The River Teifi Afon Teifi in Welsh
The Teifi River valley and its outfall are amongst the most beautiful landscape in Britain and the Teifi is considered by many as one of the most beautiful rivers in Wales. Its source is in Llyn Teifi and its outfall flows into Cardigan Bay.
Situated in mid Wales (toward the northern end of Ceredigion) Llyn Teifi is one of the lakes known collectively as the Teifi Pools. This area, corresponding roughly to the area of the Cambrian Mountains, is very sparsely populated and is sometimes called the "desert of Wales". This term "the desert of Wales" was coined by English travellers in the 19th century, they described this rather large area in central Wales this way because it lacked towns, roads and people.
Flowing past Strata Florida, the remains of a medieval abbey and through Pontrhydfendigaid, the river passes through Gors Goch Glan Teifi, one of the great raised mires of Britain, it is also known as Tregaron Bog. For the next 30 miles, the Teifi meanders south-westerly, flowing through villages and towns including Tregaron, Llanddewi Brefi, Cwmann, Lampeter, Llanybydder, Llandysul, Newcastle Emlyn, Cenarth, Llechryd and lastly, Cardigan.
An ancient tradition of fishing and travel using coracles exists in the area around Cenarth and Cardigan. The coracle is a very simple light weight boat made of bent sticks covered with waterproofed hide or skins. It is just large enough for a single person and is paddled with a single oar used at the front of the craft. Salmon fishing, using seine nets, has been the principal use for these simple boats. Seine fishing is now very tightly controlled and the rights to seine fish are passed down from father to son. Illegal salmon and sea-trout fishing in the lower Teifi has been something of an age-old tradition!
Below Llechryd, the River Teifi becomes tidal and flows almost silently through the steep-sided, densely wooded Cilgerran gorge before descending into Cardigan. The river broadens into a wide estuary below Cardigan, passing Poppit Sands as it enters the sea at Cardigan Bay.
At the mouth of the River Teifi, Poppit Sands, near Cardigan, is a very large, sandy beach. It's close to St Dogmaels and sits at the northern end of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. This beach is a favourite spot for water sports such as surfing and body-boarding as well as kite flying. The beach slopes very gently into the sea and is shallow for a long way out. The beach is often enjoyed by early morning horse riders and of course, dogs, with their owners, love running on the beach. However, due to the unpredictable currents at the far end of the beach, safe bathing is confined to within the patrolled area but there are wonderful rock pools for the children to explore. The beach also gives access to the rocky outcropping of Cemaes Head and has an outstanding view of Cardigan Island.
Cardigan Island (Ynys Aberteifi) is a small, uninhabited island just north of Cardigan and within 200 metres of the coastline at Gwbert-on-Sea. Owned and managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, the island is well known for its small colony of grey seals.
Rapids and waterfalls are not common along the river's length but at Henllan and especially at Cenarth, the waterfalls have a wonderful wild beauty which is regularly painted and photographed.
The Teifi valley has been inhabited for many centuries and remains such as Cromlechs (burial chambers) and standing stones, are the lasting evidence of Iron and Stone age man. At Strata Florida one can see excellent examples of encaustic tiles on the floors. And at Lampeter, the river flows past the oldest established university in Wales.
The technical specifications for the river are:
- the estimated catchment of the river is 1,008 square kilometers
- it yields an average flow at Glan Teifi of 31.026 m³/s.
- the maximum flow recorded 17 Dec.1965 was 269.7 m³/s.
- average rainfall varies from 1176 mm in the lower catchment to155 mm in the upper catchment.
Although silted up in the estuary and no longer deep enough for ocean-going vessels, the river still provides great pleasure for those interested in fishing and the appreciation of the natural environment.
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