Total Distance: 10.5 miles app
Total Ascent: 2600 ft
As you well know, Llangollen sits in the vale on the River Dee at the base of deep-sided hills; ergo, the only way is up!!
From the coach park (toilets 30p) we head north across the river then start a 25 min steep – and it is steep – climb up to Castle Dinas Bran, a spectacular vantage point of both the river valley and the ridge swallowing up Offas Dyke Path. The castle was built around 1260 for the Princes of Powys Fadog. But the incredible effort was short-lived as the Welsh raised it to the ground in 1277 to save the tactical building falling into the hands of them pesky Anglians! We descend the far side of the castle to join Offas Dyke path to head East on a reasonably level section as far as Froncysyllte. In and out of woodlands we suddenly arrive at Pontcysyllte aquaduct, since 2009 a World Heritage Site, and believed to be the highest navigable aquaduct ever built (by Messrs Thomas Telford and Jessop 1795-1808). If you haven’t seen the narrow boat canal bridge before, you are in for a treat. It will be an ideal spot for an early lunch (with proper free toilets also)!!
After lunch we cross the aquaduct to loop back to Llangollen via the hills to the south. This section does involve 2 longish gradual climbs, one shortly after leaving the canal and the other just before we enter Llangollen again. In between, we descend from some brilliant vantage points via the Llwydr Ceirlog Trail. But, to be fair, you will require plenty of spinach in the legs! All told, a good challenge along a different part of the Vale from the norm. Over the 10½ m walk, our highest point will be the Castle itself at 325m – but at least that bit is all in one burst!