An almost unheard-of waterfall, in a rarely visited part of Pembrokeshire.
Ffynone Waterfall is located on the Afon Dulas (another one), near Newchapel, a tiny village on the B4332 in Pembrokeshire, close to Cenarth (in Wales, in case you hadn't guessed by now). The name is not officially recognised, and the waterfall is so called only because it is the only significant waterfall in Ffynone Wood (a name that is officially recognised). The wood is named after the Ffynone Country House and gardens, whose name is a misspelling of the Welsh word Ffynhonnau - meaning fountains, springs or wells. The spelling Ffynnonau is also used for a nearby house, and Ffynnone is also mistakenly used in reference to the country house and waterfall.
The reason that this unnamed waterfall has made my lists is due to the mythology associated with it, which will be discussed later. To keep things easy, I have used the most common name for it, though you may also find it referred to as Ffynone Falls, or with "falls" or "waterfall" used in combination with any of the (mis-)spellings of Ffynhonnau.
- Near Bronwydd Arms in the Afon Gwili valley.
- A toll house dating from the 1840s in Cynwyl Elfed. These were used to charge a tax for using the turnpike roads, and were the cause of some resentment, being a factor that caused the Rebecca Riots of the 1840s (where men dressed as the biblical Rebecca, and took part in destroying the gates).
- The Teifi valley near cenarth, the largest river in the area, draining the western side of the Cambrian Mountains.
- Cenarth Falls, the best known of the waterfalls in the area, but really more like a rapid, especially in such high water. Rubbish picture from a moving car, since I couldn't be bothered to pay for a car park yet again for such an insignificant step in the river. This is a relatively popular place though, so if you're visiting, you might as well see both waterfalls in the same day.
- Sheep farming at the most significant meander in the Teifi near Cenarth.
- I would have taken a better framed picture, but the trees had been felled over a large swathe of the bank, marring the picture opportunity. But what an impressive pile of logs.
- The Afon Cych, a feeder to the Teifi near Cenarth.
- Frenni Fawr (395 metres) and Frenni Fach (301 metres), source of the Afon Dulas, a feeder to the Afon Cych.
- Just east of Newchapel on the B4332, a narrow lane drops down into the Afon Dulas valley. Just before levelling out at the bottom of the valley, some large parking areas may be used on either side of the road. A track leads from the western parking area towards the sound of falling water.
- The source of the noise is the dam of a small reservoir.
- Weir below the dam.
- Dam outflow.
- The dam holds back a small reservoir in the swampy valley. The river has a decidedly bad smell, originating from the farmlands and sewage works at the river's source, and the rotting vegetation in the swamp. Although the waterfall's pool has been used for bathing, and even a druidic baptism, it's not a place I would recommend for such activities.
- Just past the dam, the track reaches a house, and splits into several side tracks. The way to the waterfall is to stick to the right bank of the lake, following the track passing the right side of the house.
- The path through Ffynone Wood.
- The path leads directly to the plunge pool of Ffynone Waterfall. The waterfall is about 4 metres tall, thundering into a narrow slot, with a (possibly artificial) overflow waterfall on the left that appears only in elevated water conditions. Our visit was in winter, a couple of days after heavy rain, and the overflow was already drying up. Somewhere above the pool there is also a face carved into a tree, but we did not see it.
- The plunge pool is especially deep, appearing to be perhaps 5 metres or more. It is reputed to be the site of the gateway to Annwn; the Welsh mythological Otherworld or spirit realm. The legend says that this is the place where Arawn, then ruler of Annwn, and Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed, traded places for a year and a day. Sounds plausible, right?
- The path crosses the river via a slimy log or a ford over a shallow part of the plunge pool, continuing up to various farms, and routes out of the valley.
- Above the waterfall.
- Cascade above the waterfall.
- Afon Dulas.