are made and used with examples of coracles from around the world. Coracles were once used all over Britain, but their use only continues today in a very few locations, making Cenarth a very special site.
Coracles can also be seen on the Tywi and the Tâf 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. They 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. The glory of the coracle is that it only weighs between 25 and 40 pounds and can easily be carried on the shoulders of the coracle man, who would commonly walk five or ten miles upstream before drifting back down with the current.
After spending their early life in rivers, salmon swim out to sea and concentrate on gaining most of their body mass. When they have matured, they return to the gravel beds in the upper reaches of the river of their birth to spawn.
The fish tend to take advantage of recent rainfall to assist their journey as they need a certain depth of water to swim comfortably upriver; the amount of rain has to be just optimal as they will find it very difficult to negotiate the falls if there has been excessive rain or if the falls are reduced to a trickle by a dry spell.
The less well-known Henllan Falls a few miles upstream from Cenarth provides similar opportunities to watch this fish migration.
Things to Do
Coracles Health and Country Club has first class facilities including an indoor heated swimming pool, gym, jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms. It is situated on a holiday park, which is open to non-residents.
You can also take a short trip to an organic farm which produces the award winning Caws Cenarth Cheese. Watch the cheese-making process and taste the various mouth-watering flavours before making your purchase.
See more things to do in Cardigan Bay.
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