Discovering the heart of Wales: Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion

April 2024 | GlobalWelsh Connector Hub, Arfor, Featured


Welcome to the first instalment in our series exploring Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.  As part of the launch of the Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion Connector Hub, we will be exploring the rich history, vibrant culture and pioneering ecosystem of two remarkable Welsh counties. Nestled in the heart of Wales, these regions offer a blend of breathtaking natural beauty, ancient traditions and a strong sense of culture and modern innovation.

Join us over the next few weeks as we take you on a journey through four key areas: their natural beauty and geography, cultural heritage and language, main settlements and architectural landmarks, and the evolving economy and future prospects. This article provides a snapshot of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion but given the dynamic nature of the regions, some details may change as new developments arise.

Ceredigion: A coastal gem with ancient roots

Ceredigion, known for its rugged coastlines, rolling hills, and deep-rooted Welsh culture, spans from the western shores along Cardigan Bay to the upland areas of Plynlimon. This county is a tapestry of picturesque towns, each with its unique charm. Ceredigion is a place where history and modernity converge; the Georgian architecture of Aberaeron and the maritime heritage of Aberporth, the academic and cultural hub of Aberystwyth, and the ancient wonders of Cardigan. With 50 miles of accessible coastline via Wales Coast Path, it’s a haven for nature lovers and adventurers alike. Despite its wide expanse, Ceredigion is sparsely populated, home to around 71,500 people, with nearly half speaking Welsh, preserving the linguistic heritage of the region.

Carmarthenshire: Where history meets nature

Carmarthenshire boasts a landscape as diverse as its history, with Bannau Brycheiniog (the Brecon Beacons) National Park and its ‘Dark Skies’ and the wildlife-rich Carmarthen Bay defining its natural beauty. The county’s settlements, from the Roman-founded Carmarthen, the industrial heritage-rich Llanelli, to the market towns of Ammanford and Llandeilo, tell stories of a past intertwined with the progress of the present. Kidwelly offers medieval castle views, while Newcastle Emlyn’s market charm captivates visitors. As the third largest county in Wales by area, Carmarthenshire is predominantly rural, offering a peaceful retreat to its estimated 190,000 residents, of whom nearly half are Welsh speakers.

A legacy of economy and culture

Both counties share a legacy of transitioning economies. Ceredigion, once an industrial hub, now thrives on farming and tourism, celebrating its culture through festivals and local heritage sites. Carmarthenshire, with its archaeological richness and agricultural foundation, has diversified into manufacturing, retail, and services, drawing visitors to its natural and historical sites like the National Botanic Gardens and Laugharne, the beloved retreat of Dylan Thomas.

Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire: Pioneers of a sustainable and innovative future

In the heart of Wales, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire are leading the way towards a brighter, more sustainable future. These regions are embracing innovation and sustainability at every turn. Here’s a closer look at how these Welsh counties are setting examples for the rest of the UK and beyond.

Renewable energy revolution in Ceredigion

Ceredigion is at the forefront of renewable energy innovation, with a bold and clear ambition aimed at achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 while promoting sustainable development. The county is exploring a variety of renewable energy sources, from wind farms and solar parks to hydroelectric projects and biomass.

Agricultural innovation

Agriculture remains a cornerstone of Ceredigion’s economy, and here too, innovation leads the way. The region is adopting precision farming techniques, agritech solutions, and sustainable practices to enhance productivity. Success stories abound, from dairy farms embracing technology to organic farming and diversification, setting a new standard for the integration of technology with agricultural and biological sciences.

Technological advances and economic recovery

Aberystwyth University is a beacon of innovation, particularly in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and data science. This academic excellence feeds into the local economy, supporting tech startups through coworking spaces, incubators, and innovation hubs. The Innovation campus, supports companies and facilitates the launch of products and services into the market quicker, bolstering their competitive advantage and chances of success. Carmarthenshire County Council is tackling the challenges posed by Brexit and Covid-19 head-on by establishing a Business Advisory Group and securing funding through various programs, it is paving the way for a robust economic recovery.

The Swansea Bay City Region initiative

Carmarthenshire’s collaboration with the Swansea Bay City Region showcases a commitment to regional development. The Swansea Bay City Deal aims to create over 9,000 skilled jobs and generate significant economic growth by 2033. This partnership is a model of how local authorities can work together to boost regional economies and productivity.

Supporting a circular economy

Both counties are making strides in promoting a circular economy. Carmarthenshire offers the Circular Economy Innovation Communities programme, supporting businesses and organisations in developing sustainable practices and working towards Net Zero goals. This initiative, along with the Carmarthenshire Rural Enterprise Fund, provides crucial support for businesses focused on innovation and sustainability.

Promoting the Welsh language and culture

Yr Egin in Carmarthenshire is a catalyst for the creative industries and wider Welsh language and culture. By fostering collaboration among various partners, Yr Egin is ensuring the regeneration and strength of the Welsh language, contributing significantly to the cultural and economic vitality of the region.

Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire are demonstrating that sustainability, innovation, and community can go hand in hand. Their efforts in renewable energy, agriculture, technology, and cultural preservation are not just about making a difference today but also about ensuring a prosperous, sustainable future for generations to come.

This piece aims to highlight key aspects and current initiatives but cannot capture every aspect of ongoing changes. For the latest updates and more detailed information, please refer to local resources and if you have insights, questions, or would like to get involved in the conversation, we encourage you to reach out and join the discussion.

If you are from either Carmarthenshire or Ceredigion and want to know more about the opportunities on offer, why not join the Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion Connector Hub.



Sign up to receive our free news bulletin

Register today if you would like to receive a regular email containing the latest Observatory articles.

Choose a language

You have successfully subscribed

Share This