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  • Writer's pictureMotobiters - Rides

Pigs, devils and woodland wanders

Pre covid we headed over to mid Wales (where Emma was brought up) and travelled on the Africa Twin to Nant Y Moch Reservoir from the TalyBont direction which takes you along a very narrow road but through the most beautiful scenery. There is a long climb ahead which takes in the beautiful wilderness of the Cambrian Mountains. The climb starts in a beautiful rural valley and climbs steadily, once leaving the tree line you can see the road winding its way to the top. From this point the road traces its way around the reservoir until you reach the dam, it’s good to pause and look down the valley from the vantage point at the top.

View the trip video here.

Named after a stream which used to run into the River Rheidol where the dam is now, Nant-y-Moch Reservoir (which translates in English to 'the Pig's stream') flooded around 16,500 acres of the upper Rheidol Valley, and those of some of its tributaries, in 1964. Beneath its waters is a small hamlet called Nant-y-Moch. The reservoir is part of the Rheidol hydroelectric system: water runs about 4km, with a drop of about 350 metres, along a tunnel to the turbine which powers the generator.

The contents of the graveyard which was to be submerged were relocated to the chapel at Ponterwyd, and a number of cairns were painstakingly moved, some of which dated back as far as the Iron Age.

After leaving the dam keep following the road until you get to Ponterwyd and take the road off to Devil’s Bridge.

Devils Bridge Falls is a world famous tourist attraction and well worth a stop off and walk down to the falls. These unique waterfalls have attracted many thousands of visitors since the 18th century, including William Wordsworth who wrote about the “Torrent at the Devil’s Bridge”. Today, the Falls Nature Trail provides a unique opportunity to see this great natural feature in the Rheidol Gorge.

There are two walks to choose from:

NATURE TRAIL, WATERFALLS & 3 BRIDGES This walk takes minimum of 45 minutes. Difficult walk. 675 steep uneven natural stone steps.

PUNCHBOWL & 3 BRIDGES This walk takes 10 minutes or so. Moderate walk. 300 slate steps

Read about the legend of Devil’s bridge here

Devil’s bridge is also the end point for the Vale of Rheidol steam railway which leaves from Aberystwyth. Opposite the Rheidol Steam Railway station, you will find Y Caban – Watch the Chocolatiers turn molten Belgian Chocolate into a range of handmade exquisite chocolates.

If you want to grab some lunch the Hafod Arms is a good choice. The Bar, Brasserie and Hotel is located in an exceptional location. Situated only steps away from the World Famous Devil’s Bridge waterfalls and a two minute walk to the award winning Rheidol Valley steam train.

In Devil’s Bridge turning up quite a steep climb past the Arch and down to Cwm Ystwyth and then the old Hafod Estate. If you still have energy and fancy another walk then the Hafod Estate is well worth a visit, and is recognised as one of the finest examples in Europe of a Picturesque landscape (and it’s free to walk).

Its most celebrated owner, Thomas Johnes (1748-1816), built a new house in this remote location and laid out its grounds in a manner suited to displaying its natural beauties in sympathy with the 'Picturesque principles' fashionable at the time, with circuit walks allowing the visitor to enjoy a succession of views and experiences. Johnes also used the land for farming, forestry, and gardening, in each case trying out new ideas and experimental methods. Hafod became an essential destination for the early tourist in Wales.

Today the Hafod estate occupies some 200 hectares of the Ystwyth valley and surrounding hills. Most is owned by Natural Resources Wales who, in partnership with the Hafod Trust, is managing a conservation and restoration project with public and private funding.

From here ride down to Pontrhydygroes, Trawscoed and back into Aberystwyth for an ice cream on the prom.

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