Look up ‘hinterland’ in the dictionary and you find ‘remote’ and ‘beyond what is visible or known’.

Not only is that the geographical term for the raw landscape falling between the coast and mountains of mid-Wales but fans of the hit TV series Hinterland will recognise it, too.

The Taff version of Nordic noir follows monosyllabic Welsh sleuth DCI Mathias’ attempts to solve murder and cope with his own troubled past. But despite the lead actor’s best efforts, the real star of the show is Ceredigion, where filming takes place.

Stretching from Cardigan Bay to the Cambrian Mountains, Ceredigion has 50 miles of coastline, much of it Blue-Flag sandy beaches.

With forests, moorland and mountains, it’s a paradise for surfers, dolphin watchers and those who choose scenery over sun.

As a long-term fan of this part of Wales and a recent Hinterland enthusiast, armed with the new Legends of the West app, developed by tourism body Discover Ceredigion, I set off for Aberystwyth.

Famous for its university, rain-lashed pier and the National Library of Wales, this town is the centre of TV’s Hinterland’s fictitious universe and is also Ceredigion’s biggest town.

The Legends app is a cunning device which uses GPS and beacon location technology to encourage you to explore locations linked with legendary and historic characters.

These are a slightly bizarre mix, ranging from Welsh warrior Owen Glyndwr, poet Taliesin and St David to DCI Mathias – but then again, on the upside, nobody will be able to complain there’s nothing to suit them.

One of the best things about the app, particularly if you have children in tow, is that it’s designed like a game, so as you track down each location it counts towards completing the full set.

There’s no prize but it’s strangely addictive to see that little tick appear in all of the boxes.

The app pointed us towards the sea front and one of the series’ most recognisable sites which is the ‘police station’ location where Mathias and his team hang out.

The grade-ll listed building, once used for council offices, is covered in scaffolding ready to be transformed into a four-star hotel and spa but is still clearly recognisable from the series. From there, we headed to the pier, also used as a backdrop for the show.

The National Library is definitely worth making time for, as there are always several exhibitions to view, including one on Arthur and Welsh mythology which was running when we visited, along with Legends, a collection of portraits of famous people from Gavin and Stacy and Stella actress Ruth Jones, and footballer Ryan Giggs to David Lloyd George. From Aberystwyth, the Legends’ Hinterland trail takes you further north and inland on mountain roads that would make the perfect backdrops for car advertisements, all blind bends and suicide drops on one side.

Eventually, you reach the dramatically named Devil’s Bridge, where the first episode of the first series of Hinterland was filmed.

Here, where the River Mynach has carved a deep ravine creating a 300-foot waterfall, the devil built a bridge, according to legend.

All I can say is that Lucifer must have great taste, because this has to be one of the most dramatic locations in the British Isles. And while we are on the subject of temptation, there’s a hotel at the top which serves a truly wicked Welsh afternoon tea.

Other unmissable spots on the Hinterland trail are the dunes and marshes of Borth and Ynyslas.

Borth has its own three-mile sandy beach, a favourite with surfers and the rail station hosts a tiny and quirky museum where we watched a five-minute video on the history of the area, which turned out to be surprisingly entertaining.

Just a mile away is the small village of Ynyslas, which means ‘blue island’ and its sandy dunes, bird sanctuary and prehistoric submerged forest only glimpsed at low tide, which is said to have been the birthplace of Taliesin.

There are many tales of witches and ghosts on this bog land and although there’s nothing eerie when it is packed with holiday makers picnicking and walking their dogs, it is certainly hauntingly beautiful. App-driven legend hunting is thirsty and hungry work, so it was lucky we had a five-star hotel to head back to.

Gwesty Cmyru is in a prime position on Aberystwyth’s seafront and has been designed to take full advantage of that. Our room had a massive bay window looking out across Cardigan Bay and comfy armchairs facing it, which made perfect sense once you realised just how compelling that view was.

Owned by former BBC producers Huw Roberts and his wife Beth, it has eight rooms, each decorated individually. Huw ended up running a guest house after a pub session when Beth asked him what he really, really wanted to do. He confessed ‘run my own guest house’ and was shocked when she began searching online the next day.

They stumbled upon this Edwardian gem and refurbished it to create a contemporary but warm and friendly place.

Fluffy white bathrobes and matching slippers, rain shower-head, a corner bath and upmarket toiletries are all there... and then there’s that view.

Clearly the couple are taking no chances, as they have made sure the hotel restaurant a haven for foodies.

An old friend who lives locally told me it has a reputation for being one of the best places to eat in Ceredigion. Dinner was delicious and our breakfasts on both mornings were superb – especially the Welsh rarebit laced with beer.

Even DCI Mathias must stop that dark brooding to eat, surely?


Follow in the footsteps of some west Welsh icons with the Legends of the West app.

• Go to discoverceredigion.co.uk

• Google Play Store: Search for Legends of the West

• App Store: Search for Legends of the West


The five-star Gwesty Cymru has eight rooms and an award winning restaurant at the centre of Aberystwyth’s Victorian promenade. Go to gwestycymru.com