The Devil visited Wales around the 11th Century. He had never been there before and had heard that the scenery was breathtaking. He met an old lady who seemed upset and asked her “what is wrong?” The old lady told him that her cow had wandered across the river and she couldn’t get her back. The Devil said “what you need is a bridge and I can build you one. Go home, and in the morning there will be a bridge across the river. All I ask in return is to keep the first living thing to cross the bridge!” The old lady accepted the arrangement and agreed to see him in the morning. That night she wondered how the stranger could build a bridge so quickly and worried about his strange request – why should she cross the bridge to get the cow back if he could keep her in exchange?
The unique waterfalls at Devil’s Bridge gorge have attracted thousands of visitors since the 18th century, including William Wordsworth who wrote about the “Torrent at the Devil’s Bridge”. Today, the Falls Nature Trails provide access to this beautiful site. The Vale of Rheidol Railway runs steam trains from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge through stunning scenery, or follow the B4574, listed as one of the Automobile Association’s ten most scenic drives in the world. The Hafod Hotel, originally built as a hunting lodge for the Hafod Estate in the 1700s, overlooks Devil’s Bridge and the wooded gorges of the Mynach and Rheidol rivers. Perfect for refreshments after an encounter with The Devil! The Hafod Estate in the Ystwyth valley and surrounding hills has a number of way-marked walks which visitors can follow such as ‘The Gentleman’s Walk’, ‘The Bedford Monument Walk’ and ‘The Alpine Bridge Walk.’
The next day she got up and went down to the river with her faithful dog and there in front of her was the best bridge she had ever seen! The Devil appeared, saying “Time to keep your side of the bargain”. The old lady walked towards the bridge but at the last minute, she took a loaf of bread from her pocket and hurled it across. Quick as a flash the dog chased after it. The Devil was furious that a smelly farm dog was the first living thing to cross the bridge. He was so embarrassed at being outwitted by an old lady that he has not been seen in Wales since! There are three bridges, built at different times, across the gorge at Devil’s Bridge and it is said that the lowest one was built by The Devil himself.
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