Newcastle Emlyn (Castell Newydd Emlyn) is really two communities divided by the River Teifi. To the north is Adpar in Ceredigion and on the southern bank is Newcastle Emlyn in Carmarthenshire. Together they form a small community which originally grew up around a river crossing.
There is a very lively community feel to the town. In the 18th and 19th centuries the livestock market was in its heyday, and it was a significant part of the drovers' network, being a collection point for hogs and hardy Welsh Black Cattle which were sent all over the country. Although much diminished now, the town still bustles with the sound of livestock trailers and sheep bleating on market days.
The ruined 13th-century castle, first mentioned in Brut y Tywysogion in 1215, when it was seized by Llywelyn the Great, sits on an idyllic site, overlooking a loop in the River Teifi. There are remnants of some of the walls and the ruins of the gate. It is significant as the only native Welsh castle to have its original structure built in stone in this part of Wales.
The recently installed dragon gates at the castle are inspired by the legend which tells that the last Dragon in Wales was killed there. During a town fair, a Wyvern (winged creature), landed on the castle wall and fell asleep. A soldier approached the dragon from the river, spreading a large shawl on the water. The dragon awoke, flew to the river to grab the shawl but was speared by the soldier and drowned.
Every year in early July, there's a Dragon Festival held in the town with magical events to entertain adults and children alike.
The Town Today
The market hall with its ornate clock tower is a notable building and there are several listed buildings in and around the main street.
There is an eclectic mix of shops including traditional and long established butchers and bakers. Local, organic wholefoods can be found in Riverside Health (with great café) just across the river and the Carrot Cruncher in Sycamore Street.
Art and craft from the area is well represented in a selection of craft and gift shops and a well-stocked art materials shop. Two antique centres can be found near the livestock market.
Food and drink to suit most tastes can be found in a number of pubs, restaurants and cafes. Gwesty'r Emlyn Hotel, in the centre of town, is a former coaching inn, over 300 years old. Pachamama offers a wide range of snacks and meals including Thai and Asian dishes. Harrison’s in Sycamore street is a popular café and there are plenty more to choose from.
Outside the Town
Just outside the town in the picturesque village of Drefach Felindre is the National Wool Museum. It was once the centre of a thriving woollen industry, earning it the nickname 'The Huddersfield of Wales'. Woollen items made here were sold all over the world. Now the restored listed mill buildings house historic machinery and exhibitions featuring all aspects of wool production. A raised walkway provides a view of textiles in production at Melin Teifi, the site's commercial woollen mill.
Nearby at Henllan is the Teifi Valley Railway, a 2ft (610mm) narrow gauge railway operating between Llandysul and Newcastle Emlyn along the river valley. It has two miles of track and runs a regular service that is very popular.
Our favourite things to do in the Newcastle Emlyn area
The West Wales Museum of Childhood, take a trip down memory lane
Performances by the Attic Players in a theatre above the market hall
Visit the Diane Mathias Fine Art Studio in nearby Henllan
Wander round the antique and local craft shops
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