5. Tregaron

 

Tregaron has long been a frontier town between green pastures and rolling hills to the West, and the sparse landscape of the Cambrian Mountains to the East. It still has the atmosphere of a stopping place on the edge of the wilderness.

Before the 1866/67 opening of the railway line linking Tregaron with Carmarthen and Aberystwyth (running across Cors Caron on a raised bed of wool and wooden faggots), the town was an important stop and centre for cattle droving. As a place through which many travellers would pass, it had, during the 19 th century, a significant supplementary economy in knit-ware, which could be sold to drovers for their own use, or often to be sold again in markets in England.

A list of the trades carried on in Tregaron in 1839 gives an idea of other aspects of the village life and economy: saddlers, glovers, weavers, tanners, bookbinders, brewers, hosiers, hatters, butchers, and bootmakers.

The town had one of the first Welsh banks, which was established at the beginning of the 19 th century and locally known as Banc y Ddafad Ddu (Bank of the Black Sheep) due to the sheep designs on its banknotes.

In the town square stands a monument to Henry Richard (1812 – 1888) of Tregaron, MP to Merthyr Tydfil and secretary to the Peace Society (1848 -1884). He was son of the rev. Ebenezer Richard who preached widely and established the Calvinistic Methodist chapel at Soar y Mynydd.

The Talbot Hotel dating from the 13 th century and situated on the main square is locally known for its live music events (see www.cambriaarts.org.uk for information on these).

The Rhiannon Craft and Welsh Gold Centre stands opposite the Talbot Hotel, and has a wide range of jewellery, pottery, weaving, and other craft products. The same building houses the Cambrian Arts Gallery, and a café that has both indoor and outdoor seating. (www.rhiannon.co.uk)

On the edge of the village heading out on the Llanddewi Brefi road, Tregaron Red Kite Centre has information on local history and wildlife (including information about the bog). It is open weekends from October to Easter, and in summer everyday from 10:30am to 4:30pm. (Tel. 01974 298977 during opening hours, 01974 298340 outside of these).

Walks

1) An 8 km (5 mile) walk, taking approximately 2 ½ hours begins from the Talbot Hotel on the main square. After crossing the bridge over the Brennig and turning right, the first section of the walk is out of the village along the B4343 heading north. After turning east off the road (see A on map) the path rises and makes a loop which eventually returns to the B4343, after passing vantage points with views over Cors Caron below.

Use of a map is recommended: OS landranger 146 (Lampeter and Llandovery), and 990, SN 65/75 (Tregaron and Llanddewi-Brefi).

Also see: Pathfinder Guide: Mid-Wales and the Marches Walks, compiled by Laurence Main (Norwich: Jorrold Publishing, 1995)

2) It is also possible to walk from Tregaron to Llanddewi-Brefi, starting from just behind the Talbot Hotel, where the beginning of the path is sign-posted (B on map). The route rises into the hills to the South of Tregaron mainly on small tracks and is approximately 7km (4miles).

Map: OS Explorer 199 (Lampeter, Tregaron and Llannon), and Pathfinder 990, SN 65/75 (Tregaron and Llanddewi-Brefi).

Tregaron grid ref. SN 679597

Getting There:

Bus: 585 and 588 services (Lampeter to Aberystwyth via Tregaron)

For a list of Ceredigion Bus timetables see: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=483

Parking: Car parks in front of Talbot Hotel in the town square, and 50m beyond the square and on the right, on the road sign-posted to Soar y Mynydd.

Facilities : shops, pubs, cafes, leisure centre, bank, toilets

Richard J. Colyer, The Teifi: Scenery and Antiquities of a Welsh River (Llandysul: Gomer Press, 1987)