Tuesday 6 January 2015

Beyond the Bridge

One of the best things about research trips is that there is very often a coffee shop involved somewhere. Writers need coffee; it's a proven fact. Even better, when the research trip actually involves going to a coffee shop or, in this case, the Tu Hwnt i'r Bont Tea Room in Llanrwst.

Take a look at the photograph below. Do you recognise the view? It's one of the most famous in Wales. This photo was taken last week (January) but if you were to see Tu Hwnt i'r Bont in the summer, the house would be covered - and I mean covered - in lush green Virginia creeper. In the autumn it looks even more fabulous, because the creeper turns a beautiful scarlet.

Tu Hwnt i’r Bont in Llanrwst

As soon as I saw Tu Hwnt i’r Bont I knew I'd have to write a story about it and eventually I used it as the location for Kat's coffee shop and bookstore in Something Wicked. In my story the cottage is surrounded by woodland, and the bridge and river are much further away (and quite different in appearance). If you do get a chance to visit Tu Hwnt i’r Bont, you will recognise at once that the interior is not remotely like the one described in my book. The great thing about being a writer is that you can take bits and pieces from life, rather like a magpie, and weave them into your own original story.

Tu Hwnt i’r Bont (Beyond the Bridge) is a lot older than the bridge beside it. The house was originally built in 1480 before being turned into a courthouse. Over the years the house fell into disrepair before being acquired by the National Trust and leased out. It was turned into tearooms fifty years ago.

Tu Hwnt i’r Bont

Llanrwst takes its name from the 6th-century Saint Grwst the Confessor. As well as Tu Hwnt i’r Bont, there are the alms-houses and the Parish Church of St Grwst, which holds the empty stone sarcophagus of Llywelyn the Great (I've mentioned that before, here). The famous stone bridge, Y Bont Fawr (the Great Bridge), with its three huge arches, is said to have been designed by Indigo Jones, and was built in 1636 by Sir John Wynn, who lived in the nearby Gwydir Castle (also definitely worth a visit).

Gwydir Castle in Llanrwst

Something Wicked

 Katrina Davenport has opened a coffee shop and bookstore in the notorious Raven’s Cottage, once the home of a 17th century witch known as Magik Meg. The locals have told Kat stories, of how the cottage is haunted by the witch and her demon lover, but Kat doesn’t believe in witches, or ghosts, or anything that goes bump in the dead of night. Every strange thing that happened since she moved in must have a perfectly logical explanation.

Unfortunately it doesn’t really matter what Kat believes, because something wicked has returned to Raven’s Cottage.

And this time it’s come for Kat.

To read an extract, click here:

Something Wicked: Behind the Scenes


Tu Hwnt i’r Bont (website)

Related Posts:
Let It Snow
A Grave Obsession
Things That Go Bump


  1. An interesting read. Your photos are fab...images I'd like to step into :)

    1. Thank you, Kimmie! I try to remember to take my camera with me wherever I go. The photos come in very handy when I want to illustrate a blog post!

  2. The beyond the bridge place looks so beautiful and tranquil!

    1. Thank you, Lotte! It is beautiful - and very quiet. It is one of my favourite places to visit. x