Yesterday I drove from Hawarden (I’d spent the night at Gladstone’s Library again) down to visit my friend in south Wales. It’s long, but beautiful, journey mostly along minor A roads. After the early morning mists lifted (around Welshpool) the sun came out. Occasionally my route was diverted onto minor roads through unknown (to me) villages and hamlets and with marvellous views of distant mountains.
Welcome to St Dyfnog’s
On our way back from Foel Fennli we stopped in the village of Llanrhaeadr, bypassed by the main road, to visit the church of St Dyfnog and its famous Jesse Stained Glass Window. The church gains 3 stars in the Jenkins Wales book. Apparently, the “rhaeadr” part of the name means waterfall.
This walk covered points 1 to 7. We ended by walking back along the road to point 1.
On Wednesday we drove into the nearby Clwydian Hills to attempt a walk called “Foel Fenlli and Moel Famau”. Moel Famau is the highest point of this range of hills. It took us a while, with a couple of false turns, to find the narrow road through the range between Llanbedr-Dyffryn-Clwyd and Loggerheads and the Moel Famau Country Park car park starting point. The route begins along the road which on this sunny weekday was very quiet but I can imagine is pretty busy during summer at weekends.
… And one of the oldest living things in the world! I don’t know why we don’t all know about this phenomenon. From The Pulpit Yew we drove on to the village of Llangernyw in order to find this ancient yew – more than 4,000 years old.
Saint Digain’s Church also features in Simon Jenkins’s best buildings in Wales book.
Earlier this week I spent a few days in North Wales with two friends. We stayed in a lovely old Landmark Trust property, Dolbelydr, near Trefnant in Denbighshire.
Here’s an extract from the Landmark Trust website about Dolbelydr :
“Meadow of the Rays of the Sun
Chirk Castle Gardens are as lovely (even in March) as the Castle itself is interesting. As you can see there are lots of yew trees and hedges all clipped to within an inch of their lives. All the hedges and topiary are 130 years old – and it shows in places. They are almost entirely English yew (Taxus Baccata) and it takes garden staff 6 to 8 weeks to cut with electric shears. Interestingly, two tons of clippings are collected each year and these are processed to make a cancer treatment. In the past all clipping was done by hand but there were many more gardeners then. These days there are 3 gardeners plus a full time apprentice and a team of part time volunteers.
Arriving at Chirk Castle
Started in 1295, Chirk Castle was one of several medieval Marcher fortresses sited on the Welsh-English border to keep the Welsh under English rule. Last Thursday was a glorious spring day and ideal for a visit to this beautiful location. There’s a longish approach to the Castle from the village of Chirk. You pass the wrought iron gates commissioned by Sir Richard Myddleton and built between 1712 and 1719. They were originally at the Castle but moved to their present location in 1888.