Ceredigion is a county in Mid Wales known for centuries in English as Cardiganshire. This historic county was abolished in 1974 before being reconstituted in 1996 under the Welsh name Ceredigion.
Its largest town, Aberystwyth, is one of the two administrative centres; the other being Aberaeron. Aberystwyth houses Aberystwyth University, Bronglais Hospital and the National Library of Wales. The inland town of Lampeter houses part of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Ceredigion is a coastal county, bordered by Cardigan Bay to the west, Gwynedd to the north, Powys to the east, Carmarthenshire to the south and Pembrokeshire to the south-west. Its area is under 700 square miles and had a population of just 75,900 (2011) making it the second most sparsely populated county in Wales.
The county is mainly rural with a low coastal strip along the margins of Cardigan Bay surrounded by a mountainous hinterland; the Cambrian Mountains cover much of the east of the county. There are a number of sandy beaches linked by the long-distance Ceredigion Coast Path. On the slopes of Pumlumon five rivers have their sources: the Severn, the Wye, the Dulas, the Llyfnant and the Rheidol, the last of which meets the Afon Mynach in a 300 feet plunge at the Devil's Bridge chasm. The largest river is the River Teifi which forms the border with Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire for part of its length.
More than half the population speak the Welsh language and the county is considered a centre of Welsh culture.
The economy became almost completely dependent on dairying and the rearing of livestock, which were sent to the English market. During the last century or so, livestock farming has become less profitable, and the population of Cardiganshire has been in decline as people emigrated to more prosperous parts of Wales and elsewhere. More recently, the population has started rising again as elderly people move into the county for retirement, and various government and European Union initiatives have encouraged tourism and other alternative sources of income. Ceredigion is one of only two places in the United Kingdom with a permanent presence of bottlenose dolphins. Red kite may be seen in various localities in the county, but at the Red Kite Feeding Centre near Tregaron, they are fed each day, and large numbers congregate along with hungry crows, buzzards and other birds.
For birders the county is probably best known for Tregaron Bog in the South East, which was Wales best Kite hotspot, although with the widespread re-introduction scheme across the UK this is less of a draw than it once was.
Apart from the top sites in the section below, the following offer some terrific birding: New Quay (a few breeding auks & gulls; seawatching; dolphins/porpoises). Aberaeron (seawatching [dolphins/porpoises], etc.) Devil's Bridge [Nr Aberystwyth] (raptors - inc Kites - etc.) Clarach [Nr Aberystwyth] (seawatching, etc.) Ynyslas [nr Borth] (W-f Geese, waders; seawatching, etc.).
Cors Caron (Tregaron Bog)
Cors Caron covers an area of approximately 862 acres (349 ha). It represents the most intact surviving example of a raised bog landscape in the United Kingdom. About 44 different species groups inhabit the area including various land and aquatic plants, fish, insects, crustaceans, lichen, fungi, terrestrial mammals and birds.
Just off the A487, North of Aberystwyth, six miles South of Machynlleth. An unusual RSPB reserve in that it combines a western woodland, with all the associated birds [see Dinas, above] with a wetland: Breeding R-b Mergansers, Goosanders, Shelduck, Canada and Greylag Geese [feral], a few [declining] waders, etc.. Winter: Greenland White-fronted Geese, a few Whoopers; ducks and waders galore. Uncommon migrants regular; rarities from time to time; Kites increasing. Nearby Borth Bog [SN 620 910] is also well worth a visit, especially in winter.
Bron y Gan, Talybont, Ceredigion, SY24 5ER
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 292
The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales
The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is one of 47 Wildlife Trusts across the UK. We are the fourth largest in area, covering from Cardiff and Caerphilly in the east to Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire in the west, and include 3 of the West Wales islands amongst our 90 or so nature reserves - Nature Centre, Parc Slip, Fountain Road, Tondu, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan CF32 0EH…
Although there is no bird club, monthly field trips are organised for resident and visiting birdwatchers. Click under Contacts on the Ceredigion Birds blog for details.
Abbreviations Key: See the appropriate Continent Page (or Country Page of those used on country sub-divisions)
Ceredigion Nature Reserves
Ceredigion has 20 nature reserves which are managed the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales. We do this with the help of volunteers who are guided and supported by Em Foot the Wildlife Trust Officer.
LNR Coed Phoenix
Coed Phoenix is a former Spruce plantation that we are transforming into a mosaic of wildlife habitats. The woodland is gradually being restored to predominantly site-native woodland. This will be mainly Sessile Oak, Birch, Willow and Rowan. A variety of additional habitat areas are being created, restored and maintained, including south-facing banks, standing water, reptile hibernation sites, glades, dead wood piles, areas of coppiced woodland and bird and bat boxes. Grassland, wet heath and areas of scrub have also been created or restored and these will be extended over the coming years.
NNR Cors Caron
In 2005, construction started on a state-of-the-art bird hide at Cors Caron. Opened in February 2006, the hide provides a viewing point to observe wildlife, especially birds at close range. The bird hide was constructed from sustainably harvested materials, such as Welsh oak. The bog is now maintained by Natural Resources Wales.
NNR Dyfi : Ynyslas
The stunning landscape of estuary, sea and mountain is home to a remarkable range of habitats. The area covers Ynyslas Sand Dunes, the Dyfi Estuary Mudflats and Cors Fochno. It is famous for being the Welsh nesting site for Ospreys.
NNR Rhos Llawr Cwrt
This relatively small NNR is an absolute gem and is home to possibly the largest colony of Marsh Fritillary Butterflies (Euphydryas aurinia) in Britain. Other butterfly species thrive there, too, along with numerous dragonflies and damselflies, soif you are interested in insects this NNR cannot be missed. The small Bwdram Stream runs through the reserve, and signs of Otters (Lutra lutra) have been observed on its banks.
NTSWW Teifi Marshes at Welsh Wildlife Centre
Litterally just across the river (Afon Teifi) in Pembrokeshire the huge Teifi Marshes reserve at Cilgerran extends over some 100 hectares. here are a wide range of habitats, hence the diversity of wildlife, from pasture and wooded hedgerows to freshwater marsh and reedbeds to tidal mudbanks. Asian Water Buffalo are great grazers - their horns help to break up unwanted scrub with the result that they keep the marshland as fen and swamp. The Teifi reserve is also home to a large number of birds such as Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, Cetti's Warblers, Kingfishers, Marsh Harriers and even Red Kites.
With the mountains of southern Snowdonia to the north and the Cambrian hills to the south, the Ynys-hir reserve is stunning whichever way you look. Summer brings wading birds, such as lapwings and redshanks and some very special butterflies. Come the colder months, ducks and geese move in.
WTSWW Llyn Eiddwen SSSI
The lake which extends for 4.5 ha, may be described aptly as a sister to Llyn Eiddwen about 2 km away. It is a more sheltered locality, with a steep sloping basin mire at the southern end and heathland on the steep bank nearest the footpath. The lake is particularly good for dragonflies, damselflies, and caddis flies, as well as a few aquatic Lepidoptera.
Guides & Tour Operators
Mid-Wales Birdwatching Holidays
In 2009 we will be celebrating our 13th year. During last year a record number of guests enjoyed our holidays and some excellent bird watching increased the Bird List to 180. The reason why we have become so successful is that Mid Wales Birdwatching Holidays offer a unique combination…
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
Places to Stay
Marine Hotel & Restaurant - Aberystwyth
A spacious comfortable hotel, situated on the promenade of Aberystwyth. The hotel offers a magnificent view of Cardigan Bay, with a high percentage of it's bedrooms overlooking the bay. Our bedrooms are bath or shower en-suite, equipped with colour T.V., Tea & Coffee making facilities, Direct Telephone, Baby listening service, Automatic Wake Up Service and Hairdryers. The hotel offers Four Poster bedrooms and also Bridal Suites. Local attractions include golfing, fishing, sailing, pony trekking, bird watching, large indoor leisure centre, silver-lead mines and the Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
Red Kite Cottages
Hen Ysgubor (The Old Barn) is a beautifully renovated barn in the heart of Wales providing comfortable 4 Star (awarded by Visit Wales) self catering holiday accommodation for a family or a group of friends. Located in a small hamlet in the magnificent Cambrian Mountains, it provides an ideal base for walking, cycling, fishing, bird-watching…
The Old Stables
5 Star luxury apartments , each with a large South facing terrace overlooking the Dyfi estuary, plenty of parking in gated courtyard.Spa baths, underfloor heating, temporary membership to Plas Talgarth included in your stay. We can also arrange wonderful day trips with Ceredigion birding and Janet Baxter wildlife photographer see www.ceredigionbirdingbreaks.co.uk You will be taken to some glorious parts of the Dyfi valley to see the fabulous varied birdlife and what ever level of knowledge you hold this must surely be a memorable day.
Collective Blog - This site has been created to be used and enjoyed by resident birders as well as those visiting Ceredigion. We welcome contributions in the form of sightings and/or photographs from anywhere in the county….
Birds and Wildlife of Cardigan Bay
West Wales was the last outpost of these once common birds of prey. Hundreds of years of persecution reduced their numbers to a few pairs living in the Tywi and Cothi valleys. Fortunately the efforts of dedicated conservationists has saved the Red Kite from extinction and there are now more than 200 pairs in Wales. You may well see Red Kites as you walk the coast path or drive the lanes of Cardigan Bay.
Ceredigion Coast Path
The Ceredigion Coast Path follows the spectacular and varied coastline of Cardigan Bay on the west coast of Wales. Ynys-Lochtyn. Stunning scenery, picturesque villages and a wealth of wildlife - including the highest numbers of dolphin sightings in the UK - make Ceredigion a perfect place for a week's coastal walking.