Passing Places on the Ceredigion Art Trail
                                 No.1: A snapshot of Llanon & Llansantffraed   .

Welcome to a new series of features about artists & places around the beautiful County of Ceredigion 
Walking: Easy flat path to the cliffs for pram, wheelchair & bicycle. Narrow tarmac road to the church

Leaving the beautiful little Regency Town & Harbour of Aberaeron & heading north on the A487 Coast Road you will first drop down & cross Aberarth bridge before climbing through the coastal sheep fields which open up to reveal the great swathe of Cardigan Bay. Stop in the layby if you can & like thousands before you take a photo of the northern Bay right out along the Llyn Peninsular to  Bardsey Island.

Directly ahead is the 152 metre Blaenplwyf transmitting station just south of Aberystwyth & nestling in the bay below are two villages, separated only by a stones throw. First Llanon ( Llan non ) which is cut in half by the coast road & secondly Llansantffraed with the church spire. These places have a facinating history & it is are well worth pausing on your trail to investigate. From the rough coastline it is difficult to image Cistercian monks maintaining fish pools to support Strata Florida Abbey, 18 miles away, or to visualize a busy shipbuilding centre employing over 100 men.
Not easy to park in the village so as you thread you way through the parked cars in Llanon main street take a right turn past the fish & chip ship & pull up in the car park opposite the recently renovated 19th century White Swan Inn.  Thus replenished with Ale & fries, carefully cross the main road & take the lane to the sea past the Premier corner shop. Carry straight on past a mix of houses  & then follow the path through the fields. Notice the well kept children's play area.
At the coast you are joining the Ceredigion Coastal Path which at this section suffers from coastal erosion so take care.
As you reach the edge of the low cliffs there are metal steps down to the beach. Looking left you may be able to make out
the remains of the medieval fish ponds if the tide is low.

If you turn right along the cliff top the path is grassed & well kept due to the hard work of the villagers.
 Note the tired old wooden shed that will soon topple over the edge. I met the grandaughter of the owner, she herself was a mature lady & she told me that as a child the 'shed' had served refreshments & the sea was a whole field away.
 Such is coastal erosion in this area. In another 50 years perhaps the sea will reach the main street!
Taking advantage of one of the well maintained benches along this stretch gave me the opportunity to reflect on how the majority of local artists mention that their surroundings. the Welsh landscape, is one of the key elements influencing their work.
 Be it Ali Scott's felt work, or painters such as Osian Gwent, Anita Woods, Averil Rees, Chloe, Rodenhurst, Diane Mathias & the many other very talented people on the Trail. The beach is mainly stones & you may be reminded of Penny Samociuk's colourful pebble seascapes or the the quirky pieces produced  'The Shed by the Stream' or 'Coast & Country Arts.'

Carry on strolling north the path cuts inland past the bungalows & a narrow road leads round to Llansantffraed church.
The present 19th Century Church of St Ffraed ( Church of St. Bride ) is great historical importance as it is the site of much older buildings dating back to 12th century but I was drawn to the graveyard where the lives of the local worshipers can be glimpsed by respectfully inspecting the gravestones. Here can be found a fascinating snapshot of the history of people living on & by the sea in peace & in times of war. May we always remember them.

Llanon has a 18th Century cottage which is open to the public a few dates of the year, mainly August. Check for opening times.
It is also the starting point of the Dylan Thomas Trail.
Best Bit: Pick a clear day, buy fish & chips, walk down and eat them on a bench by the sea. Watch the most amazing sunsets.

Words & Pictures: Paul from Dawns's Happy Paintings.   www.tynantuchaf.com
Acknowledgements & further reading: