Starting in Llangollen, the walk meanders through beautiful countryside while passing several historic several historic landmarks such as Horseshoe Falls, Dinas Bran Castle and Offa's Dyke.
Renowned for the surrounding hills and the River Dee, Llangollen has something for every visitor with its independent shops and places to eat, drink and stay to suit every budget. You can take a stroll along the Victoria Promenade to the Riverside Park for a picnic or watch the river tumble down beneath the bridge. This is a great base to explore the area and the Llangollen History Trail is one of the best ways to do it.
The Horseshoe Falls
The Horseshoe Falls is a picturesque semi-circular weir designed by the famous engineer Thomas Telford in 1806 to supply water to the Shropshire Union Canal. However, the canal took so much water from the River Dee that many of the local mills were forced out of business. This is a lovely spot to stop for a picnic or a visit to a pub. The Sun Inn at Trevor is a fine example of what Denbighshire has to offer.
Llantysilio Church occupies high ground just north of the Horseshoe Falls. Originally a small chapel built around 1254, the church was restored by the Victorians in 1869. Inside are a rare medieval oak eagle lectern and two small 15th-century stained glass figures incorporated into the later north window.
The River Dee
The River Dee has been important for centuries, with many myths and legends entwined in its past. The Dee is internationally important due to species such as Atlantic salmon and freshwater pearl mussel. Not surprisingly, the valley through which this river runs forms part of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Llangollen Canal
The Llangollen Canal opened in 1805 to carry slate from nearby quarries to the growing cities of England. Although 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 one of the most laid back forms of transport in the form of Horse-Drawn Boat trips.
Valle Crucis Abbey
Valle Crucis Abbey was once the second richest abbey in Wales, after Tintern. Founded by Cistercian monks in 1201, the abbey was lived in until the Dissolution of the monastery in 1537. Look across at Velvet Hill whose Welsh name, Coed Hyrddyn, means ‘wood of the long man’ which may relate to the tall skeleton unearthed beneath the 9th Century Eliseg’s Pillar nearby.
Dinas Bran Castle
Built in the 1260s by a local Welsh ruler, Prince Gruffudd ap Madoc, to guard the strategic route through the Dee Valley, Dinas Bran Castle appears as an impressive landmark throughout this route. Although little remains of this once great castle, it is well worth the steep climb for the spectacular views over Llangollen and the surrounding countryside below.
You can lengthen your walk to take in the impressive limestone Eglwyseg Escarpment, visible as a white scar on the landscape for much of the route. It was formed some 350 million years ago in a warm, shallow tropical sea teeming with life which you can now see as fossils. The screes have accumulated since the end of the last Ice Age, some 11,000 years ago, as millions of angular pieces of rock have been dislodged by frost.
If you want to lengthen your walk, you can join the Offa's Dyke Path. Offa's Dyke was built by the King of Mercia between 757 and 796 AD to form the boundary between England and Wales. It runs 182 miles from Prestatyn in the north to Sedbury, near Chepstow in the south.
Find out about appropriate clothing and footwear as well as more info on protecting and enjoying the countryside in the Countryside Code.