The starting gun has been fired in the marathon to rejuvenate Cardigan Castle.

An options appraisal - which will be looking at all potential end uses for the castle - is now underway under the auspices of local building preservation trust Cadwgan.

Leading the study is Cadwgan's chosen architect Niall Phillips of Bristol.

Earlier this month Mr Phillips and his team of consultants spent two days in Cardigan touring the castle and speaking to castle owners Ceredigion County Council and Cadwgan trustees.

For the past few weeks a team from Niall Phillips Architects have been canvassing opinions about the future of the castle - and asking what locals want to see happening with the 11th century castle and the Georgian house within its walls.

Mr Phillips will be reprting back to Cadwgan at regular intervals and there are plans for at least two public consultations over the coming months.

"The support of the public is crucial. For a successful outcome we need to demonstrate that this project has wide and full public support," said Mr Phillips.

If all goes well, several potential uses should be shortlisted by the spring with the final favoured option being worked on over the following few weeks before being submitted for Heritage Lottery funding in the early autumn.

"It is a very exciting time for all of us," said Cadwgan chairman Jann Tucker.

"As a trust all we want is for the castle to have a viable and sustainable future. We have every confidence that Niall and his team will leave no stone unturned."