Over the August Bank Holiday we had friends to stay. The weather on the Saturday was at least dry, if not a little overcast so including Aphrodite ( our much loved American Cocker Spaniel) we all set off for Devils Bridge, a village just south of Aberystwyth. We had never been before. We parked at the first Car Park we came to (Parking fee £1), which happened to be at the terminus of by the Rheidol Railway. The railway runs from Aberystwyth to Devils Bridge through the Rheidol Valley. The rail journey includes a steep climb of over 600ft but is so worth it as the views of the Rheidol Valley are breathtaking. The time is around 1 hour each way. However on this occasion we turned our backs on the train but stopped at the Station’s cafe for a warming hot chocolate before seeking the famous Three Bridges.
From the Car Park we turned left down towards the Bridge. We have to say that at first glance we were a little disappointed. The weather was overcast and as we looked over the Bridge we could not see very much as the tree canopy blocked most of the view. We also could not see the falls from the road. Fortunately we went on and found a kiosk by a gateway to the gorge and falls. If the kiosk is unmanned the gateway is coin operated. The walk around the gorge and falls is £3.50 per person. The walk is not for the feint hearted and it is advisable to wear sensible and appropriate walking footwear. However having said that we came across many young children who ably managed the steep slate steps probably better than their parents.
Fees paid together with a map and a guide of the walk we set off. The Map was really useful as there are 14 points of interest the first of which is the view of the Three Bridges. And here was the first surprise they are built on top of one another. The first and lowest bridge is the Devil’s Bridge but despite its name it is thought to have been built by Cistercian Monks from the nearby Abbey at Strata Florida around the 9th century. The middle bridge was built around 1708 and the topmost bridge was built by Cardiganshire County Council in the early 20th Century and then strengthened with additional girders in the 1970s. It is here you catch your first glimpse of the Mynach (translated means Monk) river deep down in the gorge.
We all felt that it was like walking in a jungle. Although not raining it was humid and rather dank and it was certainly damp and a little muddy under foot. But we were not in a hurry so took care as we meandered down the sides of the gorge, stopping at the points of interest on route. The Jacob’s Ladder footpath as it is called is also a Nature Trail which is great for both adult and children alike. By point 6 we come upon a viewing platform that really looks like a wooden hide that you might see in an Asian Jungle and this is really our first good view of the spectacular Mynach Falls. The little Mynach river now tumbles 400 feet to join the Rheidol River which is one of the fastest flowing rivers in Britain falling about 1750 feet in 28 miles.
Before continuing down we took a right hand fork for about 50 yards and viewed the Gyfarllwyd Falls in the river Rheidol. We continued on down and round a bend and slightly tricky for me (don’t like heights) was faced with a very steep run of slate steps - and when you are at the top step looking down 60 – 70 feet with an even deeper drop the other side of the railings it is a little worrying to say the least – but I holding onto the railings I made it down and I must say it was worth it! But now we must cross an iron bridge and then up. There are many points of interest. It is really worth taking binoculars so that you can view the valley, gorge and Cambrian Mountains in the distance.
It took us all a good hour and half to go round but we did stop and take loads of photographs and everyone thought it fabulous and worth every penny! For more information on Devils Bridge click here.
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I am Diana Vickers, the site owner of thebestof Cardigan & Teifi Valley, which supports the very best of the area’s businesses with their promotions and marketing. The site is soon coming up to its fifth...