15th November 2016 by

Posted in Wales

5 Magical Places outside Pembrokeshire

Explored all of Pembrokeshire? here’s some more magical treats for you just over the border.

1. Devil’s Bridge Falls, Ceredigion
High above the River Mynach is the very unusual bridge formation knows as Devil’s Bridge – it is actually three bridges built on top of each other. According to legend, the original bridge was built by the Devil in return for the soul of the first living thing to cross the bridge, however he was tricked by an old woman who threw bread onto the bridge, her dog crossed the bridge for the bread and the devil had to make do with the soul of a dog!
Located 12 miles from Aberystwyth, the waterfalls have attracted tourists since the 18th Century, most notably the romantic poet William Wordsworth who wrote about the “torrent at the Devil’s Bridge”.
The nature trail walk takes around 45 minutes and leads through ancient oak woodland to the bottom of the magnificent 300ft waterfall. The shorter ’punchbowl’ walk takes around 10 minutes and provides a spectacular view of the three bridges towering high above. Sturdy walking boots are recommended for both walks.
2. Amman Valley & the Black Mountains, Carmarthenshire
Abounding in myth and legend, the Amman Valley is a paradise for walkers and ramblers, the views from the mountains being truly breath-taking. Folklore has it that King Arthur and his knights hunted wild board in the valley – hence the boar emblem on the trail boards in this area.
Today there is little evidence of the area’s quarrying and mining past. Instead, the landscape is now peaceful and majestic, with an abundance of wildlife and birds enjoying the mountains and rivers once more. And the once endangered Red Kites now fly high above the mountains, gracing the skies with their magnificent presence.
The area is popular with mountain bikers who like to test their skills on this rugged terrain.
The dramatic landscape is also popular with film makers, when the steep and winding roads have been used to test driving skills on TV shows such as Top Gear.
3. Fairy Glen, Conwy, North Wales
If you’re looking for somewhere magical then Fairy Glen in the picturesque village of Betws-y-Coed in the Snowdonia National Park, North Wales really is well worth a visit. You will be spellbound by the natural beauty of this area along the Conwy River and the enchanting waterfall has a truly magical feel about it – if you believe in fairies then this certainly is the sort of place where they could be found.
There is a small admission fee of 50p to cover maintenance of the paths, but children go free (however the walk is not suitable for prams/pushchairs).
Sturdy walking boots are a must as there are some steep sections and the area can be a little slippery when wet, but well worth it for the peace and tranquillity of the woodland walks, with a variety of trees and wild flowers, as well as birds and wildlife . The area is a Local Nature Reserve managed by Conwy Countryside Services.
4. Castle Coch, Tongwynlais, Nr. Cardiff
This fairy tale castle is actually a 19th century Gothic Revival castle built on the site of a former Norman castle in the village of Tongwynlais, South Wales.
Welsh for ‘Red Castle’, Castle Coch was designed by the architect William Burges as a country residence for John Crichtion-Stuart, the 3rd Marquis of Bute, in 1875. The castle that stands on the site today was reconstructed from what remained of a medieval castle, the rebuild being finally completed in 1891. The interior of the castle is said to be one of the finest examples of Victorian Gothic, with opulent decorative ceilings and extravagant furnishings.
Sadly, the castle was rarely used and started to deteriorate, so in 1950 the Bute family passed it over to the care of Cadw, the Welsh Government’s heritage agency. Castle Coch is now a very popular tourist attraction and houses many arts and craft exhibitions.
5. The National Showcaves Centre for Wales, Abercrave, Swansea
Discover some amazing natural wonders in this fascinating underground cave formation deep below the Welsh countryside.
Open seasonally from around March to the end of October, the caves are also open in December for their amazing Father Christmas Experience where you can visit Santa in a truly magical underground natural grotto, set amongst amazing cave formations with underground lakes and waterfalls. The spectacular lighting and decorations create a truly unique and magical experience for children and adults alike.
Discovered by accident in 1912 by the Morgan brothers, the caves are now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Wales and hold a host of awards including Britain’s finest natural wonder.
As well as the three caves – Dany Yr Ogof, Cathedral Cave and Bone Cave – other attractions on the site include a museum, Iron Age farm exhibition and the Fossil House, plus you can even have a go at panning for gold!!