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A small circuit into Cwm Rheidol from Pontarfynach/Devil's Bridge

By Rudi Winter

A quick evening wander into the Rheidol gorge, starting from the centre of Pontarfynach/Devil's Bridge, where there is usually ample parking space by the side of the main road.

After following the road in the direction of Aberystwyth up to the edge of the village, we took a gate to follow the path over grassland SN7377 : Fields on the edge of Pontarfynach / Devil's Bridge by Rudi Winter to the edge of the gorge, just above the Vale of Rheidol trackbed. The path then follows along the edge of the wooded slope and alternates between grassland SN7377 : Grassland on the edge of the Rheidol gorge by Rudi Winter and broadleaf forest SN7377 : Footpath into the Rheidol gorge by Rudi Winter.

To turn the walk into a small loop instead of a straight out-and-back route, we left the path just after crossing the Nant y Fawnog and climbed up steeply to our left until reaching the grassy field above, where we were met enthusiastically by swarms of horseflies. By just following the ditch of the Nant y Fawnog and a field boundary, we soon met the bridleway coming from Ty'n-y-castell SN7277 : Track to Rhiwfron halt by Rudi Winter. Turning right towards the gorge, we were soon let astray by a misaligned bridleway sign - it would have been better to follow on straight. Instead we went around a field and had encounters with some barbed wire and yet more horseflies SN7277 : Fallen trees above Rhiwfron halt by Rudi Winter.

However, soon the path enters the broadleaf woodland, where the descent into Cwm Rheidol begins SN7277 : Path descending towards Rhiwfron halt by Rudi Winter. This is really pleasant although a little slippery underfoot. The path soon meets the railway at Rhiwfron halt SN7277 : Rhiwfron halt by Rudi Winter and, after crossing the track, continues pretty much diagonally down the slope until it meets the path following up the south side of the valley. There is also a path that leads down to a few houses and the river, where there is a ford SN7278 : Ford through the Afon Rheidol by Rudi Winter.

Turning back in fading light, we followed the valley path upstream into the gorge, which turns progressively narrower. After a short while, the broadleaf forest gives way to a conifer plantation, and the path begins to climb steeply through it until it reaches the railway, then doglegs to follow just above the track.

Shortly after, we returned to the bridge over the Nant y Fawnog where we had begun the circuit and return to Pontarfynach by the route we had come.

You can see this trip plotted on a map on the Geo-trips page Link .

Trip profile: LinkExternal link

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Mon, 17 Sep 2018 at 22:10
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