Vale of Rheidol Railway

We spent an excellent day walking some of the trails on Gilfach Nature Reserve in gloriously sunny weather. The forecast for the following day was cool and cloudy; we decided this might be the opportunity to ride the Vale of Rheidol Railway from Devil's Bridge to Aberystwyth, a distance of about 12 miles.

Video 1: Steam Locomotive - Vale of Rheidol Railway

A few years earlier, we had booked the same trip but it was cancelled at the last minute due to a fire on the track. That disappointment did not last long as it allowed us to spend more time in Devil's Bridge itself, including a visit to the Falls.

However, we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves. First, there was the trip from Rhayader to Devil's Bridge to enjoy. This mountain drive along the B4518 has been described by the AA as one of the 10 best scenic drives in the world. That is quite a claim! Here are a few photographs taken en route to help you make up your own mind. 

Photo 1: Waterfalls on the Mountain Scenic Route

Photo 2: Hills in the Distance

Photo 3: Top of the Elan Valley

Photo 4: Top of the Elan Valley 2

Photo 5: Scenic Mountain Views

Photo 6: The Road to Devil's Bridge

Photo 7: Cwmystwyth Lead Mine Workings

Having arrived at Devil's Bridge, time for a cuppa at the Two Hoots cafe before boarding the train and setting off for Aberystwyth. The train hugs the side of the valley so the extensive views are all on one side of the track. These waterfalls looked far more impressive than the Rheidol Falls - a series of cascades on the river itself.

Photo 8: Distant Waterfalls

Photo 9: Cwm Rheidol Reservoir

Photo 10: Distant Views Looking Seaward

It was a quick 30 minute turnaround at Aberystwyth. Just time for hot chocolate drinks to ward off the chilly weather and a long friendly chat with one of the guards from whom we learned little nuggets of information. For example, all the staff are paid and the trains always run even if empty. Apparently, many of the heritage railways in Wales only run above a certain capacity and require pre-booking. On the way back to Devil's Bridge we noticed a lot of dead trees - possibly larch infected by Phytophthora Ramorum.

Photo 11: Dead Larch Trees on the Horizon

Video 2: View of Steam Locomotive from Carriage (Rheidol Railway)

All in all, a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon on a cold grey day in Wales. On a better day, we would have stayed awhile in Aberystwyth to enjoy the fresh sea air.


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