O daw meinwar fy nghariad
I dy dail a wnaeth Duw Dad,
Dyhuddiant fydd y gwydd gwiw,
Dihuddygl o dy heddiw.
If my beautiful love, will follow me
To this house of Gods making,
What joy we’ll find amongst the green,
Our unspoilt home amid the leaves.
From "Y Deildy" (The House of Leaves) Dafydd Ap Gwilym
The earliest settlement in this area was the Iron Age hillfort of Dinas Bran, commanding the heights above the steep sided, wooded valley of the River Bran. Over the centuries its defensive banks have been ploughed away.
The mediaeval settlement was at Cryngae, also on high ground. In the 14th century it was the home of Llywelyn ap Gwilym Fychan, the Constable of Newcastle Emlyn Castle. He was the uncle of one of Wales's greatest poets - Dafydd ap Gwilym - who probably spent much of his youth in Emlyn.
Waungilwen itself developed as a settlement of weavers' cottages strung along the road from the Common of Gilwen down to the bridge over the Afon Bran. It's a short walk to Cryngae looking down on the remains of mills and woollen factories thickly clustered here on the River Bran. The former Cambrian Mills are truly on a 'Factory' scale.
There's a network of paths between the mills and houses. It's worth remembering that many of them were in use long before all the streams and rivers could be safely crossed by bridges. If you take the trail north west from Cambrian Mills via Cryngae to Dolhaidd and thus into the Teifi valley, you'll notice how wide it is. Room enough for carts and droves of cattle as well as travellers on horse-back, or on foot - and it looks as though they had to ford the river twice to get to their destination.