Friday, 13 November 2015

Llangollen Walk Pt2

World’s End turned out to be slightly further than I had anticipated.  Consequently a change in direction and destination proved essential.  I couldn’t find any footpaths going up the hills and had to content myself with traversing around the side on one large feature.  The roads around here are rather narrow which, along with the scattered farm buildings, gives a feeling of isolation.


The lane I was following eventually turned into a track and then a footpath through a small pine plantation.  It came as quite a surprise to see a large static caravan park below me.


Being curious, I headed towards it only to discover a row of large dog kennels on the opposite side of the stream.


Oops…. apparently they are “camping pods”.  A nice name for very budget accommodation.  Why would anyone build a static caravan park here??????  Then I crossed the stream entering the park and WOW where did that spring from!



They are the ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey. This was quite a surprise.  Why was an abbey here?  Off to Google.  The abbey was established by one of the Princes of Wales in 1201AD and was dissolved in 1557 by that fellow Henry VIII.  It was subsequently leased by Henry and his successors.  Part of it collapsed and the remainder was converted into a manor house.  Nearby is the remains of Eliseg’s Pillar.   The pillar predates the Abbey by about 400 years.


I had no idea the abbey and pillar existed when planning the walk.  Heading SW I entered an area covered in bracken and gorse.


I only mention this to remind our kiwi readers that it was the dastardly English who introduced bracken, gorse (curse it), hedgehogs, white butterflies, rabbits, deer, wasps, etc to NZ.  At least we were spared the foxes.

Eventually I re-joined the canal at Horseshoe Falls.  This is where Thomas Telford built a “J” shaped weir across the River Dee to provide a secure source of water for the canal.

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If you follow the river you find it’s source is Lake Bala.  Apparently Telford wasn’t total satisfied with Lake Bala being the only water source for the canal and went on to construct a further two reservoirs.

Approximately 12 million cubic feet of water enter the canal at Horseshoe Falls.  Originally this was controlled by canal workers using slice planks across the entrance.


The entrance to the canal with the weir in the background

In 1947 BW constructed a control building with automated sluices.


Underneath the building is a large pipe with a guillotine valve at either end.


The outlet

By Chain Bridge Hotel the B5103 road passes over the canal and River and then under the Llangollen Railway which is also crossing a gully.


You can see the road bridge going under the rail bridge in the above photo.

Chain Bridge Hotel was built in 1828, so 14 years after the adjacent Chain Bridge.  Actually there have been three chain bridges here.  The first was constructed in 1814, shortly after the construction of the canal.  At the time it was a revolutionary design being a pedestrian suspension bridge consisting of hand made chain links.   Apparently the idea behind the bridge was to transport coal from the canal to the other side of the River Dee thereby avoiding paying road tolls.


In 1876 the original bridge was replaced using the original chain links.  Then in 1928 a heavy flood submerged and damaged the second bridge requiring it’s replacement.  Recently it was refurbished and reopened.


Ade said...

Hi Tom great couple of posts those good pics and info.

Judith Emery said...

The reopening of the chain bridge must have been recent as it was in a bad way the last time we walked to the falls a couple of years ago. Hope your enjoying your time on the Llangollen. I also found the needlework shop, it draws like a magnet.
Judith nb Serena

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Ade

Glad you enjoyed it. This area has more to offer than I first thought.

Tom and Jan said...


I think the bridge has only been reopened very recently and Jan has made a second visit to the craft shop! :-)

Elsie said...

Hi Tom & Jan, Thanks for the mention in your previous posts. There's a really good walking book in the outdoor shop in Llangollen. It's called Twenty Walks Around Llangollen If my memory is working. Ben the dog can't cope with long walks any more but it's good to look at your pictures. Elsie x

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Elsie,

We hope everything is well with the old dog and Ben! :-) Jan has seen the book and I think I also noticed something about the most interesting attractions around Llangollen on the web.