Getting to Devil’s Bridge
Conveniently, Devil’s Bridge is situated about 12 miles east from the seaside university town of Aberystwyth, in the middle of Cambrian Mountains. There is free parking for about 25 cars. If full, it is possible to park for free at nearby Woodland Tearooms and Woodland Caravan Park.
One or three bridges?
Pontarfynach in Welsh, Devil’s Bridge village is best known for its bridge or three bridges as one. The bridge is at a point where the River Mynach drops 90 metres (300 ft) in five stages down a steep and narrow ravine before it meets the River Rheidol.
Three separate bridges are coexistent, each one built over the previous bridge. Firstly, the medieval stone arched bridge was constructed between 1070-1200. Following the end of the middle ages, the first bridge became unstable. In 1753 the second bridge, a stone structure was built above the original bridge. This bridge was then upgraded in 1777 and 1814. Finally the third, an iron bridge was built on top of the two in 1901. The bridge was grade II listed on 21st January 1964.
In 1629 the name was Pont ar Vynach or Pontarfynach, meaning Bridge over the Mynach. The word Mynach is Welsh for a monk. One theory is that the river got its name from the fact that it was on land owned by a monastery of Strata Florida, who built the first bridge.
Nature Trail, Waterfalls and Three Bridges – Walk 1
Be prepared for a steep descent and then for a steep ascent back up! It is a lovely 45 minutes walk and your heart will certainly get pumping. After you see the bridges, continue down the Rheidol gorge along the path with uneven steps. Take care as they can be slippery.
At the time we were there, at the end of May, the site was covered in purple and pink rhododendrons. So pretty. You will soon get to the viewing gazebo where you can have your snack and enjoy watching the waterfalls falling down.
Halfway through the walk now, it is time to tackle 100 steep steps down Jacob’s Ladder. Take extra care on these uneven slate steps as they might be slippery, especially after a rainfall. Hold on to the handrails.
Next, cross the old semi-circular bridge and begin the ascent back up to the exit. The views are just amazing. You are surrounded by lush greenery all around you.
Rest at the Robber’s Cave and learn about the three children highway robbers and their hideout next to the waterfalls. Not long and you reach the top with a viewing area. Look through the viewing telescope, no money needed.
Punchbowl and Three Bridges – Walk 2
If you fancy a shorter walk, about 10 min then this walk might be the answer. Not only it gives a better view of the bridges but you can see how the river Mynach has carved large potholes in the rock. The entrance is £1 for all.
The Legend of Devil’s Bridge
”Once upon a time, an old lady lived near the river Mynach. One day her cow wandered across the river and because of the steep gorge she did not know how to get it back. The Devil appeared and told her that he would build a bridge, but he wanted the first living thing which crossed it for himself. She agreed.
He believed that she would be crossing first to fetch the cow. However, she outwitted him by throwing a crust of bread across the bridge. The old lady’s dog ran across the bridge after the crust; the Devil had the dog and the old lady had her cow back.” from Devil’s Bridge Waterfalls & Nature Trail leaflet
TIP: If you are in Aberystwyth, jump on The Vale of Rheidol Steam Railway which runs to Devil’s Bridge or vice versa. It will make a great day out for everyone.
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Have you been to Devil’s Bridge? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below. We love hearing from you.