Distance: 15.4km (plus diversions)
Grade: moderate to severe, mostly on tracks and minor roads with some bleak moorland.
Transport links: There are buses from Tregaron to Lampeter and Aberystwyth. There is no public transport to Strata Florida, but from Pontrhydfendigaid, 2km west of the Abbey, buses go to Aberystwyth and Tregaron.
See http://www.traveline.cymru for details. There are occasional buses between Cwmystwyth and Aberystwyth but you may need to book in advance: see https://bustimes.org.uk/services/CGAT022 and http://www.carlberry.co.uk/rfnshowr.asp?RN=CET22A.
The traditional pilgrims’ route north from Strata Florida almost certainly went up what is now the B4343 and the A4120, past Ysbyty Ystwyth and Ysbyty Cynfyn (both names suggesting pilgrim hostels) and the monks’ bridge at Pontarfynach (Devil’s Bridge). This would be both unpleasant and dangerous to walk. Fortunately, Ceredigion County Council has waymarked a good alternative for most of the way. The leaflets at https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=12137 (scroll down to 'Linear Routes — Devil's Bridge to Pontrhydygroes and Pontrhydygroes to Pontrhydfendigaid') describe the route but in reverse. It's also marked on the latest OS Landranger and Explorer maps.
Turn right on leaving the abbey and walk along the road towards the Teifi pools. At SN 75064 65949 take the bridleway to the left. At SN 75184 66304, just before Caemadog Farm, the track divides. Take the left fork then bear right with the track into the trees.
At SN 75352 66404 the track divides again. Take the left fork, walking into the trees. At SN 75507 66442 the track turns sharply to the left. Ignore the turning to the right at SN 75434 66492.
At SN 75219 66649 you join the Devil's Bridge to Pontrhydfendigaid trail. The leaflet describes the route south to Pontrhydfendigaid but we follow it north. Take the right fork, heading north-west then north-east. Pass Gargoed Farm to your right. At about SN 75090 67354 the track becomes a minor road into Ffair-rhos.
Ffair-rhos was an important local trading centre, and there is a network of old trackways leading to it from the north. As the old rhyme said: Gyrru, gyrru, Ffair y Rhos Mynd cyn dydd a 'nol cyn nos (Drive, drive to Rhos Fair Go before dawn, back before night).
At SN 74183 67984 turn left towards the village, then almost immediately at SN 74128 67978 take the lane to the right and bear round to the right with it. This becomes a stony track (heavily eroded with rain - it may become a stream bed in wet weather but you can climb along the bank). The track climbs up the slope ahead of you and down to wind across the little valley of Cwm Gwyddyl, between the old lead workings. (The right of way is waymarked and cuts off some of the angles in the track but most walkers seem to follow the track.)
At SN 75158 69656 a metalled road goes left. Bear right on the track, past another farmsteadand across two streams. At SN 75508 70399 turn left off the track following the Ceredigion waymarks. Pass to the right of Banc Melyn farm then at SN 75218 70604 urn right off the farm lane and walk up hill and into the open access land.
At SN 75318 70916 leave the open access land and turn right on a track. At SN 75642 71065 turn left off the track and walk a little west of north, along the edge of the open access land. Continue on the same line following the waymarks to SN 75012 72132. Here you can turn left on a minor road and follow the waymarks to Pontrhydygroes and along the river. The Miners' Arms (http://www.minersarms.net/) is open evenings and Sundays and provides food and accommodation.
Alternatively, to head for Cwmystwyth, turn right and walk past Storehouse Farm. Follow the track through the farmyard. At SN 75565 72421, just before Ty Coch farm, bear left on a track through the woods. At SN 75840 72816 take the footpath to the left and walk down hill to rejoin the waymarked path along the Ystwyth.
At SN 75957 72938 you can take the footbridge to the left to explore the gardens of the Hafod, returning to the waymarked path at SN 77087 73321. The waymarked path crosses the lane to Dologau farm (you can continue up the lane to the spectacular Robbers' Cave and waterfall). Continue on the waymarked path along the edge of the forest.
At SN 78622 73738 the path has been diverted to the right of Dolchenog farm. Follow the waymarks, rejoin the lane and turn left over the bridge. At the top of the slope you can turn left and walk into Cwmystwyth.
|Strata Florida to Cwmystwyth|