Welsh Adventure Chapter 2: Exploring Hinterland Locations

Hinterland Mathias on gravel road

As we drove to our Sykes Cottages place Barbara House in Cardigan Bay I saw the signs for Devils Bridge, it nudged something dark in my subconscious but I couldn’t for the life of me place what. I watched from the window as we entered an otherworldly landscape of hinterland locations: forest, isolated farmhouses, tiny chapels, reservoirs and rugged open moorland, red kites soared ominously above the trees. This part of Wales is quite unique, mountains give way to a wonderfully remote feeling, it reminded me of Canada in its scale of houses to land. The land soon gives way to the sea and a stretch of beautifully multi coloured seafront houses in pretty villages.

We stayed in a beautiful blue house in the seaside village of Llannon.

IMG_6948

As I was flicking through the leaflets in the gorgeous and cosy cottage, I saw leaflets advertising walks round tiny remote chapels and again something in my subconscious ruffled the hairs on my neck. It wasn’t until I reached the bottom of the pile of leaflets and found this one that I finally realised where the creepy feelings had come from. An episode of Hinterland we had watched on Netflix.

If you haven’t seen it, mysterious DCI Mathias starts a new job based in Aberystwyth and the surrounding area, or Hinterland. His first day on the job sees him solving a murder in Devil’s Bridge, the climax of the episode takes place in a tiny remote chapel. The series was part of a BBC commitment to showing more Wales on TV and it was made simultaneously in Welsh and English, in Welsh it was titled Y Gwyll or The Dusk.

Visiting the setting of HInterland

We had an amazing time exploring the seaside villages of Aberaeron and New Quay, but by Tuesday I felt I needed to exorcise the Hinterland demons and explore Devil’s Bridge. It turned out to be a great day out for the family, with the added layer of filmic interest for Mr A and I.

 

Hinterland Locations – Devil’s Bridge

I remember DCI Mathias finding bloodstains on this bridge, but the sunshine, ticket office, shop, signage and other visitors soon helped me feel more at ease. It is a stunning family nature walk.

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

While the kids leapt about and marvelled at the landscape, it was hard not to see it all in camera angles, what an amazing place to shoot! A Hitchcock dream, with the vertigo enhancing set of the River Mynach crashing through the deep ravine of ferns and ancient oaks. The perfect thriller setting, so many steps, a winding path, so desolate and no idea what is lurking at the end.

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

The hotel is also used as a set, and a really creepy back story it has too, I won’t ruin it for you.

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

Devil’s Bridge has a great folk story behind it – the shop can give you a map and a copy or you can download it here – and as we walked down the ravine I began to read it out to the rest of the family, who were hooked. Hinterland unfolds around a team of modern detectives, but also draws on the ancient legends of Ceredigion and Wales, which makes it a really powerful thriller narrative.

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

This picture really captures how much the landscape seems to belong to another world, Mr A said it reminds him of Canada.

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

Once you reach the bottom of the ravine the views of the 300ft waterfall are stunning.

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

We really enjoyed Jacob’s Ladder, a set of 100 steps. Again the photos start to remind me of a thriller…I used to love teaching a Media Studies A Level module on making a thriller opening sequence, I can see exactly why Hinterland was filmed here, apart from the dramatic setting, the angles and sense of vertigo is really effective too.

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

The walk has lots to keep everyone entertained, a bridge at the bottom, before climbing back up the other side, alongside the waterfall.

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

The kids were excited to find icicles.

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

One last look back, through a telescope that again screamed thriller opening sequence to me too.

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

More stunning views of the incredible landscape.

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

 

Hafod Hotel

The nature walk brings you out at the Hafod Hotel, I had to take some pictures, I won’t spoil the story but those windows and the phone box were so engrained in my mind.

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

Exploring the setting of HInterland and Devils Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales

 

Aberystwyth

After a day out Hinterland style we decided to follow DCI Mathias’s footsteps to Aberystwyth, where the police station is set. It was a grey day, and we were too hungry to spend much time looking for a dog friendly cafe or pub, so instead we went for chips on the sea front, which snuggled in a little shelter together was blissful. Max our greyhound especially loved the fact he got to snaffle everyone’s leftovers.

Aberyswyth

Aberyswyth

It was followed by tea and cake in a cafe and a bit of pocket money shopping. Max the greyhound was made such fuss of everywhere we went in Aberystwyth, such a friendly, lovely place full of exactly the kind of shops my kids, and their grown ups love.

Aberyswyth

 

 

Need to Know

Visit our gorgeous Sykes Cottage base Barbara House,  here and take a tour in this post, or see our fun on the beach!

Devils Bridge Falls – Info, maps and opening times

Dogs are allowed on leads. The only part of this walk that wasn’t so large dog friendly was getting out through the turnstile at the far end. Max took a lot of coaxing to go through, but luckily he did it. It was that or walk all the way back down and up and ask the man in the shop to let us through. It might be worth visiting during times when the attendant is there if you have a large dog. Attendant at entrance from 9.45 am to 5.30 pm but hours do vary depending on high or low season. More info here

Other Hinterland locations can be found by downloading this brochure.

We were guests of Sykes Cottages, opinions remain my own.

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23 Comments

  1. 22/03/2016 / 11:00 am

    Oh I adore this part of Wales, and now I am desperate to go back (And to watch Hinterland!) Such gorgeous pics, I love the dramatic scenery in this part of the world!

    • parentshaped
      23/03/2016 / 9:02 am

      Dramatic is the word isn’t it?

  2. 22/03/2016 / 1:13 pm

    Beautiful photos. I love Wales and these encapsulate everything that is amazing about it – just so unspoilt and stunning! Need to watch Hinterland now! xx

    • parentshaped
      23/03/2016 / 9:02 am

      I didn’t get past the first one, I am a wimp!

  3. 22/03/2016 / 3:52 pm

    Ooh! It’s almost like you were in your own episode of a TV series!!! Lovely photography in nature and of the family. I must see if I can find Hinterland on catch up or box sets!!

    • parentshaped
      23/03/2016 / 9:03 am

      I think it was on Netflix, def box sets

  4. 22/03/2016 / 4:07 pm

    I’ve never seen the show, but I can see why you wanted to visit Devil’s Bridge. What a spookily wonderful place to explore. Love that shot of Mr A replicating Hinterland! He looks the part. x

    • parentshaped
      23/03/2016 / 9:03 am

      Very spooky and very beautiful.

  5. 22/03/2016 / 6:46 pm

    Stunning photo’s and I LOVED hinterland. Liz, you will love it, you have to find it on Netflix. Wales will always hold a big place in my heart. We had our Honeymoon in North Wales

  6. parentshaped
    23/03/2016 / 9:04 am

    So much time spent in Wales with my Mum and Dad Jen, great place for a honeymoon – happy memories all round eh!

  7. 23/03/2016 / 11:18 am

    Wow, your shots are so atmospheric! I missed Hinterland when it was on TV – this has reminded me that I need to watch it. I remember going to Devil’s Bridge as a child – it’s not that far from where I grew up – and it has stayed with me. Such a dramatic area.

  8. 23/03/2016 / 12:23 pm

    Ah lovely post as I grew up just a few miles away from Llanon/Devils bridge… You’ve made me feel v homesick 🙂
    Glad you had a lovely time x x

  9. 24/03/2016 / 4:34 pm

    Your photos are stunning, and the place is so beautiful.

  10. 25/03/2016 / 6:47 am

    I so want to stay in that blue cottage! It looks an amazing place to visit, Wales is on my list and maybe later this year we’ll get there. I haven’t seen Hitherland looks like something I’d enjoy so will look it up

    • parentshaped
      30/03/2016 / 8:07 pm

      Loved the blue cottage!

  11. 26/03/2016 / 7:18 am

    I have not heard to Hinterland before but that scenery is stunning. Wales is on our to do list for this year and hopefully we will get to visit. It looks stunning here

    • parentshaped
      30/03/2016 / 8:06 pm

      Do go!

  12. 27/03/2016 / 10:12 am

    Oh Penny I just love this, beautifully written and wonderful photographs. I used to go to wales a lot as a child albeit not the same place but it brings back fabulous memories. Hinterland looks like such a great place to visit, POD would love it. The word ‘devil’ reminds me of the Devil’s Staircase which forms part of the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand. It doesn’t get that name for nothing 🙂

    • parentshaped
      30/03/2016 / 8:06 pm

      Thanks Charly, I am intrigued, fancy a trip to NZ now!

  13. 30/03/2016 / 7:21 pm

    We have never visited that part of the world, beautiful images and informative post.

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