The goings on in and around Bridgend

Digital Bridgend, Short Trail No.1

Maesteg and the Llynfi Valley: The Maid of Cefn Ydfa Trail

Intro _2

Llangynwyd, is a picturesque and ancient village in the Llynfi Valley with at atmosphere like no other. I love this place, it has a church in its centre, neatly placed on a square in the centre of the hamlet, two pubs (one with a thatched roof the other one of the oldest pubs in Wales and home to some ancient Welsh traditions), the largest private graveyard in Europe and an incredible history. The village is one of the few places remaining in Wales that celebrates the New Year, or Calennig, with the Mari Lwyd - a horse's skull draped in a white sheet with flowers. The Maid of Cefn Ydfa Trail starts with the View of Cefn Ydfa Farm in the car park of the Old House Inn (that's the one with the thatched roof). The commentary kicks in and we are told the beginnings of a famous Welsh love story from these parts involving a certain Ann Maddocks who lived on the farm but was orphaned at the age of 2 in 1706. Once again, I don't want to give away the story so will just provide a 'walk through' of the tour around this unique must-visit village in the heart of the Llynfi Valley.

Wp 1-5_ann

The other local character in this love story is Will Hopkin, and the next stop on the trail takes you to the site where he once lived - by the side of the churchyard where a plaque marks his formed abode - the Croft and Forge - now covered by the graveyard.

From here, we are taken on a journey following this intriguing and very sad story. We are led into the ancient 6th Century church, passing 'the message tree' where we are informed through the app that the forbidden lovers exchanged notes to each other. The church is significant in this story as Ann was forced to marry another local character who she did not love, and this reluctant union with Anthony Maddocks took place in St Cynwyds Church.

The tour takes us to various points of interest throughout the church and the churchyard, almost every few yards there's something interesting that we're told. There's the graves of the characters in this story and of course, the compelling story itself which unfolds as we walk through these peaceful surroundings.

Eventually, we are guided by the app through the church gates to the memorial cross in the village. This was erected in the name of Ann and her lover, and also dons the names of other local people of historical significance. The app then takes us across the road to 'The Corner House' where apparently Will Hopkin once lived and many believe still does! There have been some 'happenings' in this establishment by all accounts and the staff merely put it down to "Will being about".

The trail then ends appropriately with the excellent Ghost Hunter game. I liked this as it was simple even for me. Just tap the screen where the ghost appears in the pub window. Now I've completed this trail in a beautiful hidden & historic village, it's time to enjoy a drink in one of the pubs. Maybe I'll go to both!

A review of the new #DigitalBridgend App by Andrew Lloyd Hughes

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