Wild Walking in the Aberystwyth Hinterland
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Devil’s Bridge, Mynach Valley, and The Arch

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This is possibly the least ‘wild’ of the walks that has appeared on this website so far, starting and finishing in the well-known village of Devil’s Bridge with its tourist attractions. Nevertheless, there are several great ‘wild-ish’ walks around Devil’s Bridge and the Rheidol Valley detailed in ‘Railway Walks in the Vale of Rheidol’, available from this site. If you have visited the famous Mynach Falls, on this walk you will see where all that water is coming from by exploring the Mynach valley by one of two routes… from November until the end of June the higher path on the northern side of the valley (detailed here) is recommended, but it gets overgrown and hard work later in the summer. From July to October the bridle track along the south side of the river is a lot easier, and its soggy bits tend to dry out too (blue line on the static map, with no navigational issues). This walk also visits ‘Y Bwa’ (The Arch) built in 1810 as a gateway for Thomas Johnes’ nearby Hafod Estate. The English translation of the name of this place is ‘Head of the Valley of Lost Existence’.


Length: 
11.5 km (7 miles)
Ascent: 
414 m (1,358 ft)
Challenge: 
Moderate
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Grid reference
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The starting point for this walk is the public car park (and toilets) across the road from the main gate of the Vale of Rheidol railway terminus at Devil’s Bridge.

  1. From the white painted toilet block, go back out of the car park and take the waymarked path running along the other side of the fence. This can cause immediate confusion if you have a car to park, but is obvious if you are walking up from the station.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic01 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic02
  2. Cross the field on the faint path heading towards the post at the corner of the fenceline to the right, then when near the post bear left heading towards the garden gate ahead (don’t go through it!), then right uphill alongside the garden fence and through the copse, dropping down to a stile giving onto the B4574 road to Cwmystwyth.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic04 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic06
  3. Turn right onto the road, and walk 400m uphill to the pink-painted cottage called Gwar-felin. Just beyond, take a left turn onto a bridle track and gate labelled ‘Aber Bodcoll’.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic08 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic09
  4. A short distance along the bridle track, a small path branches off to the left, which you should take if you are choosing the November to June (recommended) upper route in the valley.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic10 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic11

    Otherwise, carry straight on for about 3 km, following the waymarks (NB the early track diversion to avoid the house) to arrive at the top of this section of the valley at Point 13 (See blue line on the static map).

    After a pleasant downhill walk through the wood, you arrive at the footbridge over the Afon Mynach at the former Bodcoll Mill. From here, go up the other side of the glade on a slightly wet path to a stile onto a grassy open hillside.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic14 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic15
  5. Keep going straight ahead uphill here, even though the path more or less disappears, and after about 150 metres arrive at a metal gate, with a stile up to the right for walkers. Here you join a pleasant track heading in the same rough direction; keep going to where you meet a copse of trees on the right, and the back driveway entrance to the ‘Woodlands’ caravan and camping site to the left.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic17 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic18
  6. Opposite the site driveway, turn right into the trees, and head uphill to a gate leading onto the open hillside. Spot a waymark post over to the right at the far edge of the open grazing land amongst scattered trees, and pick up the now clear path ascending diagonally up the hillside in a roughly southerly direction.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic19 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic20
  7. Following this path, the view opens out and you arrive at a lightning-hit post at the brow of the hill. From here, there is a nice view of the Rheidol Valley, and continuing a short distance gently uphill to a waymark post, a view of the Mynach Valley opens out ahead.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic22 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic23
  8. Keep going on the path over the hill crest, then downhill the other side through bracken (difficult in later summer) to another waymark post indicating left on the valley path.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic24 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic25

    There follows a rather uncomfortable section of gorse and scrub invaded path with lumps and hollows which fortunately does not last long before arriving at a forest boundary.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic26 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic26A
  9. There is then a section of delightful forest path which gradually and gently descends towards a track lower down. To join the track, the path suddenly goes up to the left to cross a stile, then steeply down the other side for a short distance.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic27 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic28

    Walk along the track for about 400m to get to the gate leading into the garden of the former farmhouse called Llaneithyr.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic29 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic30
  10. The public right of way leads round close to the house, which looked unoccupied at the time of writing, through a metal gate, then through very wet and muddy sections between derelict farm buildings and dry stone walls, to discover a stile and reassuring waymark over the fence to the left.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic31 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic32

    The path running steeply up diagonally a short distance through the trees to the left has become overgrown during the recent pandemic, but you should still be able to break through fairly easily to the stile leading onto a forestry track.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic33 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic35
  11. The forestry track has been built up with loose gravel in recent years, somewhat spoiling what used to be a wonderful green lane, but it is still easy walking, undulating a little but keeping more or less to the contour so that you make rapid progress up the valley for about 1 km.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic37 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic38
  12. Here there is a stile to cross to the right, soon after the track begins to descend, and as a nice view of Pen Dihewyd appears straight ahead.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic39 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic40

    Drop down diagonally through the conifers on ‘rustic steps’ to the footbridge over the little stream called Afon Myherin, then on a faint path through boggy bits and up and over the brow of a grassy pasture towards a rather well hidden second footbridge, over the main stream, which is here called Nant Rhuddnant.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic42 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic43

    The Afon Mynach is formed from the confluence of these two streams.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic44 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic45
  13. After the bridge, go leftish then straight very gently uphill on a nice path through the forest and meet a large forestry track. Here you have to turn left on the track, then immediately right up the hill.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic46 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic47

    Now the path becomes steep, gravelly and hard work for a while, due to forestry vehicles having churned it up, and then ‘reinstated’ it (so-called) by just throwing down scalpings. But the views opening out are lovely, if somewhat dependant on the cycle of fast-growing conifers, and eventually you will get to a waymark post indicating where you can at last branch off the gravelly track onto a pleasant path.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic49 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic50
  14. The path still climbs through the trees for some way before levelling off and even descending slightly before crossing yet another forestry track and continuing remorselessly upwards.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic52 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic53

    The views here will depend very much on the state of growth of the plantations, and you will be really noticing your 200m ascent up to the highest point of the walk at 453m!

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic54 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic55

    But then a short descent brings you down to a wide smooth forestry track and a sudden wonderful view south towards the hills around Cwmystwyth, and beyond.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic56
  15. The rest of the walk more than makes up for the slightly painful ascent from the Mynach Valley… more or less gently downhill all the way!

    Turn right on the track here, and enjoy the easy walking with wonderful views for about 1.5km until you reach the car park, information board, and Y Bwa (The Arch). Natural Resources Wales have delineated several lovely short walks here, with colour-coded waymarks, and this is well worth a re-visit another day.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic57 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic58
  16. Walk to the right of The Arch (as you look in the Devil’s Bridge direction), then cross the B4574 to the metal gate on the other side of the road.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic60

    Go through the metal gate… you are now on the ‘coffin road’ along which funeral processions would travel between Cwmystwyth and Devil’s Bridge; today it provides a lovely downhill amble of about 3 km from The Arch to the B4343 above the village.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic62 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic63

    After about ¾ km from The Arch, take the right hand (lower) option where the track forks, keep going straight on through a cleared site, and eventually the track becomes no more than a path along the field edge.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic64 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic66 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic67 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic69 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic70
  17. Walk alongside the B4343 for a short distance, then take the right fork for a further 160metres until you get to Ysgol Mynach, the village school. Pass in front of the school, then turn sharp right on a bridle track along the back of the playground. Very soon turn off left downhill on a faint path following ‘Cambrian Way’ waymarks, then at the bottom of the hill through onto a track which leads down to just below the starting point car park.

    RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic71 RachelSeabrook.net | Wild Walking | Devils-Bridge; pic72

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