- Getting started walking
- Tips for walking with diabetes
- How often should I exercise?
- How many calories will I burn?
- Is walking a good workout?
- Warm up for walking
- Walking for health
- Pregnancy and walking
- Walking can help our overweight youngsters
- Walking helps in fight against obesity
- Avoid travel chaos: walk to work!
- Diet Coke nutrition info
- 10 reasons to take up walking
- Walking facts
- Finding motivation
- How a good walk can help with stress
- A cliff with a view: New Quay walk
- St Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan
- Bawsey Church near King's Lynn, Norfolk
- Walking Facts and Figures
- Rambling: how to get started
- Footpath Erosion
- Advice and Information for Leaders of Rambles
- An Introduction to the Hadrian's Wall Path
- An Introduction to the Pennine Way
- An Introduction to the Coast to Coast Walk
- An Introduction to the Cotswold Way
- Public Rights of Way FAQ
- A Guide to Walking in Britain
- More Than a Walk
A cliff with a view: New Quay walk
A walk over the cliffs to Birds Rock can be rewarded with a glimpse of dolphins enjoying the waters of Cardigan Bay. Liz Allan, coast and countryside project officer for Ceredigion county council, takes us to her special vantage point.
I OFTEN find it amazing that many people coming to Wales seem to flock to the 'honeypots' of the Pembrokeshire Coast and Snowdonia national parks and miss out on the middle bit that is the county of Ceredigion. This is a pity, as there are many natural assets to this varied coastal landscape. High cliffs, small coves, exposed rocky shores, wide open estuaries, and sand dunes are all flanked by the inshore waters of Cardigan Bay, famed for its bottlenose dolphins.
There is a delightful short walk along the coastpath from New Quay which is a favourite of mine that I can walk straight from my house. This small fishing village was once at the centre of the great era of maritime activity in the county that peaked during the 19th century. It was an important ship building centre with some 240 vessels under construction in boat yards along the beach at any one time.
Today, a handful of fishermen gather around the stone harbour to unload their catches of lobster, crab and the famous New Quay mackerel. In recent times, New Quay has become well-known for the dolphins that are often seen just off the end of the harbour. Cardigan Bay is one of only two areas around Britain where there are resident populations of these animals, the other being the Moray Firth. This walk provides lots of opportunities to see these marine mammals and my patient cliff-top vigils have often been rewarded by spectacular sightings of them leaping clear of the water.
The easy walk to Birds Rock takes you over sub-maritime heath, with old field boundary walls, that is a picture in spring with huge clumps of thrift and sea campion. Birds Rock is one of Wales' top ten seabird breeding colonies and is a spectacle from March onwards when nearly 4,000 guillemots return to perch on the rock ledges. To compensate for these rather uncomfortable and often precarious breeding conditions, the guillemot's egg is shaped like a pear to stop it toppling off the bare ledges. The cries from razorbills, kittiwakes and cormorants all contribute to the cacophony above the crashing of the waves. This is also an excellent place for watching Atlantic grey seals haul themselves out onto rocks between feeding trips.
I find it difficult to drag myself away from this heavenly spot, but the most spectacular views await from the old coastguard lookout nearby. This building was first occupied in 1924 and has log books containing stories of pilots from Spitfires ditching into the bay and the rescue of a drifting submarine! It is easy to see why this spot was chosen. Looking north the whole of the North Wales coastline and the Snowdownia mountain range can be seen on clear days. Looking south, the rest of the spectacular Ceredigion coastline ends at Cardigan Island.
I can spend hours at this spot on summer evenings, drinking in the views and watching the sun sink over the sea. However, I recommend continuing even further along the coastpath to the little cove of Cwmtydu as the route passes some wonderful secluded coves and thickly-wooded valleys.
Maps: OS Explorer 198 Cardigan & New Quay
Start: Lewis Terrace, New Quay
Terrain: Well-maintained coastpath all the way
Transport: Buses from Aberystwyth and Cardigan
Distance: New Quay to Birds Rock two miles one way (half an hour); New Quay to Cwmtydu 4.5 miles one way (1.5 hours)