Autumn in the Welsh countryside

I realise my posting has been somewhat non-existent lately but the drawing part of my life had taken over. Which means no big Welsh adventures either.

I managed to squeeze in some Sunday afternoon strolls though and considering that the beautiful countryside starts right at my back door, I didn’t have to drive that far either. So I hope you enjoy at least these small glimpses into the beauty of Wales and hopefully there will be some bigger adventures soon.

Pre-New Year’s Resolution: Get out more again.

First the Panorama Walk near Llangollen – beautiful autumn light and views of Dinas Bran.

 

The Minera Lead Mines and the quarry not far away offer more of a view into the industrial past of the area. Very impressive nonetheless.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape

Wales offers some of the most stunning landscapes I have ever seen. Especially when the light is magical and it doesn’t rain for a change you can admire them in all their splendour. Best done from one of the many hill tops. This one was taken on the way up to Castle Dinas Bran, near Llangollen, looking down into the valley.

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Afternoon stroll with panoramic views

October has been quite kind so far with some glorious sunshine. So what better way than to spend an afternoon outside, go for a stroll and enjoy a nice panorama.

I started at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and made my way towards Llangollen. But instead of walking along the canal, I decided to walk through Trevor Hall Wood and use the Panorama Walk giving you some pretty good views across the valley and Dinas Bran. I had done this already a couple of years ago but as part of a circular walk from Rhos via World’s End.

But enough talk, let’s walk.

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Trevor Hall Wood. Unfortunately you don’t get to see the hall at all.


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Feels like going on an adventure trail.


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After ‘climbing’ the hill you’re rewarded with the first panorama. You can clearly see the River Dee; to the right of it, lined by trees, is the disused railway line, followed by the road and on the top of single the hill on the right you can see the ruins of Dinas Bran.


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Dinas Bran, a bit closer.


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The area was heavily quarried in the past.


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‘Snack break’, before turning back. Not many people come up here (they stay on the road below) apart from climbers.


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Looking back across the quarry.


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Dinas Bran. I thin in the distance you can see part of the Berwyn Range.


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Last time, I promise.


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Man made, but nature is claiming back slowly.


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Nice view towards the aqueduct and the more modern viaduct.


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Autumn colours

Goodbye summer!

See you next year. Hopefully.

Full steam ahead – Retro style posters of North Wales III

Llangollen Railway is a Heritage Railway that runs steam locomotive services through the beautiful Dee Valley from Llangollen to Carrog. If you listened to BBC Radio Wales this morning you were lucky enought to go on a train ride from the confines of your home, finding out more about the railway and the current 2 1/2 mile extension of the line to Corwen. In its day the railway crossed Wales from Ruabon to Barmouth but closed for passenger service in 1965. Now, after almost 50 years, the Llangollen Railway Trust hopes to have the first train operating on the extension to Corwen by the end of this year.

I took inspiration from one of the steam locomotives.

I took inspiration of one of their steam locomotives from a picture I took at one of my visits a couple of years ago.

If you’re interested in purchasing this illustration as a poster please follow this link.

A walk through time – from a 19th century canal to a medieval castle

So it has stopped raining (for now) and spring is upon us. And what a glorious weekend it was. So out came my walking boots and off I went.

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Trevor Basin near the Pontcysyllte Aqueduc

I started at the Trevor Basin near the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and made my way along the Llangollen Canal towards Llangollen. The Llangollen Canal is a navigable canal linking Llangollen in Denbighshire, North Wales, with Hurleston in south Cheshire. In 2009 an eleven-mile section of the canal including Chirk Aqueduct and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Looking back at the aqueduct

Looking back at the aqueduct

The canal was built when the Ellesmere Canal couldn’t be completed in the early 19th century due to various problems. Lacking a main source of water (the proposed source was at Moss Valley, Wrexham), a feeder channel was constructed running along the Vale of Llangollen to the River Dee and creating the Horseshoe Falls.

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Some art along the way

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That’s where I was heading – Castell Dinas Brân

In the 1980s British Waterways renamed these surviving sections of the Ellesmere Canal or the ‘Llangollen Branch of the Shropshire Union’ as the Llangollen Canal and it has been one of the most popular canals for holidaymakers in Britain ever since.

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Getting closer to Llangollen. Some boats mooring on the canal.

To step back further in time I had to climb up.

Next stop Dinas Brân.

Next stop Dinas Brân.

The ruins of the medieval Castell Dinas Brân stand high on a hill above the town of Llangollen. It is also the site of an Iron Age hill fort.

Almost there. I think the lambs had the right idea...

Almost there. I think the lambs had the right idea…

The castle visible today was probably built by Gruffydd II ap Madog sometime in the 1260s.

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As a reward you get some stunning views

Dinas Brân is a rectangular castle with a steep natural slope of several hundred feet beyond the northern wall and a 20 feet deep ditch around the southern and eastern walls.

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View from the other side of the ditch towards the castle. The remains of the Keep are on the right.

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View towards the ruins of the Great Hall with its big windows.

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Looking back towards the River Dee and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. You can just about make it out in the background.

The two-storey Keep stands at the south eastern corner overlooking a quite easy approach to the castle from the River Dee. Next to the Keep at the north eastern corner is the gatehouse which would have probably been approached via wooden bridge. The Great Hall was sited at the castle’s southern side. Its large windows still look south across the valley and an arched way leads to what once was the kitchens in the adjacent Welsh Tower.

The old gatehouse (I think) with some excellent views.

The old gatehouse (I think) with some excellent views.

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Looking towards the arched way

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It’s impressive that these arches still stand after hundreds of years …

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… and being exposed to some fierce weather on top of that hill.

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You can just make out parts of Llangollen in the valley on the left

Time to head back along the canal.

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Some interesting bridges along the way

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I do like the various stone bridges you find along canals.

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No trip in North Wales without sheep of course.

And when I was almost back at the Trevor Basin I met Harriet the dog, who fell (yes, fell) into the canal. She was more interested in the squirrels on the opposite side than what was beneath her paws. She sounded and looked a bit surprised…