The Ponderosa Café, Horseshoe Pass

Link to French translation

The Ponderosa Café, Horseshoe Pass

This large café near the top of Bwlch yr Oernant, or the Horseshoe Pass, got its name from a feature of an American TV series called Bonanza. The show revolved around life on the large Ponderosa Ranch and was popular with viewers in Britain and many other countries in the 1960s.

The café’s history goes back decades earlier. In the 1930s, as leisure motoring grew rapidly, a shack here sold refreshments and cigarettes. It was run by a Frederick Hill until the café closed in the Second World War. In the 1950s a new café was opened by David Williams. He became known as Dai the Mule, because he used a donkey to carry water to the café up the steep slope from St Collen’s Well

By now, Dai’s café building has been extended several times to form a complex which includes a gift shop and Bed & Breakfast accommodation. Some of the timbers in the dining area were brought here from a dismantled barn in Cheshire and it’s thought they were previously part of a ship, perhaps in the 16th century. Motorcyclists riding machines of all types and sizes gather here at weekends to socialise, eat and admire each other’s bikes.

Since the site is more than 400 metres above sea level, many people call here to enjoy a stroll on the moorland of Mynydd Maes yr Ychen (“mountain of the oxen field”) or the view from the top of Bwlch yr Oernant (“pass of the cold valley”).

Hear how to pronounce Bwlch yr Oernant: Or, download mp3 (21KB)

Hear how to pronounce Mynydd Maes yr Ychen: Or, download mp3 (20KB)

Sources: Llandegla Then and Now, by the Llandegla Millennium Action Group, and Prof Hywel Wyn Owen, of the Welsh Place-Name Society

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL20 8DR

Website of Ponderosa Café