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The Guardian Weekly - 2021-06-11

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ABERAERON

Diversions

Ceredigion, Wales John Gilbey

South of Aberystwyth, the great shallow curve of Cardigan Bay is edged by steep cliffs and low banks of rounded pebble. Before the coming of the railways, there was a strong maritime trade along this coast. In 1807, Reverend Alban Thomas Jones Gwynne built a harbour at Aberaeron, and the old core of the settlement was expanded, with elegant Georgian buildings. Across the harbour, a low rock outcrop rises from the water – marked by a warning post. Storms have built a bank of pebble and shingle abutting the harbour wall, colonised now with salt-tolerant plants. While the managed turf of the harbourside is limited to clumps of buttercup and the odd violet, this patch of random wilderness sports a wider range of species, including sea beet and red campion. On the landward side, shrubs and small trees have emerged. Stands of gorse, attracting pollinating insects with their year-round show of flowers, are increasingly entangled with the ubiquitous bramble stems. Left undisturbed, this dynamic habitat should form a natural barrier to help soften the impact of the winter storms.

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