One of the most famous landmarks in Wales must be the picturesque Rheidol Gorge at Devil’s Bridge. We visited recently (October 2017) and caught the waterfalls at their best.
The trees were losing their myriad colour leaves and the weather was mercifully dry. The climb down can be rather strenuous especially when being pulled by two Springer Spaniels!
One must be especially careful on the nearly vertical Jacob’s Ladder.
The Devil’s Bridge Legend
The lowest smaller bridge is actually ‘Devil’s Bridge’.
The legend is that a cow was the other side of the valley. The devil told the owner he would build the bridge as long as he could have the first living thing to cross it. The lady owner was not about to lose her immortal soul. She chucked a loaf of bread across the bridge and the dog followed it. The devil was thwarted and disappeared. The dog survived as well, as the devil was worried about fleas!
Devil’s Bridge Falls is around 12 miles from Aberystwyth in the county of Ceredigion, mid-west Wales. The cascading waterfalls have attracted thousands of visitors since the 18th Century as The Hafod Hotel opposite can testify to. Incidentally the Hafod does a great afternoon tea and believe me after climbing the 675 steps you need it!
Many people visit Devil’s Bridge having ridden the Vale of Rheidol Steam Railway from Aberystwyth. This is a lovely trip if you can factor it in.
There are two walks, which are open all year around:
- NATURE TRAIL, WATERFALLS & 3 BRIDGES. This takes a minimum of 45 minutes and is classed as a difficult walk with 675 steep uneven natural stone steps.
- PUNCHBOWL & 3 BRIDGES. This walk takes 10-20 minutes and is a more moderate walk with 300 slate steps, which can be rather slippery.
On a cold but sunny October morning we set out with two kids, two dogs and a flask of coffee. The walk down Devil’s Bridge can be quite tough and slippery so sensible shoes were a must. There are some lovely views and a camera is essential. The falls were spectacular and yes you will get a little wet at some of the view-points. There are plenty of places to stop on the walk to have a cuppa and/or get your breath back. Of course, our kids just charged on and the dogs were incorrigible (thank goodness as they pulled us up!)
Having lived close to Devil’s Bridge in the past, we’ve visited during all seasons. It’s not something to be taken without consideration and preparation. Yes, it’s only 45 minutes, but it’s hard walking. On one occasion we watched the air ambulance winch a walker from the lower part of the walk, with a suspected heart attack. If you are relatively fit, and you take your time, it’s a beautiful spot to enjoy. The key, I think, to enjoy it at its best, is to pace yourself. And if you want help climbing all the way back up to the top, I wholeheartedly recommend a Springer Spaniel!