The Cistercian monks of the Middle Ages were quite the entrepreneurs. They might have sought wild and lonely places to practise their religion but, like eager developers, they took advantage of this rural location near Tregaron to amass vast amounts of land. They needed the space to farm thousands of income-generating sheep. They also built roads and bridges which brought pilgrims and traders to the abbey. A shrewd move.
Strata Florida quickly became not only a site of huge religious significance in Wales but also a natural home for Welsh culture. Dafydd ap Gwilym, one of the best known of Wales's medieval poets, is buried here under a yew tree.
You only need admire the majesty of the huge carved west doorway to appreciate how impressive this building must once have been. The plan of the church can still be clearly traced and, rather remarkably, some of the original richly decorated tiles from the abbey are still intact. One of them, 'Man with the Mirror', depicts a medieval gentleman admiring himself in a mirror!
Getting there - Road: Minor roads from Pontrhydfendigaid, reached from B4340. Rail: Aberystwyn 12mls/20kms Shrewsbury - Aberystwyth line. Bike: NCN Route No 82 (2mls/4kms).