The Devil's Bridge

Devil's Bridge (Pontarfynach)

Wales, United Kingdom. - (OS Ref. SN740770)


The village of Devil's Bridge or Pontarfynach is named for bridge that spans the Mynach and falls around 90 metres (300') to meet the Rheidol. The bridge at Devil's Bridge is in reality three bridges, one built on top of the other. The most recently built was an iron bridge in 1901 which was built over a stone bridge constructed in 1753 when the original bridge was thought to be unstable, using the original bridge built (1075-1200) to support the scaffolding.

Legend tells that the bridge was in fact built by the Devil himself: Whilst passing through Wales the Devil came across an old woman weeping, when asked to explain her sobbing the woman replied that her cow had crossed the gorge and now she had no way of getting it back. The Devil thought for a moment and then made the old lady an offer, that he would use his dark powers to build a bridge across the river in return for the first living thing to cross it. Reluctantly the old woman agreed and the Devil bade her to return in the morning.


The old woman returned the following day and found the Devil stood on the opposite side of a fine stone bridge. Quickly, the old woman began to cross the bridge to fetch back her cow, the Devil grinned at the prospect of winning his prize. And then, from under her petticoats the cunning woman retrieved a chunk of bread and threw it at the Devil's feet; not a moment had passed when suddenly the womans greedy dog appeared and raced across the bridge, gobbling up the bread that lay on the floor. The Devil, outwitted, gave a scream and not even bothering to claim the dog simply vanished, never to be seen in Wales again.