The Gothic Arcade

In the bicentenary year of the death of Thomas Johnes (1748-1816), his wonderful landscape at Hafod is as favoured as ever by discerning walkers and lovers of the Picturesque. One of the most popular walks is the Ystwyth Gorge Walk, where the spectacular Chain Bridge, rebuilt in 2003, crosses a ravine with the Ystwyth roaring below.

This year has seen the restoration of a mysterious and evocative little structure known as the Gothic Arcade, perched on a rocky platform beside the path and commanding a view of the gorge and bridge. On Friday 28th October, representatives of the Hafod Trust and Natural Resources Wales (NRW), national and local politicians, and supporters of the Hafod Project gathered at the Arcade for an opening ceremony.

Philip Ellis, vice-Chairman of the Hafod Trust, welcomed guests and summarized how, over the past twenty-two years, Hafod had become better known and accessible to a wider audience as walks, bridges and other historical features were restored. Throughout, the ruined Gothic Arcade defied efforts by researchers to discover its precise history, with no old photographs or descriptions coming to light. A stylised painting by John Piper, done in 1939, was the only known image of the three-arched structure when intact. Over the following decades it had collapsed, leaving two precarious pillars.

Mr Ellis thanked Cadw for their help in enabling the rescue of this threatened structure, contractors Abbey Masonry and Hafod Trust staff for its successful completion in such a remote and challenging site, and NRW for its financial and in-kind support.

Andy Middleton, a non-executive Director of NRW, cut the ribbon to officially open the restored monument. He noted how Johnes and his visitors had celebrated the landscape for its visual qualities, while today we can enjoy this aspect and at the same time experience and learn from nature at a deeper level. "Spending time in nature heals people" said Mr Middleton. At a time of declining wildlife and shrinking resources, he saw an ever more important duty to care for the natural environment and to change people's relationship with it. This process starts on the ground, with partners working together to deliver projects such as Hafod.

From The Cambrian News: 'A "MYSTERIOUS" Gothic monument...'


The Gothic ArcadeThe Gothic Arcade
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