Coordinates: 52°14′31″N 4°15′33″W / 52.24204°N 4.25921°W / 52.24204; -4.25921
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Houses on the quay
Aberaeron is located in Ceredigion
Location within Ceredigion
OS grid referenceSN458628
Principal area
Preserved county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtSA46
Dialling code01545
FireMid and West Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
52°14′31″N 4°15′33″W / 52.24204°N 4.25921°W / 52.24204; -4.25921

Aberaeron (Welsh pronunciation: [abɛˈrei̯rɔn]), previously anglicised as Aberayron, is a town, community and electoral ward in Ceredigion, Wales. Located on the coast between Aberystwyth and Cardigan, its resident population was 1,274 in the 2021 census.[1]

The name of the town is Welsh for "mouth of the Aeron". It is derived from the Middle Welsh aer (slaughter),[2] which gave its name to Aeron, believed by some to have been a Welsh god of war.[3]

One of the main Ceredigion County Council office sites is located in Aberaeron.

History and design[edit]

County Hall, Aberaeron (known as Aberaeron Town hall until 1910)

In 1800, there was no significant coastal settlement here.[4] The present town was planned and developed from 1805 by the Rev. Alban Thomas Jones Gwynne. He built a harbour which operated as a port and supported a shipbuilding industry in the 19th century. A group of workmen's houses and a school were built on the harbour's north side, but these were reclaimed by the sea.[5] Steam ships continued to visit the harbour until the 1920s but, in later years, it evolved into a small half-tide harbour for recreational craft. The estuary is also crossed by a wooden pedestrian bridge.

Crafts were an important part of village life in the 19th century. Information recorded in trade directories shows that in 1830, although it was not yet fully developed as a port, in Aberaeron there were one woollen manufacturer, one bootmaker, one baker, one corn miller, one blacksmith, one blacksmith and shovel maker, two shipwrights, one carpenter and one hatmaker.[6]

In the late 1890s, a hand-powered cable car, the Aeron Express, was built to ferry workers across the harbour when the bridge was demolished by floods. The structure was recreated in 1988 as a tourist attraction that ran until the end of summer 1994, when it was closed under health and safety regulations.[7]

The architecture of Aberaeron is unusual for this part of rural Wales, being constructed around a principal square, Alban Square, of Regency style buildings grouped around the harbour. This was the work of Edward Haycock Sr., an architect from Shrewsbury. His designs also included the former Aberaeron Town Hall, which was completed in 1846 and became County Hall, Aberaeron in 1910.[8] Some of the architecture was of sufficient interest to feature on British postage stamps.[5]

Aberaeron Golf Club was founded in 1923. It continued until the Second World War, when the course was turned over to agriculture to aid the war effort. Post-war attempts to reinstate the club failed.[9]

Castell Cadwgan[edit]

Castell Cadwgan, a 12th-century ringwork fortification around a probable wooden structure, was by the shore at Aberaeron, but has long since been claimed by the sea. Traces of the structure remain in mounds of earth and the remains of the enclosure bank.[10][11]

Henry Gastineau's Wales Illustrated in a Series of Views (1810) mentions the site: "Near the town are some remains of an ancient fortress called Castell Cadwgan, thought to have been erected by King Cadwgan, about the year 1148."[citation needed] However, Cadwgan is recorded as having been killed in 1111. Welsh Minstrelsy: Containing the Land beneath the Sea (1824) says: "Just where Sarn Ddewi juts out from the shore is an old fort, called Castell Cadwgan."[citation needed]

Local government[edit]

Ceredigion County Council offices in Aberaeron

Aberaeron is a relatively new settlement and lacked borough status like other towns in the county. From 1894 until the local government reorganisation of 1974, the town was classified as an urban district.

The first representative for Aberayron on Cardiganshire County Council was John Morgan Howell, who became a prominent figure in the political life of the county. Following his election in January 1889, bonfires were lit to celebrate his victory.[12]

Since 1995, the town has been part of the Aberaeron and Aberarth ward, electing one councillor to Ceredigion County Council. Since 2008, the ward has been represented by Elizabeth Evans for the Welsh Liberal Democrats.[13][14]


The town and surrounding areas are served by Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron, a bilingual secondary comprehensive school. Although there is no provision for higher education in the town, three university towns are within easy travelling range: Aberystwyth (13 mi (21 km) away) and the Lampeter (16 mi (26 km)), and Carmarthen (33 mi (53 km)) sites of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Location and features[edit]

Aberaeron is located between Cardigan and Aberystwyth on the A487, at a junction with the A482 leading south-east to the university town of Lampeter. It lies on the Ceredigion Coast Path, part of the Wales Coast Path.

The shoreline consists of generally steep storm beaches of pebbles, although fine sand is visible at low tide levels. Aberaeron South Beach was awarded the Blue Flag rural beach award in 2005.[15] The Harbourmaster Hotel is nearby.

The climate is mild and temperate, largely conditioned by the proximity of the relatively shallow sea. However, Aberaeron experiences occasional winter frosts when cold air descends the Aeron valley from the upland parts of Ceredigion.

Dylan Thomas's links with Aberaeron, New Quay and Talsarn have been documented.[16] The Dylan Thomas Trail runs through Ceredigion, passing through Aberaeron and ending in New Quay.[17]

There are 248 listed buildings in the Aberaeron community, most in the town itself.[18]

An annual festival of Welsh ponies and cobs is held on Alban Square Field every August.[19] A life-sized statue of a Welsh cob stallion, sculpted by David Mayer, was donated to the town in 2005 by the festival. An annual carnival takes place on the Monday bank holiday in August, with a procession of floats and a carnival queen moving from the quay to Alban Square.[20][21]


In 1911, a branch line opened to Aberaeron

In 1866, transport in Lampeter was greatly improved with the opening of the railway linking Carmarthen and Aberystwyth. In 1911, a branch line, the Lampeter, Aberayron and New Quay Light Railway, opened to Aberaeron. Following the nationalisation of the railways, the passenger service to Aberaeron ceased in 1951; the last freight train left the town on 2 April 1965.[22]

A regular bus service links the town with Aberystwyth, Lampeter and Carmarthen, with several daily through services to Swansea, Bridgend and Cardiff. Another service connects with New Quay, Aberporth and Cardigan from Monday to Saturday.[23]

Notable people[edit]

Geraint Evans, 1974

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Aberaeron (Community, United Kingdom) - Population Statistics, Charts, Map and Location".
  2. ^ Sheard, K. M. (2011). Llewellyn's Complete Book of Names. Llewellyn Worldwide. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-738-72368-6.
  3. ^ p.144 A Wander Around the Coast of Wales by Steve Plant, FastPrint Publishing, 2014
  4. ^ Aberaeron Archived 2014-08-26 at the Wayback Machine at Ceredigion County Council website
  5. ^ a b Aberaeron 1807–2007: Aberaeron Town Trail, celebrating our heritage Archived March 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Heritage Treftadaeth, 2007 (under building 1 - General Storehouse)
  6. ^ Jenkins, J. Geraint. Ceredigion: Interpreting an Ancient County. Gwasg Careg Gwalch (2005) pg. 83.
  7. ^ Price M. R. C. "The Lampeter, Aberayron and New Quay Light Railway", Oakwood Press 2011, p.104
  8. ^ Lloyd, Thomas; Orbach, Julian; Scourfield, Robert; Avent, Richard (2006). Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion (Buildings of Wales Series). Yale University Press. p. 394. ISBN 978-0300101799.
  9. ^ “Aberaeron Golf Club”, “Golf’s Missing Links”.
  10. ^ "Aberaeron". Cymru Hanes (in Welsh). BBC.
  11. ^ Lewis, Samuel (1849). "Aberaeron, or Aberayron (Aberaeron)". A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. British History Online.
  12. ^ "Cardiganshire County Council". Cambrian News. 25 January 1889. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  13. ^ "Ceredigion County Council Election Results 1995-2012" (PDF). The Elections Centre. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Ceredigion County Council Election 2017: The Results". Cambrian News. 5 May 2017. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  15. ^ Blue Flag website Archived October 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Thomas, David N. "Dylan Thomas: A Farm, Two Mansions and a Bungalow". Seren 2000.
  17. ^ Thomas, David N. "The Dylan Thomas Trail". Y Lolfa, 2002
  18. ^ "British Listed Buildings: Aberaeron". Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  19. ^ www.aberaeronfesival.co.uk
  20. ^ Aberaeron Carnival at aberaeron.info website
  21. ^ Aberaeron Carnival 2009 pictures at BBC West Wales
  22. ^ "Pictures show rural railway at end of age of steam". BBC News. 21 March 2023. Retrieved 23 March 2023.
  23. ^ "Aberaeron Bus Services". Bus Times. 2023. Retrieved 9 August 2023.

External links[edit]