The sandy beach at Patch (near Gwbert) is the nearest beach to Cardigan town and is south-west facing. The tide around this rugged part of the coast can drastically change giving it a great reputation for sailing, sea-fishing and extreme sports.
Cardigan Bay – the coast of Ceredigion
The Ceredigion coast has golden sands, award winning beaches, cliffs, coves and caves, tiny ports and harbours and a rollicking seafaring history to discover. The coastal Special Areas of Conservation are havens for wildlife which you can enjoy with a wildlife spotting boat trip. Enjoy fresh air on a coastal walk, or have a go at a range of watersports.
Ceredigion beaches and holiday resorts
Ceredigion’s best beaches and sandy coves are award-winning beaches with coveted Blue Flags and Green Coast awards. The most popular bathing beaches are patrolled by RNLI lifeguards during the summer months.
Walking the Ceredigion coast
As a key part of the Wales Coast Path, the spectacular shores along the Ceredigion coast path stretch some 60 miles around the magnificent sweep of Cardigan Bay. The landscape and scenery is varied, ranging from coastal cliffs, wooded and flower covered slopes to pebble beaches, hidden coves and waterfalls and sandy stretches backed by dunes and wildlife rich marshes. Much of this landscape is protected, including sites managed by the National Trust and local Wildlife Trusts.
The outstanding beauty of Cardigan Bay was acknowledged when it became the UK’s first designated Marine Heritage Coast some 25 years ago.
Ceredigion’s coastal wildlife
Two areas of the coast of Ceredigion have been designated Special Areas of Conservation. Discover what makes these areas so special at the Cardigan Bay Boat Place in New Quay – there are guided walks and fun beach activities led by the warden every weekend from May onwards.
A choice of Wildlife spotting boat trips are available from New Quay from around Easter to late autumn and from Cardigan throughout the year. A boat trip is the best way to enjoy safe views of bottlenose dolphins, porpoises, seals, coastal birds and sea caves.
Or take a walk along the coast path – there are great vantage points where you can look out for dolphins and seabirds at Mwnt, Aberporth, Llangrannog and New Quay.
Ceredigion is a great place to try out watersports, whether you want to challenge yourself with a new sport, or enjoy having fun with the whole family. Ceredigion locals love the Cardigan Bay surf which can be both gentle and challenging, depending on the beach, tides and weather conditions.
Ceredigion has a tradition of boatbuilding and there are sailing clubs at each of our harbour towns, and regattas to watch and take part in, starting with New Quay’s ‘Frostbite’ series in February.
Celtic rowing is also a popular sport, with seven clubs regularly competing, and taking on Irish rowers every two years in the 90 mile Celtic Challege across the Irish Sea between Arklow in Ireland and Aberystwyth.
If you take out your own boat to explore the Ceredigion coastline, please check weather and tides and adhere to the Ceredigion Marine Code of Conduct drawn up to protect the wildlife.
The whole length of the Teifi river and its tributaries have been designated as a Special Area of Conservation. The Teifi marshes on the river’s estuary are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and has one of the largest expanses of common reed which can be easily explored along a boardwalk. The nature reserve is managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, and has a purpose built centre where you can learn more about the reserve and its population of kingfisher, herons, otters and even a herd of water buffalo, which are used to keep pools free of vegetation so that amphibians and insects can also thrive.
The largest area of saltmarsh in Ceredigion lies along the Dyfi estuary at Ynyslas and Ynyshir. ‘Ynys’ means ‘island’, here coupled with the words ‘glas’ meaning green or fertile, and ‘hir’ meaning long. The names clearly indicate that some of the land is often covered by water – both salty and fresh.
The saltmarshes are awash with sea pink in spring, whilst marsh samphire and sea aster can also be seen in summer. The wet grasslands are a great place for spotting lapwings, redshank and other waders. The RSPB reserve at Ynyshir is host to migrant flocks of Manx Shearwaters in late summer, and in winter, Greenland white fronted geese – the only site in England and Wales they visit. There are trails and a boardwalk across the reserve leading to seven hides. Nearby is the Dyfi Osprey project, where you can watch these magnificent ‘ sea-eagles’ through a webcam.