noble river Teivi flows here, and abounds with the finest salmon, more than any
other river of Wales; it has a productive fishery, which is situated on the
summit of a rock, at a place called Canarch Mawr*, the ancient residence of St
Ludoc, where the river, falling from a great height, forms a cataract, which the
salmon ascend, by leaping from the bottom to the top of a rock.... * (now known
by the name of Kenarth, which
may be derived from Cefn y garth - the back of the wear, a ridge of land behind
church dedicated to St Ludoc, the mill, bridge, salmon leap, an orchard with a
delightful garden, all stand together on a small plot of ground.'
The Itinerary Through Wales and The Description of Wales by Giraldus Cambrensis (1188)
Cenarth is a beauty spot on the Teifi wth its falls and riverside walks. The river emerges from a wooded valley, flowing over low falls and emerging beyond the 18th century bridge into a broader more tranquil valley setting. (Note: if possible park on the southern, Carmarthenshire side of the river where parking is free. The park on the Cardiganshire bank is overly expensive.)
In autumn salmon can be seen leaping the the falls
The bridge at Cenarth crosses between the Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire banks of the River Teifi. Built in 1788 by architect David Edwards, son of William Edwards the designer of the old bridge at Pontypridd. It is single carriage but still strong enough to carry the heaviest loads. Note the hole in the bridge designed to ease the load on the main arches, a feature developed for the bridge at Pontypridd, for many years the world's longest single arch bridge. It also provides added relief when the river is in flood. Previous bridges existed at this point as was described by Gerald of Wales on his tour of Wales in 1188.
Coracles were traditionally used to fish for salmon, but are now restricted to exhibitions at Cenarth, though can still be seen fishing further downstream. Each of the rivers had a slightly different design of coracle. The National Coracle Museum stands on the Carmarthenshire side of the river in a mill which has its origins in the 6th century when there was a monastery in the village.
Ffynnon Llawddog, St Llawddog's Spring, was regarded as a holy well. Situated on the bank of the Teifi in Cenarth, the cover is modern. St Llawddog ( St Ludoc) lived in the 7th century. A son of the King of Usk he was, according to tradition, responsible for many miracles. He is chiefly associated with North Wales where he was Abbot of Bardsey. There are a number of churches dedicated to him in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire including Cenarth and Cilgerran.
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