Wilderness escapes: waterfalls, woods and wetland reserves

Ceredigion's countryside is a haven for wildlife with moorland, woodland, rivers and quiet lanes lined with flower filled hedgerows providing great habitats. Simply go for a walk, visit one of our many and varied nature reserves or wildlife centres, or let our local guides and experts show you the best on walks, talks and tours.

On the high plateau for the Cambrian Mountains, near the remote Teifi Pools, one of Ceredigion's secret waterfalls  cascades into a tranquil pool, where, legend has it, a giant used to wash his hands.

The legend of the bridges over the falls at Devil's Bridge and the dramatic setting have drawn visitors to admire the falls at Devil's Bridge for many centuries. William Wordsworth, like many other visitors, in awe of the famous waterfalls at Devil's Bridge, asked: 

How art thou named? In search of what strange land,
From what huge height, descending?

The features of the dramatic wooded gorge and series of cascades have been given evocative names by visitors trying to describe their experience of this sublime environment including Devil's Punchbowl, Robbers Cave and Jacob's Ladder. 

Glimpse the falls through the trees as you approach Devil's Bridge by steam train with the Vale of Rheidol Railway - itself a dramatic trip along the steep slopes of the Rheidol valley before the river meets the Mynach just below Devil's Bridge. 

Not far from Devil's Bridge is Hafod - a woodland estate which became a destination for intrepid 18th century tourists in search of fashionable Picturesque vistas. Earth and water were literally moved to create some of the seemingly wild and natural vistas, and walks designed to delight and thrill the visitors have been restored for us to enjoy today.

At Cenarth, where the bridge has large, circular holes between its arches to allow floodwater to pass through them, there's a watermill on the edge of the falls, which for many years made use of the power of the water. Today is makes for a picturesque setting and a pretty picnic spot, and a place to look out for salmon leaping over the falls. 

Woodland and riverside glades 

Bluebells and wild garlic in spring, cool shelter in summer and colourful autumn foliage and fungi in autumn - savour the sounds, smells and colours of the changing seasons on a woodland walk in Ceredigion.  Many of Ceredigion's broadleaved woodland are at least 500 years old in origin, with sessile oak, birch, rowan and hazel as well as a variety of mosses, fern and lichens enjoying the pure air and cool shade. 

Coed Einion and aits waterfalls at Eglwysfach and Coed Rheidol woods and gorge in the Rheidol Valley are both Special Areas of Conservation for their special 'celtic rainforest' plantlife of lichens, bryophites, mosses and ferns.  

Ceredigion's more recent plantations provide good, sheltered walks, with vistas opening up to reward you before you turn for home, such as  at Coed Maenarthur (Arthur's stone woods) on the other side of the Miners Bridge at Pontrhydygroes  and the nearby Hafod estate.  The great estates also planted beech trees, which are a delight as summer turns to autumn. 

 Wetland reserves

You don’t have to get your feet wet when you visit Ceredigion's very special westland reserves – there are boardwalks that will take you out to the heart of our raised bogs where you can enjoy the unique atmosphere of this amazing landscape. The three raised bogs of the Cors Caron National Nature Reserve, at just over 2,000 acres, fill the valley of the upper Teifi river between Tregaron and Pontrhydfendigaid. One of the finest examples of raised peat bogs in lowland Britain, Cors Caron is recognised internationally as an important wetland reserve.

Cors Caron is also known as Cors Goch Glanteifi - the red bog of the Teifi riverside - for the distinctive red hue of its vegetation - sedges, carpets of sphagnum moss, dotted with the delicate, yellow flowered bog asphodel, flag iris and insect consuming sundew. This is the habitat of Ceredigion's 'county flower' too - the pretty heather like, bog rosemary (andromeda polifolia). These and other plant materials form the basis of the deep reserves of peat that have built up over the last 2,000 years, forming gentle dome shaped forms, which are still growing behind a glacial moraine, which the river Teifi has breached.

Ceredigion's other internationally recognised peat bog, Cors Fochno, lies along the rive Leri, near the coast between Borth and Ynyslas, at the heart of the Dyfi Bioshpere. Cors Fochno is largest expanse of primary near-natural raised bog in lowland Britain, and forms part of the Dyfi Ynyslas National Nature Reserve. Join one of the regular visits onto the bog with reserve wardens to learn about its plants, mammals and rare amphibians as well as archaeology and modern water management.