Cleddau coracle

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The Cleddau coracle is one of the many types that have practically disappeared from existence. There are none in use today, and haven't been since at least the early 1970s, and only a handful of replica coracles exist today, one of which was built thanks to some instructions provided to the Welsh Folk Museum (now St Fagans National Museum of History) in 1977 and resides in their collection. Unlike the Teifi an Tywi, the numbers used for fishing were never more than a handful upstream and downstream of Llawhaden Bridge and fishing had ended by the 1940s.

The local waters were plentiful of fish however, and there are many stories of the poaching that used to take place on the Cleddau. The stories tell of many clashes between coraclers and landowners, resulting in legal action and violent clashes in many cases.

The Cleddau coracle is similar in design to the Teifi, which is not all that surprising as barely 20 miles separates Cilgerran and Llawhaden Bridge. The stern of the boat is flat and square, with a rounded bow that is straighter than the one found on the Teifi. The coracle was constructed with 1 1/2" laths made from sawn ash and 1 1/2" square gunwhales. There are 6 longitudinal laths and 6 transverse laths, 2 of which are behind the seat. The seat is quite wide and solid underneath. Canvas was used to cover the coracle, and pitch for waterproofing.

The paddle is again similar to that belonging to the Teifi coracle but unusual at the same time. The paddle is long and narrow, with a claw grip handle. Unlike the Teifi paddle, the claw grip is transverse to the paddle shaft (the Teifi claw grip is in the same plane to the paddle shaft).

Some content provided from "Coracles of the World" by kind permission of Sir Peter Badge. Photography credits: Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
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