Ceredigion on Film and TV

The landscape of Ceredigion 'is almost a character in its own right' say the producers of 'Hinterland/ Y Gwyll', the detective series set in Aberystwyth and northern Ceredigion.   Stunning locations, dramatic storylines and colourful characters – this is Ceredigion on the silver screen ... 

Hinterland / Y Gwyll is filmed in Ceredigion during autumn and winter, and simultaneously in Welsh and English. The Welsh ‘y gwyll’ (literally ‘the dusk’) suggests a mysterious place at the edge of the world. It’s impossible to imagine a more apt setting in which to place the brooding detective, DCI Mathias.

The acclaimed detective drama shows the landscape of Ceredigion in a new light, each location adding an intrigue of its own to the storylines - from Aberystwyth and the coastal marshes and dunes of Borth and  Ynyslas  to the forests, lakes and former silverlead mining hamlets of the Cambrian Mountains. 

Hinterland / Y Gwyll draws on local legends

The drama of Y Gwyll/Hinterland involves and unfolds around a team of modern detectives, but also draws on the ancient legends of Ceredigion and Wales.  The raw landscapes of the Cambrian Mountains provide perfect locations and a deep sense of place for the intrigue and drama  of hinterland / y gwyll.

 Aberystwyth is a cosmopolitan university town with a quaint Victorian façade - “a natural crucible of colliding worlds, where history, myth and tradition come face to face with the modern and contemporary” say the producers of the series. 

A central filming location - Devil's Bridge - is associated with one of Wales's best known folk tales. According to the legend, it was the Devil himself who built the first, eponymous, Devil's Bridge, over dramatic waterfalls where the river Mynach cuts a deep, moss and fern swathed ravine through the ancient oak woods.  This is the dramatic background for the first episode of hinterland/y gwyll

From Devil's Bridge you can explore the remoter upland valleys of the Cambrian Mountains, where walking routes take you past the ruins of once busy silver-lead mines, each with its own tale to tell. Cwmsymlog and Trisant, typical of the farming and former silver-lead mining communities of the Cambrian Mountains, provide several of the locations for the fictional village of Penwyllt. 

As well as woodland walks and forest rides, there are miles of quiet, one track mountain roads to follow, with superb views across the moors and remote upland farms, and down to the coast. Drive north and inland from Aberystwyth, on mountain roads to Nant y Moch; return via the Rheidol valley or go on to find the haunting mine remains in the Ystwyth valley, once owned by the monks of Strata Florida Abbey; return via the woodland and waterfall walks of the Picturesque landscape of Hafod. 

The landscape is real, and the filming takes place in all weathers and at night, but some of the buildings have been skilfully dressed to appear derelict, damaged by fire or very spooky.

The railway line to Aberystwyth calls at the village of Borth, with its three mile sand and surf beach. The station, with its quirky museum, overlooks the marshes which extend to the dunes of Ynyslas and the Dyfi Estuary where the prehistoric submerged forest - exposed at low tide - conjures up the ancient legend of the lost land of Cantre’r Gwaelod and Maelgwyn’s kingly battle with the sea. This is also the mythic birthplace of the poet Taliesin, whilst local folklore tells of ghosts and witches on the wild marshland of Cors Fochno.

The Ceredigion coast has craggy cliffs, quiet smugglers’ caves, sandy coves and beaches, and pebble reefs frequented by seabirds, seals and dolphins. The Cardigan Bay panorama to the mountains and islands of Snowdonia is a tonic for the soul. No wonder a site on the Ceredigion coast was chosen as a place for Mathias to escape to, and to blow away the city cobwebs.

Y Syrcas / The Circus 

Syrcas / The Circus - comes to a tranquil Ceredigion town and changes things forever. The imagined tale of Y Syrcas / The Circus centres on a strict Calvinist minister's teenage daughter struggling to come to terms with her father's uncompromising religious conventions and his addiction to the drug laudanum.

Set in Victorian Cardiganshire (now Ceredigion) the film has echoes of local folklore about a travelling circus and its elephant visiting Tregaron in 1848.

Although initially wary of the newcomers, the townspeople eventually warm to their exotic visitors when one of the circus elephants helps rescue a group of trapped miners. Unfortunately one of the elephants fell fatally ill after drinking water at Bronmwyn lead mine, and, according to local folklore, was buried behind the Talbot hotel, a traditional drovers inn and a well known local landmark.

The atmospheric film was shot on location in Ceredigion around the town of Tregaron, the parish of Llangeitho, and along drovers routes in the Cambrian Mountains.

The story of the elephant is affectionately remembered locally and during 2011 a team of archaeologists from Trinity St David's University at nearby Lampeter excavated the site to find out more about what happened. It's possible to walk the scenic 5 miles between Tregaron and Bronmwyn along the elephant walk route, and other lanes and drovers' routes into the Cambrian Mountains. There are other mine sites to explore with the in the area and discover heritage of the miners and the people of Ceredigion who made their mark across the world.

Y Llyfrgell / The Library Suicides

The Library Suicides, directed by Euros Lyn and released in 2016, is a stylish mystery with the intrigue of family history and diaries at its core. The offbeat thriller explores the secrets and lies at the heart of storytelling, and asks who has the right to tell the story...

The plot of The Library Suicides centres on twin sisters (both played by Catrin Stewart) who are archivists at the National Library of Wales. They are devastated by the death of their mother, celebrated author Elena Wdig (Sharon Morgan) whose final words suggest that her biographer, Eben Prydderch (Ryland Teifi) murdered her.

During one night shift at the National Library the twins set off on a quest to avenge their mother’s death, but are disrupted by night porter Dan ( Dyfan Dwyfor), who is unwillingly caught up in the saga. As with all good thrillers, things go wrong, plans are thwarted and doubts creep in. The Library Suicides makes the most of its location- the imposing National Library of Wales building that overlooks Aberystwyth. Visitors to the National Library will never be able to look at the place in the same light again.

The Library Suicides /Y Llyfrgell is TV award winning director Euros Lyn's first feature film. The screenplay of is an adaptation by Fflur Dafydd of her National Eisteddfod prizewinning novel Y Llyfrgell. There are two versions - filmed contemporaneously - a Welsh language and an English language version.