life through the lens
home destinations a-z the big trips about me world beers newspapers updates/links top fives Wales travel store




Location - Western Europe; Capital - Wales - Cardiff; Population - Wales - 3 million; Currency - Pound Sterling MORE UK - WALES

A backpacker trip around Wales was long overdue. I started in the university town of Aberystwyth in mid-Wales before heading south - August/September 2016.


uknote20 Pounds Sterling










wales363Walk or take the funicular railway up Constitution Hill for the best panoramic views in town - Aberystwyth


wales361The curving arc of North Beach leads to the pier and the castle ruins, followed by South Beach hidden behind. The base of the coastal ridge at the top of the photo marks the start of Tanybwlch Beach - Aberystwyth


wales378The Wales Coastal Path continues over the top of Constitution Hill heading north - Aberystwyth














wales379Next stop across the Irish Sea is Ireland. Of course! Aberystwyth















wales380Sunset over Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea - Aberystwyth


wales341Head down Constitution Hill (pictured) to North Beach and the Marine Terrace seafront - Aberystwyth


wales385At the end of North Beach are the sparse ruins of a 13th century castle built by King Edward I. In the background is a World War I memorial, and in the foreground is a stone circle built for the 1915 Eisteddfodd, a Welsh cultural festival - Aberystwyth












wales394Colourful buildings front South Beach, with Constitution Hill rising behind - Aberystwyth














wales397Small boats in the harbour. Small but still out of my league.. - Aberystwyth


wales400Keep going, past the harbour to the rocky Tanybwlch Beach - Aberystwyth


wales405You can just see the Wellington Memorial standing on Pen Dinas, above Tanybwlch - Aberystwyth















Cardigan Bay and South Beach from the jetty at Tanybwlch - Aberystwyth


wales403Tanybwlch jetty - Aberystwyth


wales406Gangsta Pigeon's in town - Aberystwyth


wales413One of several vintage steam trains in Wales, the Vale of Rheidol Railway chugs along the Rheidol Valley from Aberystwyth to Devil's Bridge













wales420It's a very scenic 19km climb, weaving its way through the valley - Rheidol Valley














wales431The Three Bridges is a local landmark. On top is the current road bridge built in 1901; below that is an 18th century stone bridge; the bottom bridge, or Devil's Bridge, dates back to the 11th/12th century - Devil's Bridge, Rheidol Valley


wales432The Punch Bowl, carved by the waters of the Mynach River - Devil's Bridge, Rheidol Valley


wales435There's two main walks at Devil's Bridge, Rheidol Valley. One is the Punchbowl, the other a 45min nature trail














wales444There's waterfalls, gorges plus a small cave along the trail - Devil's Bridge, Rheidol Valley














wales441There's a lot of climbing and descending but it's an attractive, worthwhile tour if you're able - Devil's Bridge, Rheidol Valley


wales445Another small waterfall as the Mynach River flows through Rheidol Valley


wales462A 10min train ride north of Aberystwyth is Borth















wales447Fantastic views of Borth and the Dyfi estuary from the hill above town














wales998A misty morning in Welshpool, north east of Aberystwyth on the train line, and close to the English border


wales1005Powysland Museum lies on Montgomery Canal, linking Llangollen to Newtown - Welshpool


wales1010Statues outside Powysland Museum - Welshpool















wales993I assumed this was a castle but apparently this former church is now a private home. Wow! Welshpool














wales992A distant view of Powis Castle from the cemetery behind St Mary's Church - Welshpool


wales1023Walk through Powis Castle Park to the castle - Welshpool


wales1024The 13th century Powis Castle is the main drawcard to Welshpool














wales1027Autumnal colours on the castle walls - Welshpool














wales1028But it's the magnificent castle gardens that pack the punch - Welshpool


wales1030The terraced gardens unfold down the valley - Welshpool


wales1033An impressive piece of topiary - Welshpool














wales1034Hills rise behind Powis Castle - Welshpool














wales1036This flute-player gets the best seat in the house, or should I say, the best plinth in the garden - Welshpool


wales1046The castle was founded as a medieval fortress for Welsh princes before being turned into a residence for the Herbert and Clive families - Welshpool


wales1061My first view of the impressive Pistyll Rhaeadr Falls, near the village of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant














wales1082Climb to the top of Pistyll Rhaeadr Falls and take in the valley below















wales1100The falls are over 73m high, one of the highest in Wales - Pistyll Rhaeadr Falls


wales1114For a sense of scale, spot the woman in a turquoise jacket at 10:30 from the natural stone arch - Pistyll Rhaeadr Falls


wales1115I'm surprised there's not more publicity about these falls; put it on your to-do list! Pistyll Rhaeadr Falls














wales1125A 20min drive south of Welshpool, slap-bang on the border with England, is Montgomery, boasting architecture spanning the 17th to 19th centuries


wales1127Walk up the hillside for superb views of the town, including St Nicholas' Church - Montgomery


wales1137Earlier in the day the sun's rays split the clouds for a very atmospheric rolling landscape - Montgomery













wales1139The morning mist is burned away behind St Nicholas' Church - Montgomery














wales1141A gorgeous panorama from the castle - Montgomery


wales1143The hills beyond the 13th century castle walls are in Shropshire, England - Montgomery


wales1152This ditch, a 10min walk from town, is a remanant of Offa's Dyke, the 8th century border between Wales and England. It pretty much sets the present-day border between the two countries - Montgomery













wales1154There's not much to see at Newtown, the next train station after Welshpool. Moving on..














wales468Following the coast south of Aberystwyth, a real surprise was the cute little seaside resort of New Quay


wales467It's a typical British beach resort with fish and chips, pubs and bucket & spade shops, set around a gorgeous sheltered bay with rocky inlets - New Quay


wales478New Quay also provides the opportunity to go dolphin spotting, either in the bay or further out to sea


wales480It's a short, steep walk from the upper town to the sea - New Quay













wales470A warm August bank holiday weekend on the beach - New Quay















wales492Not a bad location for your front garden! And if you're lucky spot the local dolphins and seals while having your breakfast - New Quay


wales502Further south and still hugging the coastline is Newport













wales501A sand spit divides the Nevern River (Afon Nyfer in Welsh) from Cardigan Bay - Newport














wales496The Nyfer Estuary is a haven of birdlife (there's far more birds than the swan in this photo, honest!) - Newport


wales507On the south west coast is the harbour of Porthgain, which exported slate in the 19th century before turning to brick-making. The remnants of the brickworks can be seen on the right in this photo.













wales517A gun from an American World War II warship that sank in 1944 at Porthgain













wales516Porthgain hosts a few art galleries as well as a restaurant and pub. Plus a soggy boat.


wales524The famous cathedral of St Davids, the smallest city in Britain with a population of less than 2,000














wales526The 12th century cathedral is a site of pilgrimage for many - St Davids














wales529Inside is a chapel said to contain the bones of St David (Dewi Sant in Welsh), the patron saint of Wales. To commemorate his death, St David's Day is held across Wales every year on 1 March. And yes the spelling of the city is correct; weirdly there's no apostrophe - St Davids


wales531Next to the cathedral are the ruins of the Bishop's Palace - St Davids


wales540A few hundred metres from the centre is St Non's Bay, said to be where St David was born around AD500 - St Davids













wales550A 10min bus ride brings you to Whitesands Bay - St Davids















wales547It's a fine stretch of sand popular with surfers - St Davids


wales552Surfers starting out on a cool September morning - St Davids


wales561Pembrokeshire is known for its rugged coastline and magnificent beaches - St Davids















wales562Taking it all in at Whitesands Bay - St Davids
















wales563Bright colours at Solva, a short drive east of St Davids


wales571Walk between the docked boats and along the L-shaped harbour to the beach - Solva


wales573And be rewarded with a great coastline - Solva














wales576Be prepared for great views of Newgale Sands at the top of the hill coming from the west (I messed around too long getting my camera ready - don't make the same mistake!)


wales579The wide expanse lends itself to kite-flying and sand-surfing - Newgale Sands


wales581A quick stop-off at Pembroke en route to Tenby, to see Pembroke Castle, birthplace of King Henry VII













wales586The Watermans Arms pub overhangs Millpond, a dammed section of the Pembroke River - Pembroke















Website and content Copyright © 2008-2017 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.


LINKS - Wales tourist board - guide to north Wales - - take a train up Snowdon, Wales' highest mountain - more info on Snowdon - guide to mid Wales - another site focussed on mid Wales - guide to south Wales - Britain's official tourism website - train information across Britain - Wales public transport journey planner - National Express coaches cover Britain


I am not responsible for the content of external websites.