Whilst away on these travels the Football World Cup has been in full swing and the nation appears to be gripped by England’s semi-final fixture with Croatia this evening. I have followed club football all my life but I cannot get worked up over the hype surrounding international football and gave up watching England a number of years ago. I found it boring and predictable with supporters and media having a misplaced belief in where England should be in the world rankings.
The media, driven by its desire to entice folk to sign up to subscription contracts to watch sport on TV, constantly says that the Premier League is the best in the world. Strangely this translates in their minds to England, therefore, having the best players in the world. In doing so they forget to point out that most of the talent in the Premier League is foreign, this is good for the quality of the individual teams, but does not mean we have a wonderful international side.
So my priority today is walking and there are plenty of quality options, the challenge is which to choose. Eventually I decide to take the short drive to Llangollen and park in the car park on Mill Street behind the Ponsonbury Arms. Starting my walk I follow the path alongside the River Dee and then cross the bridge. After the prolonged dry spell the Dee is flowing at a low level, but must be impressive when in full flow.
I continue along Castle Road, at the junction with the A5 I turn right and then almost immediately turn left besides the Post Office following Willow Street uphill out of the village. After passing the school I reach the junction with Vicarage Road. I leave the road and join a footpath over a stile that heads up the edge of a field to reach another stile. Following the path I continue uphill, before crossing a stile into woods I stop to look over Llangollen with Castell Dinas Bran on the hill in the distance.
After the stile I pick up a path heading steeply up through the trees following the route of the North Berwyn Way, which is described by the Long Distance Walkers Association as a short challenging 15-mile way between Llangollen and Corwen. Walking steadily uphill on a hot day is hard work and I am grateful for the shade of the trees.
Soon fields of pasture border the track and all of a sudden Crosby and I attract an accompanying swarm of flies. We must look like characters in a cartoon with these critters buzzing around us as we continue to plod uphill. The compensation is that the emerging views are stunning.
Reaching a minor road the breeze picks up and thankfully the flies disappear. Crossing the road we continue to follow the way-markers along the opposite track. Passing Ffynnon-las Wood we reach a gate onto moorland, which the OS Map has marked as Wilderness.
On a warm summer afternoon this is a cracking spot, but I am sure in the depths of winter with a freezing wind blowing it would be bleak. The route is clear as the track heads through the heather clad moor.
At a junction of tracks I turn right, heading west and leaving the North Berwyn Way. At the next junction of tracks I take the left fork continuing in a westerly direction.
A little further on I take a path to the south leading to a stile at the summit of the Vivod Mountain. As I approach the stile two chaps head towards me having ascended from the other side. They stop for a breather and then we engage in a ten-minute conversation about our respective walks and the pleasures of being out. I like the solitude of walking on the hills, but these brief encounters intertwined with a bit of banter brighten up the day.
I do not cross the stile but follow the well-worn path eastwards with the fence on my right hand side. I am once again on the North Berwyn Way. I continue on a path through a clump of trees leaving the North Berwyn way, the path then leads to a stile besides a gate. The view from here is stunning, so I decide to sit on the stile and enjoy the scenery whilst eating my lunch.
Resuming my walk I follow the clear track in a southeasterly direction but soon take a path on the left through heather and bracken towards the summit of Y Foel where the Biddulph Tower is located. On reaching the summit I bag my seventy-eighth Ordnance Survey trig pillar.
The history of the Biddulph Tower is unclear although thought to be named after either Robert Myddleton Biddulph (1761-1814) or his son, also called Robert (1805 -1872), who both inherited the Chirk estate, which includes Chirk Castle near Wrexham. This tower is now in ruins and very little remains.
From the tower the route heads east on a clear path through the heather and bracken to a gate leading through fields of sheep to join a minor road. I turn right and then shortly, at a junction, turn left to follow the road as it passes Finger Farm.
This road is a straight rural lane with very few cars and provides pleasant walking with good all round views; the only downside is the amount of litter strewn by the roadside. I start to pick up cans, but very quickly realise that I have no chance of clearing this mess. It does make me despair that folk think it is okay to discard their rubbish from a car window.
In front of me in the distance I can see radio masts and this is where I am heading. Ignoring footpaths and roads leading off this road I continue for about a mile and a half past Finger Farm, passing a road on the left signposted to Llangollen, I turn left within a few hundred yards to go through a metal gate.
I follow the footpath along a track through pasture, after another gate the track continues downhill. To my right the steep hillside is covered in trees but to my left it plunges dramatically. There are signs for mountain bike tracks on the steep hillside, it looks as if it would be extremely challenging to walk let alone ride down. Fortunately, my route although steep, is easily negotiated. The views over towards Llangollen are dramatic.
The track continues into Ty’n Celyn Wood.
and at consecutive junctions of paths I keep left, still steeply descending. On reaching a minor road I meet an old chap on a bench with his two Labrador dogs, I stop for a chat whilst Crosby takes the opportunity to lie in the shade and get some rest.
Heading off again I carry straight on along Tyn Dwr Road soon passing Tyn Dwr Farm. I then go by the entrance to Tyn Dwr Hall, now a wedding venue, originally built in the early 1800’s by John Dicken who was an Iron Master. I take a footpath on the left leading into the woodland of Pen-y-coed. This is a cracking section of woodland owned and maintained by the Woodland Trust covering sixty-nine acres.
Following the way-markers to the edge of Llangollen I then make my way back through the town to reach the bridge over the River Dee and then back to the car. We have walked over ten and a half miles on a hot afternoon and both Crosby and I are ready for a cool drink. Whilst it is tempting to stop for some refreshments in Llangollen I opt to head back to Domo CL to enjoy a cold beer whilst looking at the stunning view.
To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 255 – Llangollen & Berwyn
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2018)