Discover Ceredigion's hidden industrial past by following the route linking the Ceredigion coast at Borth to Devil's Bridge and on to Pontrhydygroes and Pontrhydfendigiad in the Cambrian Mountains. The route is described in six sections:
1 Borth - Talybont. archaeologists found evidence of Roman lead smelting sites on the edge of Cors Fochno (Borth Bog) but it was during the 19th century that saw the growth in mines and mills at Talybont.
2 Talybont - Bwlch Nant yr Arian. There are old turbine houses, weirs and leats to be seen on the route from Talybont to Bontgoch, and at Cwmsymlog the mining remains include a chimney, miners cottages and chapel. The route continues to Bwlch Nant yr Arian (the gap of the silver stream)
3 Bwlch Nant yr Arian - Devil's Bridge. The route passes through the mining community of Ystumtuen and a chapel that was built for Cornish lead miners. It then descends into the Rheidol valley before climbing back again to Devil's Bridge.
4 Devil's Bridge - Pontrhydygroes. Between Devil's Bridge and Cwmystwyth you will reach the highest point on the route before reaching the dramatic mining landscape of Cwm Ystwyth and the forest estate of Hafod.
5 Pontrhydygroes - Pontrhydfendigaid. Pontrhydygroes retains many features of its mining past which are worth seeking out before ascending to the open moorland and Banc Esgair Mwyn ridge, continuing to Ffair Rhos and the hillfort of Pen y Bannau overlooking Strata Florida abbey.
6 Pontrhydfendigaid to the Ystwyth Trail. The monks of Strata Florida were miners and farmers as well as scribes. Follow the Teifi river to the edge of Cors Caron (Tregaron bog) to join the Ystwyth Trail. You can follow the Ystwyth Trail to Aberystwyth or continue to Tregaron.
There are circular routes at locations where it's worth spending a bit more time exploring the details:
Talybont: the route takes you along the Ceulan and Cletwr valley slopes past past ancient mine workings, some of which could be from Roman times.
Bontgoch: mineworkings and reservoirs as well as views and waterfalls characterise this route
Cwmsymlog: see ancient mine workings and a hillfort as well as the mining villages of Cwmsymlog and Goginan
Bwlch Nant yr Arian: the remains of Cwmbrwyno mines and hillforts probably constructed to protect the wealth of the mines.
Devil's Bridge: Cross the Rheidol gorge to Temple mine and Ystumtuen over Parson's Bridge. Cross the river again, downstream, and climb up to the Vale of Rheidol railway.