This month we take you around three walks to be found in the Tŷ Mawr Country Park. You can combine the three to make a substantial trek of over 10 miles or you can take it easy and choose an individual one that is less strenuous.
1. The Tŷ Mawr Trail (approximately 1 mile)
This walk is approximately one mile and is easy going on tarmac-surfaced paths. There are sloped sections, but no stiles.
Start from outside the Visitor Centre, go past the barn, across the yard towards the large gate. Turn right following the ‘Tŷ Mawr Trail’ signpost. Follow the tarmac path around the park.
At the goat field, check the sign for information about the field. The path follows the riverbank past the ‘beach’, a lovely spot where you can stop for a while. Continue along the path below the Cefn Viaduct arches.
At the top of the path near the dovecote and yellow gates, an information board explains more about the history of the viaduct. Go through the second yellow gate and into the Mini Beast woods. This wooded area emerges back onto the picnic field and if you follow the path, you will pass the smaller animal houses on your right.
Don’t miss the duck pond field where a variety of smaller animals will delight young and old alike! Return to the Visitor Centre. If you look back, you may be able to see Castell DinasBran overlooking Llangollen in the distance.
You can walk this route in both directions. You may see some animals grazing in the fields. Information boards at each field will tell you a little more about the animals in the fields and the wildlife you may see.
2. The Viaduct-Aqueduct Walk (approximately 4 miles return)
This walk is approximately four miles long and takes about two hours walking at a leisurely pace. It is easy walking apart from two sections of steps. There are no stiles.
Leaving the Visitor Centre, bear left around the front of the barn and head towards the sandstone Cefn Viaduct. The tarmac path takes you through the Mini Beast woods and past the dovecote where you will find some detailed information about the Viaduct.
Follow the tarmac path beneath the towering viaduct arches. Continue along beside the river. Leave the park by turning left through a gate signposted ‘Pontcysyllte Aqueduct’.
Go down the steps through the trees and follow the path which runs alongside the River Dee. This walk is linear and is easy to follow. As you walk, look out for fish jumping in the deeper, quieter stretches of water.
Cross the footbridge over Trefnant Brook and past the old, brick-built pumphouse on the left (once part of Monsanto Chemical Works). Continue along the path through Jeffrey’s Wood. If you stop for a while, you may hear woodpeckers busily tapping the trees in this ancient woodland.
You may notice orange mud or water along the path. This colour comes from water seeping through old mineshafts which contain iron deposits. The area is a good habitat for orchids to grow.
At the base of the aqueduct, climb the steep steps to your right and go up to the Trevor canal basin. Trevor Basin is well worth exploring and features a visitor centre, information boards, sandstone sculptures, colourful boats, toilets and a shop for ice cream!
Before returning to Tŷ Mawr, if you have a good head for heights, walk along the canal towpath onto the aqueduct for a splendid view of the Cefn Viaduct and the medieval Bont Bridge crossing the River Dee. To return, retrace your steps back to Tŷ Mawr. As you look up, you can see calcium deposits washed out from the lime mortar.
In the early evening, you may also see bats leaving their roosts to hunt for moths. At the base of the stone pillars, look up to the aqueduct above to see the fine stonework achieved by the local stonemasons and still standing straight after 200 years!
3. Tŷ Mawr Circular Walk (approximately 4½ miles)
This walk is approximately 4½ miles long and takes about 2½ hours at a leisurely pace. It is easy walking apart from two steep sections of steps. There are no stiles.
Exit Tŷ Mawr Country Park and turn right along Cae Gwilym Lane, walking under the high railway arch to the B5605. Turn right and follow the road down through Newbridge to cross the River Dee.
Before the bridge on the side of the road, you can see the listed Wynnstay Lodge, which was once an entrance into the Wynnstay estate.
Carry on, passing Tŷ Maen Farm on the left. Look across to your left and see the modern A483 road bridge, which spans the Dee and to your right, the Viaduct, Garth and Castell Dinas Bran on the highest hill in the distance.
You will soon see the railway to your right. It stretches out over the Viaduct and across the valley to Cefn Mawr. Just before the bridge over the Shropshire Union Canal, turn right along the canal towpath. The canal is home to many waterfowl, especially ducks and moorhens.
Continue along the wooded towpath. As you cross a small bridge, you may catch a glimpse of Tŷ Mawr on the other side of the valley. Pass the lime kiln arches on your left and continue to the black and white lift bridge. Here you need to make a choice.
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Alternative Route
Turn right and follow the road down to the river Dee. Cross the medieval Bont Bridge with an awe-inspiring view of the Aqueduct above and turn right up the steep road to Trevor. Before crossing the canal, take the path to the right under the aqueduct arch and bear left up to the canal basin.
* The Trevor Basin is a colourful sight with canal boats moored, the Telford Pub and restaurant and a small gift shop, visitor centre and toilets. You can also see a series of stone sculptures representing the heritage of the area.
At the end of the aqueduct by the ‘hand’ sculpture, take the downhill path which runs steeply down below the aqueduct arches. These steps run down to the River Dee. The path then bears left along the ancient Jeffrey’s Wood. You may notice orange mud or water along the path. This discolouration comes from water seeping through old mineshafts containing iron deposits. The area is a good habitat for orchids to grow.
Continue along the path to the old brick pump house. Cross the footbridge and bear right along the riverbank through the meadows and back to Tŷ Mawr Country Park. You may even see the turquoise flash of a kingfisher darting by or pike swimming in the muddy depths.
Tŷ Mawr Overview and Contact Details
Tŷ Mawr Country Park lies on the banks of the River Dee in the beautiful Vale of Llangollen, part of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Picturesquely situated beneath the dramatic Cefn Viaduct on the banks of the River Dee, Tŷ Mawr provides some of the best scenery around. Whether it is to admire the view, to see the farm animals or to take a walk, you could bring a picnic and have a great family day out at Tŷ Mawr Country Park.
Tŷ Mawr Country Park, Cae Gwilym Lane, Cefn Mawr LL14 3PE. Tel: 01978 822 780. firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos courtesy of GraceWood Photography.
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