Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

A trip to the North Wales Borderlands

16th January 2007

I was over in Llangollen last Sunday and picked up a copy of the 2007 visitor brochure for the North Wales Borderlands. Under this banner, the local authorities of Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire are promoting the area’s worth as a destination for visitors; particularly those who might stay for a few days, I would assume. The area may not be foremost to those considering North Wales for a holiday, but the area definitely does have its charms and does prove to be something of a visitor magnet in its own right.

My first encounter with the region was when I began to visit Llangollen. The town might list a heritage railway and canal among its attractions, but it is its location in the scenic Vale of Llangollen that draws me. To the south of the Dee Valley lie the wilder country among the Berwyns and the Offa’s Dyke Path, a national trail, also passes near here. On my first foray, I walked over the hill playing host to the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran before heading to another ruin, that of the splendid Valle Crucis Abbey. From there, my return to Llangollen took me by the Llangollen Canal and within sight of the Llangollen Railway. Other visits have seen me taking in the Horseshoe Falls and sections of the Offa’s Dyke Path. One trek along this national trail saw me walk from Llangollen to Llandegla before heading to Wrexham and returning home.

The Vale of Llangollen hasn’t been the only part of Denbighshire that has been the subject of my attentions, though. In fact, I once headed to Denbigh in the Vale of Clwyd for a low-level walk along the line of the Clwydian Range to Ruthin (or Rhuthun in Welsh). That was sufficiently enjoyable that a return to those parts remains a possibility.

To return to last Sunday, the offer of a fine day in Wales was too tempting to ignore, and it felt more like April than January. Initially, my plans were to go to Llangollen for a walk in the vicinity of the Berwyns, but an alternative idea came to me and replaced the original one. The new scheme took me to Chirk, from where I picked up a short section of the Offa’s Dyke Path after proceeding along the Ceiriog Valley, rounding the substantial hulk of Chirk Castle on my way. I then left the trail to head for Llangollen and was greeted by fine views of the Vale of Llangollen on my descent to my destination. The only fly in the ointment was the lack of height in the sun late on a January day, but the vistas were memorable nonetheless.

Ceiriog Valley, Chirk, Wrexham, Wales

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