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The Triple Bridge of Pontarfynach

About 15 km outside Aberystwyth, in Wales, is a small village named Pontarfynach, meaning “the bridge on the Mynach”. As the name suggest, the village’s most prized attraction is a bridge.

The bridge is unusual as it consist of not one but three stacked bridges, each one built upon the previous bridge. The original and the lowest bridge was built in the 11th century. When that was thought to be unstable, a second stone bridge was built over the gorge directly atop the original bridge. That was in the mid-18th century. The original bridge was not demolished; rather it was used to support scaffolding during construction. The third and the final bridge is an iron bridge constructed in 1901. Again, the previous two bridges were left untouched, perhaps to preserve them.

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Photo credit: Alex Liivet/Flickr

The bridge is named Devil’s Bridge, based on the legend that the original bridge was built by the Devil himself to let a local woman rescue her cow which had somehow got to the other side of the gorge. Expecting the woman to walk across to get it, the Devil made one condition that he received the soul of the first living creature to cross the bridge. However, the woman tricked the Devil by letting her dog run across the bridge first, thus leaving the Devil with a soul of a dog.

The bridge is located at a point where the River Mynach drops 90 meters in a series of steps down a steep and narrow ravine before it meets the River Rheidol.

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Photo credit: James Stringer/Flickr

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Photo credit: Ruben Holthuijsen/Flickr

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Photo credit: Alex Liivet/Flickr

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