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Visiting the Hafod Estate

A visitor walking past the Gothic Arcade, Hafod Estate, Ceredigion, Wales
A visitor walking past the Gothic Arcade, Hafod Estate | © National Trust Images / Paul Harris

Hafod is one the finest examples of a ‘picturesque style’ landscape from the 18th century. Hidden in the wild and tranquil landscape of mid-Wales, the estate was once the thriving home of the benevolent Johnes family– often described as a ‘paradise’ for those who lived there. Although the original mansion does not exist today, buildings and structures from the original estate still survive, revealing hidden stories and tales from a time gone by.  

Ongoing forestry works

Ground preparation works is ongoing in the area around the main footpath into the estate. We expect this work to last until around 23 May. Footpath closures are in place, please follow local diversions.

Walking at Hafod  

There are five waymarked trails to explore at Hafod, all varying in length and terrain. As part of this historic designed landscape, the walks were created to celebrate an ever-changing sequence of views, with cascading waterfalls, mossy glades and bridges over rocky gorges to be discovered.

You’ll be walking on the same historic circular routes that were created by Thomas Johnes in his first years at Hafod, they include the more strenuous Gentleman’s Walk and the Lady’s Walk running alongside the river Ystwyth.

Bluebells at Hafod

Every Spring we’re treated to a dazzling display of bluebells at Hafod. You’ll find them dotted around the estate, at their best on the Coed Hafod walk with smaller displays on the Bedford Monument walk. As you explore Coed Hafod you’ll also be treated to the sweet scent of azaleas, hidden amongst the trees.

Gardens at Hafod

Nestled at the heart of the estate is Mrs Johnes’ Flower Garden. A peaceful resting space to be discovered as you explored the Lady’s Walk.

This garden, once lost to a forestry plantation, was restored by the Hafod Trust with the collection of plants reflecting the plant species that would have originally been planted here by Mrs Johnes.

Hidden on a rocky outcrop near the Bedford Monument lies Mariamne’s Garden, a garden haven built for their daughter to enjoy her gardening passion off the beaten track.

Cavern Cascade

A much loved feature at Hafod and key to Thomas Johnes’ designed landscape features.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Cavern Cascade remains closed due to rockfall above the entrance to the tunnel, please adhere to the closure and local signage in place.

Visit the Church

The Church stands as a key landmark within the estate, adjacent to the car park. Built by Thomas Johnes himself in 1803, it’s the only substantial structure surviving from that time. Today the Church is home to an exhibition showcasing the history of the estate; open for visiting daily from Easter to September (10:30-16:30), services are held on the second Sunday each month.

Recent tree felling at Hafod

When visiting Hafod you might notice that some areas look different to the last time you were here, or, if visiting for the first time, you’ll notice that there’s been a lot of tree felling on site.

Hafod is part of a working forest; we work in partnership with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) who manage the working forest.

Over the last year NRW have had fell a number of trees at Hafod. Most recently, an area of Noble Fir trees near the main path into Hafod from the car park. These trees, and others within the estate, were affected by tree diseases and needed to be felled for safety reasons.

In those areas that have been clear felled, you’ll notice natural regeneration and these areas will be managed as a natural woodland area and will also be re-planted with native trees.

If you’ve any enquiries with regards to the tree felling, you can contact NRW on 0300 065 3000 or enquiries@naturalresources.wales

If you’d like to talk to the local team at Hafod, they can be contacted on 01974 282568 or hafod@nationaltrust.org.uk

Nature and Wildlife at Hafod 

Keep an eye out for otters by the river – if you’re quiet enough you may also spot a kingfisher by the water or wagtails and dippers dancing along the river.  

Look above to spot birds of prey circling in the sky above the trees, such as goshawks which can be identified by their broad wings and lighter colour. Buzzards (with a curved tail) or red kites (with a forked tail) can be heard calling across the valley as they swoop across the forestry. Elusive pine martens can also be spotted roaming around the woodlands, searching for food, preparing for ready for new litters in the spring, alongside roe deer and hares.  

Hafod is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), rich in biodiversity. The meadows are host to a wide range of waxcap fungi, and the steep sided valley creates the perfect environment for lichens, ferns, mosses and fungi.

Highland cattle grazing on the Hafod Estate, Ceredigion, Wales
Highland cattle grazing on the Hafod Estate, Ceredigion | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris