The River Teifi - Afon Teifi

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The River Teifi is relatively short, but at 73 miles is the second longest river after the Towy (75 miles) flowing wholly through Wales. (The Usk is the other contender but measurements vary). Rising in the hills above Strata Florida, flowing from Llyn Teifi, it passes a series of small towns and villages. Regarded by many as one of the most beautiful rivers of Wales, it is celebrated for its salmon and sewin (sea trout) fishing. The area is primarily agricultural and with the exception of Lampeter with its University and Cardigan, the towns today are small market towns concerned with agriculture and tourism. For much of its length, the river forms the boundary between the counties of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire and then as it becomes tidal, between Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Pont Einon near Tregaron

The valley is rich in history, with its castles abbeys and churches. The first Eisteddfod, a festival of poetry and music was held in Cardigan. Legends abound, there was the last dragon in Wales at Newcastle Emlyn and the beautiful Princess Nest who became the lover of Henry I. This was the heartland of the Celtic saints with the miracles of St David.

The Teifi at Llanfair Clydogau

Welsh is the first language of a majority of the population of the valley, though recent years have seen an influx of English speakers and a perhaps more temporary population of Polish speakers, most notably in Llanybydder. English is however spoken by everyone. 

While Welsh s an ancient language, like English it has developed over the years. It was largely a spoken rather than a written language and spellings have changed over the years. Many placenames have been anglicised e.g. Cardigan rather than Ceredigion, though the Welsh for Cardigan town is Aberteifi (mouth of the Teifi). Despite its tongue twisting vowels, Welsh is phonetically straightforward, with the emphasis on the penultimate syllable of a word unless there is a circumflex over the last vowel when that is emphasised. The difficulty for many in the language is the mutation of the first consonant of a word depending upon the word preceding it, for example "mawr" meaning big or great becomes "fawr" , so it is Fforest Fawr but Crug Mawr. There are many examples of an English word being translated simply by changing the spelling to match its pronunciation in Welsh, for example Taxi becomes Tacsi as there is no "X" in Welsh and Ambulance becomes Ambiwlans. In many cases, words have been invented over recent years to match new words in English or in specialist terms for sports where there would have been no Welsh equivalent. There are differences between North and South Wales in pronunciation.

Just as in England English spoken by the Welsh has numerous different accents. Because many people in the Teifi valley have Welsh as their first language, their English tends to be spoken in a very lyrical accent. 

 

Crime is amongst the lowest in the United Kingdom. Agriculture and tourism are the major areas of employment in the valley, with tourists enjoying the scenery and fishing or making visits to the attractive coves and beaches of the Pembrokesire and Cardiganshire coasts.

The rich farmland near Llanybydder

The Teifi is a valley of contrasts, from the openness of Tregaron Bog, through the rich farmland of Lampeter and Llanybydder, the meanderings at Newcastle Emlyn, the wooded gorges at Cenarth and Cilgerran to the estuary at Cardigan and St Dogmaels. In parts it is unspoilt like the Dordogne as it was fifty years ago,  before it became overrun by tourists.

 

Cenarth

Lechryd Bridge

Below Cilgerran

The Estuary at St Dogmaels

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Site and Photographs Geoffrey Davies 2008-10  Contact info@enchantedtowy.co.uk