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Other names: Devil's Bridge HotelAddress/Location:
Devil's Bridge OS Grid Ref:
open 2016 Type:
Devil's Bridge was on the main east-west road between Aberystwyth and England until about 1820 when the road from Llangurig through Ponterwyd and Capel Bangor (the A44) was improved by the Turnpike Trust.
In 1790, Thomas Johnes of Hafod built a 'little public cottage' at Devil's Bridge for the accommodation of travellers and tourists in 1792-1793. This was enlarged and called the Hafod Arms in 1795. In 1796 it was described as ‘a hotel lately built’. It was enlarged in 1803; a new hotel was built between 1814 and 1815 and was improved by the Duke of Newcastle between 1837 and 1839, and this, in turn, was replaced by the Hotel built by the Hafod Hotel Company in the 1860s. It became known as the Devil's Bridge Hotel, possibly after 1866 when the Hafod Hotel Company which also owned the Queen's Hotel, Aberystwyth, became bankrupt.
In summer time it was often full with visitors who had come to tour Wales and to visit the Devil's Bridge waterfalls and Hafod. Access to Hafod house and grounds was by ticket, which were available at the Hafod Arms.
On the last day of a previous landlord in 2016, a visitor to the Hafod Arms wrote:
You missed an experience at the Hafod Arms! Possibly the most desultory establishment in the world; faintly reminiscent of the finest days of Soviet Russia. We turned up rather hoping for a bowl of chips, and there was - not exaggerating! - nothing to eat except ONE packet of dry-roasted peanuts in the entire building, which we munched together over endless cups of tea (plenty of tea). Cavernous, yellow, grubby - and that was the salubrious tearoom bit. The bar (propped up by one sad bloke) smelled of urine and the whole thing was somehow crowned by the sight of Michael Gove on a massive screen. We drove back down the Ystywth valley and waxed pre-emptively nostalgic for its legendary grimness, soon to be obliterated by the new owners - it was the day they signed the contract.
The Three Bridges Bar is attached to the Hotel.
The Hafod Arms, a neat and comfortable house, built by Mr Johnes…. We were for some time in painful suspense whether or not we could procure beds for the night, as the house is full, and the apartments all occupied; at length, however, we were made easy by the information that a neighbouring gentleman would accommodate us at his villa, which stands about half a mile from the inn.
Warner, Richard, Rev (1763-1857), A Walk through Wales in Aug, 1797, (1798), p. 72
Mentioned in auction notice "Mr. John Thomas, of the Devil's-Bridge inn, will shew the Premises..." Cambrian, 23 Feb 1805
Considerable improvements have taken place at the Devil's bridge under Mr Johnes. The Bridge itself is quite a new object, and Mr Johnes has laid the foundation of a new spacious Hotel which will be completed next spring, the present house being found inadequate.
Carmarthen Journal, 2.9.1814
for more, see attachmentAdditional information
People associated with this establishment Mid Wales Hotel Company, [-]