Hafod Hotel, Devil’s Bridge

Hafod Hotel, Devil’s Bridge

As you stand outside the Hafod Hotel, look up at the generous overhang of the eaves. If it reminds you of an Alpine chalet, you’re on the right track!

The hotel was built in the early 19th century on the site of an 18th-century hunting lodge which belonged to the Hafod estate. The Napoleonic wars had given Welsh tourism a shot in the arm by preventing wealthy people from taking the traditional “Grand Tour” of Europe. Craggy areas of Wales provided a ready alternative in a century when Romantic art was fashionable, and the Hafod Hotel’s design was suitably unusual.

The following extract from a verse written by a couple of visitors in the visitors’ “album” at the Hafod Arms Inn (as the hotel was then known) in 1829 should give you an idea of what excited tourists. “Rhydiol” and “Mynach” refer to the rivers Rheidol and Mynach.

O’er the cleft rock where foaming torrents pour,
And Rhydiol answers Mynach’s solemn roar,
Thro' horrid caves where serpent surges hiss,
And rush appalling down the dark abyss
To fearful pool where deep deep chasms flow.

The original hotel was enlarged by the Duke of Newcastle in the 1830s, when the Alpine roof was fitted. Further alterations were made in 1905, perhaps in response to an influx of tourists after the opening in 1902 of the scenic Vale of Rheidol Railway from Aberystwyth.

The hotel was a venue for livestock auctions for many years. At one sale in 1910, almost 2,000 animals changed hands. A tourist on a cycling holiday noted that the hotel was “crowded with farmers and shepherds, and sheep dogs were everywhere”.

In the 21st century the hotel has been a filming location for the TV detective programme Hinterland, also filmed in Welsh as “Y Gwyll”.

Postcode: SY23 3JL    View Location Map

Website of the Hafod Hotel