Devil’s Bridge - History and Facts | History Hit

Devil’s Bridge

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About Devil’s Bridge

The term ‘Devil’s Bridge’ is used to refer to dozens of ancient bridges due to their unusual design and technological achievement which, folklore had it, could only be the work of the Devil himself. Amongst the most famous in the world is Devil’s Bridge in Ceredigion, Wales.

Made up of three bridges of differing ages built on top of one another, Devil’s Bridge and the waterfalls attract thousands of tourists every year and is one of the most well-known and picturesque attractions in Wales.

History of Devil’s Bridge

Records indicate that Devil’s Bridge has been a tourist attraction for centuries, and that an inn or hotel has existed nearby since before 1796. Since the 1860s, the main hotel on site is Hafod Hotel next to the Afon Mynach river, a tributary of the Rheidol.

According to legend, the original bridge over the river earned its name because of an old woman who lost her cow and saw it grazing on the opposite bank. The Devil appeared and promised to build a bridge in exchange for the soul of the first living thing to cross it. When the Devil had finished the bridge, the old woman threw a crust of bread over the river, which the dog crossed the bridge to retrieve. Thus, the Devil was left only with the soul of the dog.

The original bridge is thought to have been built in c.1075-1200. The second was built in 1753 and improved in 1777 and 1814, and used the original bridge for scaffolding. The final bridge was built in 1901 and underwent various repairs over coming decades. It was Grade II listed in 1964 ‘as a remarkable succession of three superimposed bridges, one of the best known picturesque sites in Wales.’

Famed British artist JMW Turner’s sketch of the bridge is now able to view at the Tate Gallery in London, while poet William Wordsworth wrote To the Torrent at the Devil’s Bridge, North Wales about the bridges in 1824.

Devil’s Bridge today

Today, the bridge is a very popular tourist attraction. Nearby are five stone steps, known as Jacob’s Ladder, which descend to a modern metal bridge below the waterfalls.

There is also a nearby nature trail and historic steam railway, while there are many other attractions located a short drive away in Aberystwyth.

Getting to Devil’s Bridge

The address for the Devil’s Bridge area is Woodlands (referring to the caravan park where free parking is available), Devil’s Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales, SY23 3JW. The bridge is on the A4120, with sign posts providing guidance from the village centre.

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