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Sep 2013

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AKA Devil's Bridge and a popular way to get here is by steam from Aberystwyth via the Vale of Rheidol Railway. Whatever your way, the Hafod Hotel is one of the options for refreshments so step inside and step right back into the early '60s. The only thing missing was a feuding swarm of Mods and Rockers.

There are at least a million other Devil's Bridge's, mostly in Europe, and you might want to pull up a chair...

So there's this old woman walking her dog in the woods and she sees that one of her cows has waded over the river. The water's now too deep for her to cross and retrieve the errant bovine and Daisy's going nowhere, neither, she's having a grazing good time on the other side.

'Hmmm, what to do?' the old woman ponders.

Pontarfynach provided the location for a fair few episodes of Y Gwyll \  Hinterland, a bilingual Welsh TV airing featuring a troubled cop who lives in a caravan on a cliff. Just like the Hafod's soup and a sandwich, it was found to be just a little too procedural for this pair.

  Hafod Hotel

It looks like time travel is no longer an option following a major revamp since they finished filming. A bit of a shame that, it was reassuringly old-skool, and a shame for the cast who wouldn't mind a few, free nights here now, no doubt.

There are two things to do, the first is to drop a pound into a rickety old turnstile to gain you access down to here.

So just like this pair, the devil had never really been to Wales before. Happening to be passing, he senses the old woman's predicament and materialises with a proposed solution...

'I'll build you a bridge.' he says before going on to add some terms and conditions...
'The soul of the first living thing to cross shall be mine for all eternity." he clarifies before emitting an evil laugh.

'All right then, see you tomorrow morning.' says the old woman.

Look closely and there are three bridges atop each other. The bottom one is the Devil's Bridge, the one he presumably knocked out that very night... (SFX: evil laugh).

The other thing to do is to fork out a few more pounds and follow the steep old path down to the  waterfalls.

How Y Gwyll got all their gear down Jacob's Ladder here still isn't clear.

So the old woman turns up the next morning and sure enough, there's the devil and a newly built bridge. 'Remember, the first living thing to cross...' yeah, yeah we get it.

The devil rubs his hands at the prospect of tormenting her tortured soul for all eternity before emitting his trademark, evil laugh, again.

They're bridge mad round here!

This particular eye-catcher means you're at the bottom of the falls and it's a 300-foot haul back up from now on in.

There are five waterfalls, actually, dropping those 300 foot.

This is the last one and was on particularly good form for a drizzly day and yes, it's a good excuse for a pause on your way back up.

Just as the old woman prepares to cross, she hesitates. The devil frowns as she reveals a handily concealed loaf of bread that she hurls over the bridge and her dumb old dog is off over it like a shot...

'AAAGH, I've been duped' says the devil.

Stuck with the mutt, the first living thing to cross etc, he disappears in a puff of smoke and he's too embarrassed to ever return to Wales.

The ruminant is retrieved with a simple 'Come on girl, let's get you to the abattoir' making for a good example of some proto-PR simply designed to make the devil look daft. There are, however, some issues with this tale, some serious issues...

It's understood the lady needs to be old to set up the whole switcheroo but the plot-driving dog is introduced way too late and smacks of  deus ex machina. Her treatment of the family pet may raise issues with the RSPCA™, these days, but the biggest problem is... a bread-eating dog? Come on!

  Vale of Rheidol Railway

Steam operated job that brings you here from Aberystwyth. Watch out for wildlife as it chugs its way up the 700-foot climb.