According to the UK’s official mapping agency, The Ordnance Survey, the centre point of Wales is on a hillside above the upper reaches of the Yswyth river in Cwmystwyth.
A working landscape - past and future
One of the earliest mines in Wales was on the slopes of Cymwystwyth, where, only recently, a Bronze age gold ‘sun’ disc was found. Silver, lead and zinc had been mined in the valley since Roman times and reached a peak in the 18th century. Mining for metal ores in the Cambrian Mountains only ceased during the 20th century, having reached a peak in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the old mines stand silent and are a proud testimony to the many that once worked there.
The University of Aberystwyth upland research centre is located at Pwllpeiran. Established in the 1930s, it continues to undetake pioneering work on upland ecosystems and practical research into water and carbon management. Look out for open days for an opportunity to learn more about the Centre's work.
Visit Hafod church and Cwmystwyth's Siloam chapel to learn about the poignant history of Johneses and others who lived and worked in the valley. The church is open to visitors daily between Easter and September, and the chapel open by appointment.
The village of Pont-Rhyd-y-Groes, often described as ‘Little Switzerland’ is perched in woods above the Ystwyth gorge. Remains of its industrial past include a large restored waterwheel, a miners bridge over the gorge, a counting house, as well as pretty rows of miners cottages. The hillfort of Castell Grogwynion commands views over the Ystwyth valley, and
Below the gorge at Pontrhydygroes the river starts braiding through gravel sandbanks before widening and winding its way across rich agricultural land between Trawsgoed and Llanilar.
The rivers in the area have swapped beds several times due to glacial activity. The course of the lower reaches of the Ystwyth follows a geological fault line, as does that of the Rheidol to the north.
The Ystwyth finally reaches the sea below the Iron Age hillfort of Pendinas, the original settlement overlooking the aber (mouth) of the Ystwyth. The Rheidol and the Ystwyth join at this point to form the harbour at Aberystwyth.