Llangollen, North Wales Sunday 26th October 2014

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader: Steve Budd   Distance: approx. 11.5 miles

Today we are going to the end of the world or more precise, Worlds End.

This is a walk I enjoyed and I hope you do too. We leave Llangollen and head north towards Castell Dinas Bran. This is the first of two climbs of the day, you can choose whether to climb to the summit or go around, great views from summit though. From there we pick up Offa’s Dyke Path for a few miles to end up at Worlds End (may have lunch here). We then follow a quiet road south past World Ends Farm and onto a path leading to Eglwyseg Glen, our second climb. Continuing south we eventually pick up the Clwydian Way. We follow this back, passing the remains of an Abbey called Valle Crucis (impressive and if time allows we can visit the Abbey), eventually arriving at a main road and turning right to Motor Museum, cross the bridge onto the Llangollen Canal and back to Llangollen.

There is a degree of road walking on quiet roads for about 4 miles all told – no choice because of time restrictions. We will have to do a reasonable pace today if we are to visit the Abbey and also to get back in time for refreshments. Please consider this if choosing this walk.

Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 6 and a bit miles

We start our walk from the coach park. Then we go out over the river heading up to the castle’s ruins for some lovely views. We then head down onto Offa’s Dyke and along a panoramic walk. Then through Trevor Hall Wood and down to the canal and a nice flat walk back to Llangollen for cream tea. Very nice. Those 6 miles felt like 9.

Leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey   Distance : 6.5 miles

This is a very leisurely walk with no real ups and downs. We start our walk along the canal in the direction of Castell Dinas Bran. Our walk takes us around the bottom of the castell where we join the History Trail. We then head in the direction of World’s End. We pass some interesting seats and tables supplied by ‘Kunteye’ (!) and friends, which we will be tempted to use as the views are stunning. We then make our way back to Llangollen.

Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 5.5 miles

We leave Llangollen on the canal as far as the motor museum, then an easy ascent to Valle Crucis Abbey. We continue around the north end of Velvet Hill on a rough footpath (but there is an alternative minor road) and then drop down to Horseshoe Falls before returning along the canal.

Notes On The Area

Llangollen has much to offer the visitor. Firstly it is full of history.

The lovely bridge over the Dee was originally a pack-horse bridge, built by John Trevor, Bishop of St Asaph, in 1345; and it has been widened several times since. The rapids below it are a testing ground for canoeists. Llangollen Railway Station was on the Great Western Railway’s line from Ruabon to Dolgellau. It received its first train in 1862 and the line westward to Corwen opened in 1865, but a century later British Rail closed this route, a victim of the Beeching cutbacks. Preservationists re-opened the station in 1975 and the Llangollen Railway Society now runs steam and diesel hauled trains to Berwyn.

There are Bronze Age burial grounds in the area which can be seen from the Castle.

The Cistercian Valle Crucis Abbey was founded in 1201 and was home to about 60 monks. It thrived for a long time and survived attacks from Edward 1st and the Black Death but it eventually succumbed to the Dissolution in 1537. If you see ducks on the pond note that this is the only medieval fish pond in Wales.

Dinas Bran Castle was built in the 1260’s by Prince Gryffudd (pronounced Griffith) ap Madoc to guard the strategic Dee Valley. But it is now in ruins. There is a steep climb up to the castle but it is worth it for the fantastic views of the countryside, and also of Thomas Telford’s great Pontcysllte Aqueduct used to carry the Llangollen Canal over the Dee. It was opened in 1805 and has been in use ever since.

The Llangollen Canal is a branch of the Shropshire Union Canal and was completed in 1805 by Telford. It was originally built to carry slate from the quarries in North Wales to the growing cities in England but with the coming of the railways the canal companies soon faced bankruptcy. The Llangollen Wharf Pleasure Boat Company was founded in 1884 and visitors can still enjoy a very relaxing horse drawn boat ride barge today.

The canal ends one mile westwards at the Horseshoe Falls, a semi-circular weir designed by Telford to hold back the water needed to keep the canal topped up. Unfortunately the water level in the Dee fell so much that many mills along the river went out of business.

Llanysilio Church is worth a visit. It was built originally in 1250 but the present building is a Victorian reconstruction. It contains exhibitions about its history.

The very pleasant scenery includes the attractive Horseshoe Falls mentioned above. Velvet Hill has the soft texture of sheep grazed grass. People think that it is special grass but really sheep make very good mowers.

The limestone escarpment of Trevor Rocks is an impressive sight. It began as a coral reef in tropical water 350 million years ago. The Offa’s Dyke Path follows this road on its journey of some 170 miles between Chepstow and Prestatyn, although the nearest stretch of dyke is actually the earlier Wat’s Dyke, about 6 miles to the east.

The world famous International Eisteddfod takes place in Llangollen each year during the second week in July.

The Dee is good for water sports with canoeing down the rapids being the best known. There are other white water activities available too. It is also a salmon river and has fresh water pearl mussels.