Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Tale of Devil's Bridge

Recently my Baby and I took a road trip!  Winding roads that made me feel car sick were worth it, to stay in an interesting old hotel, eat good food, wear my new Collectif cardigan and see some amazing scenery.  We went to mid West Wales, just outside of Aberystwyth to a place with the fittingly Halloween type name of "Devil's Bridge".  Here there is a deep gorge with the Mynach and Reidol rivers running at the bottom, and there is not one, but three bridges crossing it.  Unusually, they're built one on top of the other, the first in the 11th century, the second in the 17th century, and the bridge that is still in use today and carries the road was built back in 1901.

Hafod Hotel
 View from the bottom of the gorge up to the hotel on the top right.

Next to the bridge stands the Hafod Hotel, which very much gave me the impression of the hotel in the film 'The Shining' but on a smaller scale and not as remote.  It was originally a hunting lodge, but has been turned into a grander building with its beautiful windows, and the huge overhang of the roof.  Our room had a sort of faded charm, and looked out over the gorge.  My Baby was playing a gig there, and we were treated very well.  The food was particularly good, sourced from local produce - I had a lamb and orange tagine, and my Baby had a beef casserole.  Hearty, flavoursome dishes, that you need in this weather when there's a damp chill in the air.  (As an aside, very reasonably priced too, I think most dishes on the menu were between £8 and £11 and the rooms are from £85, including breakfast).

Hafod Hotel

We left it until the next morning to explore the gorge and the bridges, taking a walking tour that takes about an hour and leads you past waterfalls, down ladder-like steps and through the remnants of caves, some of which have graffiti from tourists visiting back in the 18th century!

We were absolutely spoiled, and I can't recommend the hotel enough if you're looking for somewhere to stay in the area.  I'll leave you with some pictures - but in brief, it was a great place to visit, extremely atmospheric, and definitely worth going to if you're exploring West Wales.  If you're in the mood for a Halloween tale, I'll put that at the end.

 The tea rooms

Love the windows and the overhang of the roof

Collectif cardigan bluebirds
The new cardigan!!

 Lovely baby grand piano - wish I had room for one!

 Original glass

The three bridges!

Graffiti from 1906 - I couldn't find any earlier than the late 1800s, but apparently there is some from the 1700s if you look carefully

The Tale of Devil's Bridge
Legend tells of how the first bridge came to be built, by the Devil himself!  An elderly lady sat by the gorge with her dog, upset that she was unable to retrieve her cow, which had wandered across to the other side.  The Devil appeared and said he would build a bridge for her overnight, as long as she promised to give up the first living thing to cross it in the morning.  The old lady knew that the Devil was expecting her to cross it first to fetch her cow, but she agreed anyway.  In the morning, a bridge had appeared and the Devil was there waiting for her.  She then pulled out a loaf of bread from under her cloak, and threw it across the bridge - her dog raced after it, and the Devil then had to sulkily accept the dog instead of her.


  1. Ooohh, now if that isn't the kind of perfectly well suited legend for the week of All Hallows Eve, I don't know what is! Whether Lucifer had a hand here or not, it's a splendidly pretty location, especially with the fall foliage out in full force. How lovely that you guys were able to get away and enjoy some time there this season.

    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* Thank you very much for your wonderfully sweet comment on today's post. It touched me through and through (and I shall indeed take some credit, too, as you suggested). ♥

  2. What a unique trip! I love things such as this!



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