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Walking in Wales

May 9, 2022

It was a wonderful weather day yesterday, so to make the most of it we drove about an hours journey into Llangollen, Wales. We had heard of the the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal World Heritage Site and were keen to have a walk around the area.

In the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, north Wales was at the centre of a tourism boom in Britain. A growing middle-class made money in the industrial cities but also wanted to escape them and find peaceful, unspoiled countryside.

The canal was built as an industrial development, but it quickly became known as a pleasant route to walk, with views of the Dee valley. The two aqueducts and tunnels drew admiration from visitors. Many commented on how well the structures fitted into the natural surroundings, while at the same time praising the engineering feats.

Artist Anthony Lysycia created some of the sculpture at the site using bricks and tools used in the building and maintenance of the Bridge.

At the visitor car park entrance to the Trevor Basin is a sculpture (above) showing a narrowboat propeller. It represents setting off on a journey from Trevor. There are six sculptures by Anthony Lysycia around the aqueduct, commissioned in 2003 as the bid for World Heritage Status was beginning to be considered.

The canal brought water borne transport from the English lowlands into the rugged terrain of the Welsh uplands, using innovative techniques to cross two major river valleys and the ridge between them. It was built between 1795 and 1808 by two outstanding figures in the development of civil engineering: Thomas Telford and William Jessop. Through their dynamic relationship the canal became a testing ground for new ideas that were carried forward into subsequent engineering practice internationally. It was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2009.

For more than 500,000 visitors a year, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a source of awe. It is the highest canal aqueduct in the world. With an open railing on one side, so crossing is not for the faint hearted lol

The Vale of Llangollen is considered an especially beautiful area to visit. The landscape is a mixture of lush, green lowlands and high yet accessible mountains. There are some stunning walkways through both forests and higher plains.

These impressive Limestone hills jut out at irregular angles, adding to the whole drama of the area.

During the British Iron Age, around 600BCE, a large hillfort was built on the summit of what was to become Dinas Brân by a Celtic tribe named the Ordovices. You can just see the remains of Castell Dinas Brânin in the photo below. Dinas Brân has been variously translated as the “crow’s fortress” or “fortress of Brân”, with Brân as the name of an individual or of a nearby stream.

For a welcome stop for good food and beverage, I could readily recommend the Sun Trevor Pub, with great views of the Welsh countryside whilst you eat and sup !

Seven hours later, with sore knees and feet from the walking (and that’s just the dog) we headed home, alongside the canal to finish up back where we had started our day.

So lucky to be able to do this walk today. I’ve a feeling we will be returning again soon.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. carencreateschildrensbooks permalink
    May 9, 2022 1:23 pm

    What a beautiful post! I went pony trekking in Wales in the ’80s and I loved riding through that exquisite countryside. Thanks for this one, and all of your lovely posts. They’re always an aesthetic and intellectual pick-me-up!

  2. May 9, 2022 4:03 pm

    Amazing journal. I was unaware this canal existed and it looks like a must see. Thanks for sharing

  3. Ben permalink
    May 10, 2022 6:31 am

    What a lovely post! I’m inspired to go and visit this area.

  4. May 12, 2022 8:01 am

    What a lovely day out. We live in Torbay, on the cliff overlooking Lyme Bay and the SW Coast Path. Dartmoor with its Tors and wonderful views is close by. However, we love Wales too. We have stayed in North Wales previously, and a month ago hired a cottage in the countryside in mid- Wales. We had a great time visiting the Elan Valley, the Devil’s Staircase and other beautiful areas. I have listed the area in my list of places for future visits. Thank you for a wonderful post.

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