Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Local Walk

It seemed a good idea to take advantage of the dry, clear day and go for a local walk. It turned out to be even more interesting than I had anticipated and this post will have to be split in two parts.

The aim was to complete a circuit to the north of the town.

Llangollen WalkAfter reading some of Elsie’s blog posts (nb Bendigedig) I particularly wanted to visit Castall Dinas Bran, a high conical hill to the immediate north of Llangollen.  It can be seen from as far away as the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.  It Is probably the ruins of the keep on the top that first draws the eye.  The height, location and natural shape of the hill makes it an ideal strategic position from which to observe and dominate the surrounding countryside.

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This is the view from the Llangollen (south) side and you can see the zigzag path up the side.  There is a second path on the opposite side which isn’t as steep and was probably the main approach when the castle was occupied.

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The approach from the other side.

From the shape of the ground at the top it appears there was an inner keep with an outer surrounding wall.  It looks as If there might have been a ditch outside at least part of this wall.

Wikipedia states there was an iron age fort here around 600BC.  Apparently it Is only one of a number of iron age fort sites in this area.  The stone castle dates from about the mid 13th century.  It was abandoned by the Welsh when Edward I invaded and subsequently occupied by the English.  After Edward had subdued the Welsh the castle was given to an English lord who elected to build a new castle closer to the border.  Castall Dinas Bran subsequently fell into the ruins seen today.

P1020082 For those readers who don’t know their Welsh Castell Dinas BrĂ¢n translates into English literally as Castle of the City of Crows.

The remains of the keep and mound of the outer wall can be seen in this next photo.

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The north side of the hill is particularly steep.  There doesn’t appear to have been a ditch here, just a curtain wall.

It took about 20 minutes to reach the top from Llangollen and I was down the other side within the hour.  I couldn’t see any sign of a well at the top and I assume water must have all been carried up. 

You can see how the hill dominates the surrounding countryside from the other side.

P1020091There was an attractive collection of stone farm buildings to the NW of the castle.  The fact that the outer walls hadn’t been whitewashed and looked very plumb suggested to me they might not be very old.

P1020093I make this observation because almost all the other local farm houses are white.  It then became a question of where next to go.  A return to Llangollen didn’t seem much of a walk.  Then I noticed the signpost and realised an opportunity to walk to the end of the world existed.  When some of our English friends told us Wales was the end of the world I hadn’t realised they were serious.

P1020094So I headed to Worlds End!  Smile

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