Devils Bridge is a world famous tourist attraction situated in the Cambrian mountains and only 12 miles away from the seaside/university town of Aberystwyth. Devil’s Bridge falls are very unique and have attracted thousands of visitors since the 1700’s with the inn above (The Hafod Hotel) providing refuge to travelers since before 1796.
Devil’s Bridge is as mystical as it sounds, entwined into Welsh folklore.
There’s a story about an old woman who was upset to find one of her cows had crossed the river and couldn’t get back. This is when the devil himself appeared, upon seeing the woman upset he struck a deal with the woman to build a bridge crossing the gorge over night, the catch was that the Devil was to keep the first living thing that crossed the bridge.
The next day the woman woke up, called her dog and went down to the gorge. The woman was amazed to find the best bridge she had ever seen, she couldn’t believe her luck. Out of nowhere the Devil once again reappeared reminding the woman of the bargain struck the day before, the woman reminded the Devil that she was aware of the bargain she had struck and began to walk toward the bridge. Before crossing, the woman pulled out a loaf of bread, threw it across the bridge and her dog went chasing the loaf, quicker than the Devil could react and try to catch it!
The Devil shrieked as the dog ran across the bridge “You stupid old woman, I don’t believe it! Your filthy dog has become the first living thing to cross my bridge. It’s no good to me!” before vanishing. The Devil clearly embarrassed at being outwitted by and old woman high up in the mountains near Aberystwyth was never seen in Wales again.
The Devil’s Bridge consists of three bridges built on top of each other to cross a gorge, the lowest bridge is the one said to have been built by the Devil himself.
We visited Devil’s bridge in the early Autumn when the trees were beginning to change colour, the tourist season had died down, it was simply amazing, we were literally the only people there. We would definitely recommend visiting Devil’s Bridge at this time of the year for that reason alone, the scenery is stunning and you can really get lost into the folklore whilst in the eerie damp forests, the only sound you can hear is the water cascading down the mountain and entering “The punchbowl”.
There are two walks you can take whilst at Devil’s Bridge, if there’s enough light in the day, it’s not too wet and you’ve got your boots with you, do them both. You’ll regret it if you don’t. The short walk lasts about ten minutes and takes you straight to the best spot for photos of the bridge itself. The second walk, apparently takes fourty-five minutes, but it took us a lot longer. It’s very steep, uneven and without the handrails it would be quite dangerous, especially in the wet!
Did I mention that it’s worth taking the long route if you go to Devil’s falls? Like I said earlier, we visited in the Autumn when the trees were changing colour, it was wet, but totally worth it. There are multiple places where you can stop and admire the views from various viewing platforms.
The trip to Devil’s falls, for us was worth the four hour drive from Cardiff and was an excellent day out, due to the time of the year we visited it was very quiet (The sunlight was against us though). There was plenty of parking on the road before the descent but I’m sure that’s a different story in the summer months. Make sure you take your boots and a drink with you as there’s nowhere to get a drink on the walk around.
Access to the Devil’s falls walk was from the road though a turnstile which used a pound coin to operate.