with Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com
I have observed previously on these pages that Wales is another country but one that is not too far from us in the north west of England. When the Norwest Fellwalking Club went to Llangollen in May it took us a little over 75 minutes from Leyland which compares favourably with many of our regular haunts in the Lakes and Dales. Llangollen is an excellent place for walking offering routes to please walkers of all abilities. The walk below goes west from the town into the foothills of the Berwyns.
Start: Tourist Information Centre Castle Street Llangollen LL20 8NU
Distance: 8 miles
Time: 4 - 5 hours
Grade: Most of the walk is easy but it starts with 600ft of ascent in less than 3/4 mile.
Map: OS Explorer 255 Llangollen & Berwyn
1. Often the biggest navigational problem of a route is finding your way out of a town or village. In this respect this route is reasonably straightforward. From the tourist information centre on Castle Street turn right and walk to the traffic lights. Cross the busy A5 and turn left. At the next junction bear right onto Hill Street in the direction of the museum. Keep on Hill Street as it continues into Bache Mill Road. After passing the sign to the museum on the left keep on Bache Mill Road for another ¼ mile as it dips to cross a wooded stream and climbs a rise bringing to the edge of the town. Opposite a small hosing estate turn right onto a narrow lane – Allt-y-Badi which is Welsh for “Bloody steep hill”! This green lane will lead you up to Finger Farm 1 ½ miles away. Beware at weekends it attracts off road motorcyclists and motorists wishing to test their nerve and risk their paintwork on this challenging lane. The large farm of Pen –Lan marks the end of the steepest section. From there it is an easier walk to the junction with the Chirk road.
2. On reaching the road turn right, pass Finger Farm and walk to the next junction. Turn right towards Llangollen. After passing the first field on the left cross a stile next to a wooden gate in the second. Now commence an easy ascent to Y Foel the hill before you. The way follows the fence on the left and the next field passes alongside the edge of a conifer plantation. After this cross a stile into open moorland. From here a narrow path threads its way to the top. This is a fine viewpoint – a great sweeping panorama of deepest Wales and features with unpronounceable Welsh names – at least to the ignorant English tongue. The next section of the walk is briefly awkward in that there is no obvious path through the moorland heather. Maintaining the direction of travel that got you to the top follow a spur down for about 700yds to intercept a wide grassy path that climbs towards the bulk of Vivod Mountain.
3. Just beyond a scattering of pine trees the path divides with the left fork heading for the top. Here keep right on a broad track that is the North Berwyn Way. This leads all the way back to Llangollen. After the Way swings round right an alternative footpath on the left leads to the top of a ridge to follow it for ½ mile before re-joining the track. Its merit is that it offers views towards the dramatic features of Eglwyseg Mountain to the north east. Ffynnon-las Wood marks the end of moorland as the Way takes you down into pastoral scenery and rather more steeply back to Llangollen on a well signed track.
Point of Interest: Llangollen as well as being an excellent place for walking is an excellent place to visit in its own right with a number of attractions in or near the town. Its location in the heart of the Dee valley made it strategically important in ancient times. The Romans pushed a road through it – Watling Street (now the A5) to connect London with Anglesey. In more recent times Thomas Telford engineered a canal above the valley and crossed it with the spectacular Pontcysyllte Aqueduct 120 feet above the Dee. Now a world heritage site this wonder is just 4½ miles from Llangollen. Though it went through a period of decline the canal is a popular tourist attraction with boat trips throughout the year. The Llangollen Railway too takes visitors back in time. Once a through route to Barmouth on the Irish Sea coast it was closed in the 1960s when the national network was rationalised. Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of enthusiasts ten miles of line was re-laid west of the town reconnecting it to Corwen.
- Bob’s walks are now available as digital guides on the AllTrails website and App