20. Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve
The Welsh Wildlife Centre is situated in the Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve, between Cardigan and Cilgerran. The main visitor building with its striking wood and glass exterior was constructed in 1993 and contains a permanent and bi-lingual exhibition on the geology and history of the Teifi river. The centre also houses the Glasshouse Café (serving meals made from local and organic produce) and a gift shop. The centre is open on a seasonal basis.
Visitor centre opening times: April 2 nd – November 4 th ( 10:30am to 5pm)
November 5 th – December 21 st ( 11am to 4pm)
For more information visit: www.welshwildlife.org/wwcIntro_en.link
Telephone: 01239 621600
Nearby: Heritage Canoes
Tel. 01239 613961
The Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve extends downstream from the Wildlife Centre to Cardigan. It contains large expanses of Common Reed (the second largest in Wales) within which there are several bird hides for observing the diverse range of wildlife here. The hides offer views of different kinds of bird habitat, and there is the chance to see birds of prey (such as Buzzard and Sparrowhawk), smaller resident and migrant birds (varieties of Finch, Warbler, Tit, and Starling), and fishing and wading birds in the estuary (Heron, Cormorant, Gull, and others).
Larger residents of the reserve include otters, Red Deer, foxes, badgers, and the (seemingly unlikely) Water Buffalo, which have been introduced to keep the shallow pools clear of vegetation to help the insect and amphibian life there.
The reserve is divided into four main walking trails, which are either loops or form sections of loops.
1) Closest to Cardigan is the Otter Trail: partly boardwalk passing through the dense reed growth and partly following the path of the old railway line, this trail forms a circuit that can be begun from the Cardigan end of the marshes or from the car park in the reserve (reached from the Cilgerran road). It is around 3km (2 miles) long. Only the eastern section along the former railway line is suitable for wheelchairs. A guide to the wildlife that might be seen on the trail is available for 30p from the Wildlife Centre.
2) The Gorge Trail leads up the Teifi towards Cilgerran. It can be used as one side of the “forest hill circuit” (a short guide to this walk is available from the Wildlife Centre for 30p) and can be linked at its south end (by way of a public footpath) with the Squirrel Trail, which returns to the Wildlife Centre through woodland. The Gorge Trail passes six slate quarries next to the Teifi, the debris from which significantly changed the channel during the 19 th century making it narrower and shallower (and hence treacherous for boats). The circuit takes in riverside habitats in the shady and quiet gorge, as well as forest habitats in which Red Deer and many species of bird, smaller mammals, and wildflowers live. The loop is around 4km (2 ½ miles) long,
3) The Gorge Trail also forms part of the Cardigan to Cilgerran walk. The path continues further up the Teifi from the Gorge Trail and takes about 2 hours (4 hours return) and is 7 ½ km (4 ½ miles) each way. Details of the walk can be found in the Walking the Teifi Estuary booklet available from the tourist information office in Cardigan, or can be downloaded at:
OS Map: Explorer 198 (Cardigan and New Quay)
Wildlife Centre grid ref.: SN186452
Getting there: car access to the reserve is by a small road from the south starting just outside Cilgerran.
Bus: Cardigan routes, X50 (Cardigan to Aberystwyth), and route 412 (Cardigan to Haverfordwest). Walk from Cardigan.
Parking: Pay and display car park near visitor centre.
There are information boards along the trails, and toilets, a shop, café, and exhibition in the Wildlife Centre (note seasonal opening).