8. Llanbedr Pont Steffan (Lampeter): Town and University
The Teifi at Lampeter is a mature river and meanders through a broad flood plain. It is joined at the town’s bridge by a sizable tributary, the Dulas, which joins the Teifi from the North after passing through the grounds of the university. Lampeter itself is raised slightly above the flood plain to the south, being built upon sediments that accumulated at the entrance of the Dulas valley as a result of glacial activity.
The town is somewhat of an anomaly in the area: the presence of a university here since 1827 (now one of those comprising The University of Wales) has added an interesting influence to this long-time centre for local trade. The town lies on the northern side of the Teifi, which is bridged here by the Bridge of Stephen (Pont Steffan). The present St. Peter’s church (Llanbedr), whose name provides the other half of the town’s, dates from 1870, although there has been a church here since at least the late 13 th century. There is a small exhibition on Lampeter’s history in the town library, where the town’s original royal charter is on display.
Although the remains of two 12 th century castles in this area provide evidence of Norman occupation, the origins of Lampeter as an urban settlement are probably in native economic activity. The town was granted market rights in 1285 by Edward I, but really began a period of expansion only in the mid 19 th century by which time St. David’s college had established Lampeter as an important place of education.
The town holds an annual agricultural show and a summer food festival. It has many shops, cafes and pubs, which cater for the local and student population.
Lampeter is also preparing itself for the task of becoming a “transition town”, which will mean instigating local policy for a change in social practices that currently rely on high energy consumption. It may therefore soon be a forerunner and example of local level initiative in responding to the problems posed by a national and international economy so heavily based on the use of oil.
See: www.lampeter.org for more detail on the activities, history and businesses of Lampeter.
1) The town has a short heritage trail with information boards marking the important buildings and monuments around Lampeter. For an overview of the trail, begin at the board at the Rookery car park (see map) next to the schools.
2) There are a number of walks of varying length that skirt the Teifi. The paths cross fields with livestock, following the meanders of the river, and cut back towards the town at different points. The entrances to the riverside path are at the southern end of the town just off New Street (see A on map), next to the sewage works (B) and at the edge of the town on the Llanwnnen road (C). There are routes from 2 ½ km (1 ½ miles) in length, to longer ones (10 ½ km, 6 ½ miles) taking in more of the river and leaving it further downstream at Pentrebach (then returning – making a loop via back roads – to Lampeter).
The best guide to these and other walks in the area, including routes passing the sites of the Iron Age forts – Castell Allt-goch and Castell Goetre – just outside the town, is that compiled by the Rambler’s Association Lampeter Group, Lampeter Walks (Llandysul: Gomer Press, 2002).
See www.lampeter.org/english/walks/index.html for details.
Dolaucothi Gold Mines, Pumpsaint:
Silian Church: housing 5th – 9th century inscribed Christian stones.
Lampeter grid ref.: SN575482
Buses: The Traws Cambria X40 service is the most useful bus link to Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, or Cardiff. For a list of Ceredigion Bus timetables see: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=483
Parking: Rookery car park, next to the schools (red shading on map)
Facilities: Library (public toilets adjacent), shops, pubs, cafes, leisure centre.