Newcastle Emlyn

Gwiber Newcastle Emlyn

The ‘Gwiber’ of Newcastle Emlyn – a mythical creature with a dragon’s head and wings, a reptilian body, two legs and a tail.

With incessant drizzle arriving in Llandysul the same day as my most recent AirBnB guests they weren’t having much of a chance to explore the area, so when the sky looked a little brighter last Friday I offered to run them down to Newcastle Emlyn to visit the weekly market and have a look around.

The market takes place every Friday morning near the main carpark and attracts people from a wide area. On a good day you can buy all kinds of local produce, including honey, good quality fruit and vegetables (often by the trayload), cakes, breads, plants and crafts.

Unfortunately when we got there the drizzle had turned into proper rain, but there were still a few brave souls running vegetable stalls, and providing bargains to their dripping customers. It was hard to resist a whole box of tomatoes for £2.50 but I didn’t have any plans to make spaghetti sauce any time soon, so I settled for 5 grapefruit for £1 then shepherded my guests towards Y Cwtch Coffi, a newish bilingual café in the main street with comfortable chairs, delicious cakes and a good selection of hot drinks. It was also warm and dry, which was becoming a priority!

The café was very busy, with a hum of voices and a welcoming atmosphere. My guests tucked into lemon poppyseed cake and bara brith and we sat sipping our drinks while gradually the rain eased off again.

When a few rays of sun attempted to break through the clouds we made a dash for the castle. Making our way past the Gwiber peering down on us from the gate, we walked up through the remains of the castle entrance. It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like in its heyday. We stood on a grassy mound gazing down on the Teifi and the local rugby fields beyond and tried to picture how it would have been back in the 13th century when it was built, or in 1403 when it was captured by Owain Glyndŵr. To stand on the site of so much history always sends a tingle through me. What would they think if they could see it now, with much of the stonework gone to build local houses?

After taking the footpath along the Teifi and around the bottom of the castle, we headed back into the main street, stopping to call in at a display by the local history society, then an art exhibition in Cawdor Hall, the Grade II listed building built in 1892 as a Market Hall for the people of Newcastle Emlyn by Lord Cawdor.

Ceredigion Art Trail

The exhibition was part of the Ceredigion Art Trail which is opening up artwork all over the county from now until the end of August. The various locations are scattered all over Ceredigion. With 71 different venues representing every type of art you can imagine, there is something there for everyone.

Glenn Ibbitson, from Smoking Brush Fine Art, was one of two artists exhibiting in Cawdor Hall and he was happy to chat about his work.

Cawdor Hall

Looking towards Cawdor Hall

The drizzle had started up again by then but it was fairly light, so we finished with a walk down to the bridge across to Adpar (the part of the town officially in Ceredigion, as opposed to Newcastle Emlyn proper which is actually in Carmarthenshire), then back to the carpark, hastening our steps as the drizzle changed back into rain, and our brief break in the weather was over.

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