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ACHOF'S CO*TY T' DEVIT/S BRIDGE, J The following clever sketch which succintiy points out the salient features of the neighbourhood of Devil's Bridge, appeared in the Malvern Advertiser on May 4th :— lixoept to ardent votaries of the rod and line, or to a few pedestrians in search of novelty, there is probably no district within the same distance of a series of popu- lous towns so little known as that of Mid-Wales. There is a r. i-.ii nice to most minds in the wild mountains and casca ies of Radnor and Cardigan, and this culminates in the weird majestic scenery of the Mynach and Rheidol, and the mysterious structure known as the Devil's Bridge. The of this aery roadway is lost in the mists of medLeval times, and there is scarcely any spot in a country of legends around which so many marvellous traditions cluster. The local account^ ascribe its erection to the direct agency of the Arch-Fiend, the usual compact having been made between his Satanic Majesty and an imprudent market woman, who chose to imperil her soul for the safe conveyance of her only pig from one side of the chasm to the other. But monkish records affirm the arch to have been built in the year 1187 by certain Cistercian brothers dwelling in a monastery hard by. These remarks apply, of course, to the lower and disused bridge the upper one now used as the roadway was erected at the beginning of the last cen- tury, is therefore far from the region of fable and diablerie. In the interests of romance and folklore we lean to the old original" story, especially as it is corro- borated by other diabolical vestiges in the neighbourhood, such as hoof-and-claw prints of a size and fearsomeness .1y referable t.) the Enemy of Souls. However that may be, a. friend and myself determined to explore this en- chanted region during the Easter vacation, and Thurs- day, April 19th, saw us en route for the quaint and quasi- Welsh town of Kington. On Friday morning we started thence, equipped with knapsacks, &c., and a short dis- tance placed us over the boundary of the Principality and of Radnorshire, in the vicinity of a village rejoicing in the euphonious name of Evenjob. New Radnor was reached, and we began to feel, by the gloomy mountain ranges frowning on every side, that we had said farewell to the fertile plains of merrie England." At the charming village of Llannhangel-nant-mellan we cried a halt preparatory to the climb up one of the smooth- est and driest country roads we had ever seen. Having arrived at the summit, the gloomy grandeur of the surrounding amphitheatre of peaks and ridges was enhanced by a lurid, thunderous sky. In this wild spot a huge snow-drift two or three feet deep showed our elevation above the sea level, and we were not sorry to descend into the less rarefied atmosphere of Llandeg- ley and Penybont. It was very pleasant to refresh at the Severn Arm., in the latter place, after our exertions, but having resolved to reach Rhayader before nightfall we closed our eyes and ears to the seductive influences of its admirable appointments, and once more pressed forward. The route now became less wild and elevated, the mountain ranges became comparatively distant, and, notwithstanding several exquisite "bits" of landscape, we were not sorry to find ourselves at length in the se- questered little town of Rhayader Gwy, and at the end of our 2d-mile walk. During the following night torrents of rain fell, and our chagrin was considerable on learning the next morning we should find the roads to the Devil's Bridge difficult if not impassable. Slowly and sadly we wended our way to the station, and were soon conveyed, like parcels, (oh the contrast to the freedom of the high- road), to Aberystwyth. This break in the continuity of our walk was annoying, but we were amply compensated by the magnificent sunset and tide at our destination. Of Aberystwyth, space will allow us to say nothing, and consequently find ourselves on the road to the Devil's Bridge on Easter Sunday morning, with the sea breeze blowing fresh and free, the sun shining brilliantly, while the huge cloud-shadows sailed majestically over the broad bosoms of the hills. Gazing down from the mountain side into Glan Rheidol we seemed to have entered that charm- ing land of the poet:— A land of streams some like a downward smoke, :1.,¡w-droiJping veils of thinnest lawn did ftO. AND some through wavering lights and shadows broke, Rolling a slumberous sheet of foam below. And "far off three mountain tops" the peaks of Snow- dOl, the precipitous ridge of Cader Idris, the undulating summit of Plinlimmon were quite visible. The roar of the falls was heard long before we reached the gorge soon we were before the Hotel looking down the abyss at the mingling waters of the Mynach and Rheidol, the large fall of the latter was right before us, but the four cas- cades of the Mynach were hidden by masses of rock and feathery larcies. After luncheon we were conducted by circuitous paths and a flight of slate steps known as "J acob\! Ladder to the bottom of the gorge, and here the four falls, with the two bridges far above, burst upon us in all their grandeur. The masses of amber coloured water roared down the precipice, broken in their headlong course by slate-crags, sending up volumes of spray to the fragile ferns growing all around. At every turn in the rocky and precipitous path new beauties of light and shade, greenery and rock, creamy foam and glistening water were revealed. A near view of the Rheidol fall, with its grim and gloomy surroundings, must be passed over, with a visit to the "Parson's Bridge," almost immediately above it. The evening twilight in this magnificent spot was sublime. Evening service we attended at a church in a neighbour- ing village with an unpronounceable name, where the whole service is in Welsh during the winter months, but on this occasion the incumbent was courteous enough to read a portion of the prayers in English, and to similarly vary the sermon. Early the following morning we were driven to Aberystwyth, almost through a repetition of the previous day's scenery, although the route was different. It was beautifully bright and fine, Plinlimmon, usually "in sober russet clad," glowed like gold in the brilliant atmosphere. Our road lay through a district of lead mines—no smoke or grime in this enchanting region, where water power applied through immense wheels is used exclusively. We would pay a hearty and sincere tribute to the landlord and corps effectif of the Dev^ Bridge Hotel, where we met with the greatest kindness and best attention possible, and our Rtayat this admirable establishment is not the least pleasant reminiscence of our short tour in Mid-Wales. E.D. 24th April, 1878.






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