Discover Newcastle Emlyn (Castell Newydd Emlyn)

Newcastle Emlyn
As the name suggests, Newcastle Emlyn is named in two parts, one which refers to the castle and the other to the area it was known as in ancient Wales, Emlyn. The castle is a medieval structure built at a strategic point alongside the River Teifi. Unusually, the castle was not believed to be built by Norman conquerors but by the Welsh nobleman Maredudd ap Rhys around 1240. It had a turbulent history, passing from Welsh hands into English and back again, during the many Welsh uprisings between the 13th and 15th Centuries. During the English civil war, it held out as a Royalist stronghold for Charles I but was eventually blown up by Oliver Cromwell’s men in 1648, and the resulting rubble was taken by the locals to build houses in the town. Today the castle lies in ruins and it is possible to walk around the site and along the riverside walk nearby. Intriguingly, legend has it that it was at this site, during the town fair, that the last dragon in Wales was slain.

During the 18th and 19th Centuries, Newcastle Emlyn became a thriving market town. It was prominent in the local woollen industry, the mills deriving their power from the rapidly flowing River Teifi. At nearby Drefach Felindre you can visit the National Wool Museum to explore the importance of this industry to the local area. The first ever printing press in Wales was established in nearby Adpar, in the early 18th Century. The interesting Cawdor Hall sits prominently along the high street, built in 1892 it started its life as a market hall for the town. It has recently been refurbished as a location for small business units and on the top floor you can find The Attic Theatre, an intimate 84 seated theatre.

Nowadays, Newcastle Emlyn retains its tradition as a market town sitting around 11 miles east of Cardigan and some 17 miles north west of Carmarthen. The cattle market is still held every week and brings the town to life with the noise of bleating sheep, lowing cows and the calls of the auctioneer. There are a wide-range of shops in the town centre, servicing the everyday, practical needs of the community. For example there are banks, hairdressers, two pharmacies, jewellers, a couple of convenience stores, a post office and a butcher. Scattered between these are many eclectic gifts shops, antique stores and craft stores. Newcastle Emlyn is an oasis for foodies with a collection of independent restaurants, eateries, cafés and take-aways.

Conveniently, the town has a Secondary School and a Primary School, a Drs Surgery, two dentists, a vet and several garages.

The surrounding countryside has a lot to offer. The River Teifi offers scenic walks and picnic spots and nearby is the picturesque village of Cenarth, which borders the Counties of Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. Its 18th Century bridge offers spectacular views over the River Teifi and the waterfalls of Cenarth Falls. An autumn / winter highlight is witnessing the natural wonder of leaping salmon, fighting to get upriver to spawn. Alternatively, you can visit the National Coracle Centre, for a trip back in time, to see how this ancient boat was used in the fast flowing Teifi River.

Nearby is the Norman castle of Cilgerran, which is a well preserved example of the castles built by the Norman invaders in the 1100s. It is now managed by the National Trust in the guardianship of Cadw (the historic environment service of the Welsh Government). The castle commands a well thought out position above a gorge in the River Teifi and the stream of the Plysog. A visit to the site demonstrates that it was an excellent spot to defend the fortress from invaders. The breathtaking views from the high vantage point, encompassing the valley below, confirms this.

More Info

For more information on the history of Newcastle Emlyn please click here.

For additional information on things to do in Newcastle Emlyn please click here.

Public Transport

Traveline Cymru –460 bus route from Carmarthen to Cardigan, via Newcastle Emlyn.