Monday, 9 July 2012

The Town Trail Season has begun!

The North Wales Tourist Guide Association (NWTGA) has started its summer town trail walks.
The walks are taking place in: Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Conwy, Llangollen, Holyhead, Ruthin, Chirk and Rhuddlan. The walks will operate even if there is only one client. They last around one and half-hours and are suitable for all ages. Just turn up at the time and place specified for each town, Adults cost £5, Children £3. We can arrange special walks for groups. If you’ve any questions telephone: 01286 678590.

I took the one at Llangollen last Monday. Qualified tour guide Sarah Jones was a goldmine of information.
We had a most enjoyable couple of hours and we discovered a lot I didn't know about Llangollen.

Here's a brief summary of the new things I learned.

The church of St Collen was founded around 600AD and it has a superbly decorated hammer beam roof.

The prominent corn mill, now a great pub / restaurant, was founded by the White Cistercians from Vale Crucis Abbey in 1201.

The Eliseg Pillar was built by Cyngen (died 855), the King of Powys to commemorate his grandfather who resisted Saxon incursions.

The River Dee which flows through Llangollen actually rises in Llanuwchllin and flows straight through Bala Lake. Despite over netting in the estuary on the Wirral it is still a salmon river.

The Bishop Trevor bridge was built in 1845. The south side is still the original stone work with all widening applying to the north side. Its arches are unevenly spaced to fit the stone boulders which are its foundation.

The river crossing and the strong power source that the river became were the key to Llangollen's prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries with Welsh flannel making, tanning and mail coach inns being prominent businesses.

The Dinas Bran hillfort which towers above Llangollen was built in 1261 by Madog ap Griffith, but was destroyed by his sons in 1277 to stop it falling into the hands of Edward the First.

The railway which connected Llangollen with Barmouth opened in 1863, was closed in 1963 but partly rebuilt as a leisure line by enthusiasts from 1974 onwards. The line will be extended to Corwen in 2013.

The canal was completed in 1808. It is fed by the Dee at the Horseshoe Falls and was designed to carry the exports of Llangollen - woollen goods, hides and lime but also was designed to feed a reservoir at Hurlston.

The river walk was built in the 1920s and is a good short walk. But the walk from the horseshoe falls along the canal to the aqueduct at Pontcysyllte (8 miles in total) is unsurpassed - the best canal walk anywhere.

The celebrated Ladies of Llangollen were actually not rich. They leased the house after running away from convention. They moved in in 1778 and most of the special features of the house were in fact gifts from prominent literary figures. The stone circle in front of the house dates from the 1908 National Eisteddfod.


  1. I remember a school trip to when we took a canal boat pulled by a horse, having seen the pictures I'm guessing it was Llangollen!

  2. Fantastic opportunity for guided walks! Not as expensive as I would have imagined either!

  3. That wooden roof looks a real piece of structural engineering, how unusual.