Much of the Cardigan Bay coastline is designated as Heritage Coast with many sections cared for by the National Trust.
The coastline has numerous beaches ranging from secluded sandy coves, through long sweeping exposed sandy beaches to traditional seaside resort and fishing villages.
Cardigan Bay is also an outstanding and internationally important area for marine wildlife. It is home to some of Britains rarest birds and also a resident population of over 100 bottlenose dolphins as well as porpoises and grey seals. These can be seen on boat trips offered at various locations or even from the beaches and cliffs.
Bottlenose dolphins may be seen right around the Bay, but are most frequent off southern Ceredigion between Aberaeron and the Teifi estuary. They often feed off headlands such as New Quay Head and excellent views can be obtained of them from the cliff top, particularly with binoculars, or from the harbour. .
Single bottlenose dolphins, usually males, frequent particular localities and seem to seek out human companionship. Claims have been made that swimming with such animals can help to cure depression and other ailments. It must be stressed however, that the Cardigan Bay Dolphins are completely wild, and while they sometimes do approach boats and may bow-ride with them, On no account should attempts be made to join them in the water. Chasing after dolphins in boats may drive them away, and individual animals have been injured by boat propellers. If dolphins want to visit or play with your boat, they will come to you..
Threats to the dolphins in the Cardigan Bay include acoustic disturbance from the high-frequency' engines used on speed-boats and jet skis, and increasingly, from the seismic explosions used by the oil industry during exploration. Even if they are not directly affected by the latter, the dolphins prey may be driven out of the area when seismic testing is being carried out.
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, cetaceans, porpoises, dolphins and whales, are protected species. Anyone found guilty of their ill-treatment faces a six-month prison sentence.
Dolphins can be seen from the shore along the length of Cardigan Bay - from Cardigan to the Dyfi Estuary. The best locations, however, tend to be in the south of Ceredigion and the best times of year are April - September.
One of the most popular viewpoints is New Quay. A crowd gathered on the village quayside is often a sign that the dolphins are in. They come quite close to the harbour wall, feeding around a reef not far from shore.
Another good watching place is the New Quay lookout, a renovated coastguard's hut overlooking Bird Rock... so even if you don't see a dolphin, you're likely to see all kinds of seabirds here..
When you make a visit to Cardigan Bay, click on West Wales Cottages website. There are places to stay and places to visit. Including the wild Dolphins in the Bay.