Strata Florida


On an isolated, peaceful site southeast of Aberystwyth lies this ruined Cistercian abbey. The best preserved remnant is a simple, complete arched doorway, decorated with lines like thick rope. At the rear of the site a roof has been added to protect two chapels, which still have some of their 14th-century tiling, including one depicting a man admiring himself in a mirror.

The community at Strata Florida (Ystrad Fflur or 'Valley of the Flowers') was founded in 1164 by a Norman lord named Robert Fitz­Stephen. After Welsh resurgence in the southwest, however, the Cistercians won the support of the Welsh princes, and their abbeys became a focus for literary activity and influence. The present site was established under Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd, and a number of princes of Deheubarth, as well as the great 14th-century poet Dafydd ap Gwilym, are buried here.

The site is a mile down a rural road from the village of Pontrhydfendigaid (pont-reed-ven-dee-guide) on the B4343; the village is 15 miles from Aberystwyth or 9 miles south of Devil's Bridge.