Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Devil's Bridge

Three separate bridge span the river Mynach - one built on top of the other between the 11th and 19th century. The legend of how the first was built and the picturesque setting continues to draw visitors - many by steam train from Aberystwyth.

One of the best ways to travel to Devil’s Bridge is on the historic narrow gauge Vale of Rheidol Railway.

The legend of Devil's Bridge

According to legend, the original bridge was built by the very Devil himself, as it was too difficult for mortals to build. The Devil agreed to build the bridge in exchange for the soul of the first being to cross the bridge. However he was tricked of his prize by a canny old woman, who threw bread across the bridge, which her dog ran after, thus becoming the first ‘being’ to cross the new bridge.

It is likely that the bridge was constructed by the monks of Strata Florida on the route to Ysbyty Cynfyn.

The river and woodland landscape of Devil's Bridge

The dramatic waterfalls on the River Mynach ('the monk's river') are on a tributary of the river Rheidol. The Rheidol itself is a very steep river, falling about 550 m (1880 ft) in it's short 39 km (24 mile) long journey to the sea at Aberystwyth. The landscape of the river systems of upland Ceredigion and the dramatic waterfalls are testament to the complex process​ of erosion by ice and water over thousands, posibly millions of years.

The Picturesque landscape of Hafod Estate

Between Devil’s Bridge and Pontrhydygroes (about 12 miles inland from Aberystwyth) is Hafod Uchtryd, now known simply as Hafod. In it's heyday, Hafod was as a magnificent 18th century creation by the estate’s owner, Thomas Johnes (1748-1816), who built a grand new country house in this remote location and laid out its wooded grounds in the 'Picturesque’ landscape manner. Features included a variety of circuit walks and a succession of views and landscapes.Recognised as one of the finest Picturesque landscapes in Europe, several of these have been surveyed and restored, although sadly only the stables remain of the Hafod mansion buildings.Hafod Church is both graceful and peaceful on the edge of the estate.

Hafod soon became an essential destination for 18th century nobility on their tour of Wales. The area was described by the author George Borrow in his book Wild Wales, which, since its publication in 1854, has never been out of print. Devil's Bridge became a favourite visitor destination, and the famous falls and bridges continue to impress visitors today. Legends abound about the possible visitors to Hafod - check out the sign now on display at the Hafod Hotel at Devil's Bridge.

Read the fascinating history of the estate is the book 'Peacocks in Paradise' by Elizabeth Inglis Jones.

Dramatic TV location

Devil's Bridge and the surrounding area feature extensively in an exciting television detective series Hinterland. Filmed in both Welsh and English, Hinterland was first shown on the Welsh TV channel S4C, and BBC channels in 2014.​