Cilgerran is a strategic point for the presence of a fortification: it is both the tidal limit of the Teifi and therefore a point from which to control sea-going ships, and a natural crossing place over the river. The existing castle building was built in the 13 th century, but there was a fortification here in the 12 th century and perhaps even earlier. Two massive towers protect the inner ward of the castle, which saw various additions to its structure during the 13 th and 14 th century before ceasing to be of military importance in the early 15 th century – its last major event being attack and perhaps occupation in 1405 during Owain Glyndwr’s wars of independence.
On the opposite side of the gorge the Coedmore mansion, built by the once locally powerful Lloyd family, stands grandly over the Teifi.
Castle managed by CADW http://www.cadw.wales.gov.uk
Tel. 01239 621339
Opening times and prices:
1 Apr – 31 Oct (9:30am – 6pm)
1 Nov – 31 Mar (9:30am – 4pm)
The castle is a wheelchair friendly site
The gorge here was formed, like the other gorges along the river, by the erosive force of sub-glacial streams towards the end of the last Ice Age. There is something sublime in the gorge’s depth and river’s force here, which make this a fascinating place to visit.
There was an important slate industry at Cilgerran, and a short rail link to Cardigan for the stone’s exportation. Limestone could be brought back for local agriculture on the return journey. A small information centre next to the river has photographs and descriptions of the quarrying and other industry at Cilgerran. It can be reached by car or from the footpath that descend into the gorge from the castle.
Public footpaths extend in both directions along the gorge from Cilgerran. It is approximately 3km (2 miles) upstream to Llechryd, and the roughly the same distance downstream to the Wildlife Centre in the Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve. From the latter, the walk can be extended for another 1 ½ km (1 mile) to reach Cardigan, passing by way of the old railway line (part of the nature reserve’s Otter Trail).
Cilgerran Castle grid ref.: SN195432
Bus: The 430 service (Narberth to Cardigan) runs via Cilgerran. To and from Cardigan, see routes 412 (Cardigan-Haverfordwest), and X50 (Cardigan-Aberystwyth). For times see:www.ceredigion.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=483
Parking: Free parking near castle.
Facilities: The village has pubs, a restaurant and shops.
Sian Rees, A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales (London: HMSO, 1992)