Devil's Bridge (Welsh: Pontafyrnach, meaning "the bridge over the Mynach") is a funny place. Enchanting and very quaint, it has an eerie feel to it, and is a must if you live in the Aberystwyth-area. The summer is obviously the best time to go there, especially if you're travelling from Aberystwyth. The Vale of Rheidol steam train travels from Aberystwyth to Devil's Bridge from Easter until the end of October (adult return fares £14), and is a great way to get there. The train takes about one hour (making a short stop halfway there to refill the coal), and you can choose to sit in the open aired carriage or the closed one. Either way, it's a scenic and very enjoyable ride.
Scenic views from the train.
In Devil's Bridge, there's a small hotel and a couple of non-descript diners, and that's about it. The hotel was built in the last century to accommodate all the tourists who came to see the bridges, and has a very cosy country-feel to it. Great place to stop for sandwiches after the nature trail!
You can see the bridges from the road, but the best way to see the surrounding woodlands and the wonder of the old bridges is to do the one-hour nature trail. Sensible shoes, please. And shorts, if you've got the legs:)
Walking the nature trail, you will see:
Ruined iron-age fortresses.
Robber's cave (see main blog for full story).
An impressive waterfall.
"Jacob's Ladder", a set of very steep stairs leading down into the valley.
And of course the three bridges (the top one out of view, it was covered due to maintenance work).
So why is it called Devil's Bridge?
There are several legends, but the most popular one goes as follows:
Many centuries ago, there was an old woman walking in the woods, looking for her cow. She found it on the other side of the ravine, and had no way to retrieve it. Suddenly the Devil appeared, and told her that he could build a bridge so she could go get her cow. In return he wanted the first soul that crossed the bridge. The Devil was sneaky, thinking that he'd get the old woman's soul, but she was too clever for him. The next morning, the bridge was built, and the woman came to see it. She threw a piece of bread onto the bridge and her dog ran to get it, thereby becoming the first soul to cross the bridge. The Devil was furious, because he didn't want the dog. He dissappeared in a rage and has never again been seen in Wales.
The bottom bridge, supposedly built by the Devil, was actually built in 1070-1200 by the monks of the Strata Florida abbey (now in ruins). The second bridge was built in 1753, and the last bridge in 1901.
What's not water under the bridge is the fantastic award I got from Michelle Teacress! This is the first award my travel blog has gotten, and it's very happy about it (it gets jealous at the big sister, you know). Thanks so much, Michelle! Anyone who likes journeys of any kind may have this award:)