Time travel in Wales

You may recall last month I mentioned a walk in Wales, well finally today I am going to share it. Well almost. Hope you don’t mind but there’s a short delay before we can commence the walk, for balloons, trains, and a quick nip into town.

It was a beautiful morning in September, and we were full of Autumn joys after the wedding. So no wonder we decided to head out along the canal towards Llantysilio and its medieval abbey. Bizarrely I didn’t take one photograph from the 2miles stroll along the canal path, nor the mile or so ‘scramble’ from Horseshoe Falls to the Abbey. So you will just have to imagine that section of the walk! Fortunately however I more than made up for it when we arrived at the ruined Valle Crucis Abbey.

Valle Crucis was founded in 1201 by Prince Madog ap Gruffydd, it was Cistercian abbey although its name (Valley of the Cross) refers to the nearby ninth-century Pillar of Eliseg, erected for the glory of a Welsh chieftain. The pillar, of course, being something else I didn’t photograph!

Look up!

The Cistercian monks may have started with good intentions of a humble and austere life, but it quickly became one of the richest in wales celebrated by poets for its lavish hospitality. What is it about religious houses and their passion for a luxurious life?

Having explored the abbey and stopped for some delicious Welsh ice-cream it was time to make our return to our apartment in Llangollen. And on our walk back in the glorious Welsh countryside you could almost imagine the monks and Welsh kings walking or riding here before us. If only the beauty had not been spoilt by the sound of motorbikes whizzing along on the valley roads.

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This stunning valley was once known as Powys Fadog, the northern portion of the former princely realm of Powys. The medieval castle which lies above Llangollen on the site of a 600 BC Iron Age Hillfort, was believed to be the capital of Powys Fadog, and in the 13th century considered one of the strongest castles in Wales.

We didn’t make it up there on this walk as a strong urge for tea, Welsh cakes and Bara brith overcame us! However we will be back to Llangollen as the apartment we stayed in was superb and Castell Dinas Brân is only a short walk away. Well I say short but the official advice is to equip yourself with stout walking shoes and warm, waterproof clothing before climbing to the castle! It may not look like it from these photographs but the weather can change dramatically here.

Castell Dinas Brân

Our walk of 8 miles covering Welsh history and life from the past three thousand years was a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and with the mention of cakes I know Jo’s Monday walks gang will love it too!

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