Walking in the Welsh Borders
Walk on for 1⁄2 mile/0.8km to Velvet Hill.
Velvet Hill gets its name from the soft texture of the sheep cropped grass and moss. Its Welsh name, Coed Hyrddyn,means ‘wood of the long man' and may relate to the tall skeleton unearthed beneath nearby Eliseg's Pillar.
A 3⁄4 mile/1km walk brings you to 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. The name means ‘Valley of the Cross' and refers to nearby Eliseg's Pillar, a 9th century stone cross set up in memory of an early ruler of Powys.
From Valle Crucis, follow the for 2 miles/3km to 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 had a short working life and was abandoned in 1282. The picturesque ruins features a Dshaped tower - a design favoured by the Welsh.
From Dinas Bran Castle, the 1⁄2 mile/1km route heads back downhill to Llangollen.
Walk down Castle Street, in Llangollen town centre, over the bridge and follow the waymarkers for
1⁄3 mile/0.5km to the Llangollen Canal.
The Llangollen Canal opened in 1805 to carry slate from nearby quarries to the growing cities of England. But 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 the horse-drawn boats today.
The waymarkers will lead you along the towpath for 2 miles/3km to 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.
Continue for 1/3 mile/0.5km to Llantysilio Church.
Llantysilio Church occupies high ground just north of the Horseshoe Falls. Originally a small chapel built around 1254,
the church was thoroughly 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.
Look Out For…
Birds of prey are common in the Dee valley skies. Watch for large buzzards circling on outstretched wings and
‘mewing' loudly, or smaller kestrels hovering overhead. You may even see a peregrine catch its prey in mid air.