Trefonen to Llanymynech, Offa’s Dyke – Day 9

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A short walk today, as I have the long drive home.

It is hard to believe that Trefonen was once known for its coal mining and brickmaking. The miners used to be paid at the Barley Mow, the local pub and home of Offa’s Dyke Brewery.

We stop for coffee at the Post Office and collect some snacks for the walk. Heading out of the village,( we are conveniently parked by the signpost). A gradual climb up to y Moelydd, where we are rewarded with a 360 degree view. A toposcope identifies each vista.

What goes up must come down – we head down the hill, reaching a sign for ice cream at a farmhouse, then a small ruin.

The nature reserve at Jones Rough is dark and over grown, a bit uneven underfoot. We quickly head down the pleasant village of Nantmawr, along Cefn Lane we stop for a picnic lunch and are soon joined by our friend from Nantes and partner.

Traces of the Tenant Light railway can be seen, before a flic flack of road crossing and crossing a large field we come to the track in front of a style guarded by the prettiest of Jersey cows. With a bit of shooing we manage to get off the style and are then followed across the field by some 30 nosey cows.
Through a copse and beyond we eventually skirt the golf course at Llanymynech and beyond to Llanymynech Rocks, a nature reserve straddling the Wales/England border.

Some confusion with the signs here, but we are soon heading out of the reserve and soon heading down into Llanymynech

Trevor to Trefonen, Offa’s Dyke – Day 8

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No community cafe today, but a lovely cuppa at the Chapel Cafe in Trefor. If you are a customer your £2 parking fee is returned.

While we could have walked across Pontcysyllte Aquaduct, a UNESCO World Heritage site, we decided to take the lower route. Canal tarmac and road seem to be a large part of this leg of the Dyke.

Very picturesque stretch of the canal opened up ahead and for the first time we get to a sign indicating that this is the start of an 88 mile stretch of Offa’s Dyke, built in the 8th century to keep the warring factions of Welsh and Anglo Saxons apart.

At Irish Bridge we start to climb subtly at first, quite a few ups and downs on the route.

Along the road we catch sight of Chirk Castle, built in 1295 and now run by the National Trust. The path takes you down to the castle following the permissive route, open April to October. A steep downhill follows, before reaching the oak tree at the so called Gate of the Dead – where Henry II’s troops were ambushed by the Men of Owain Gwynedd. Further along there are panels recounting the Battle of Crogen, and a plaque on the bridge at Castle Mill. We are now in the Ceiriog Valley and it gets steeper.

We can now understand the chap in the cafe who said “Don’t underestimate the Shropshire Hills”. Coupled with the gnarled roots along the Dyke, it slows us down somewhat.

At Oswestry Equestrian Centre we ran into a young lady from Nantes, walking the Dyke with her partner, they had already settled into their campsite for the night.

Quite a bit of road walking took us to Oswestry Race course and the remains of the grand stand. We let our imagination run away with us to the golden days of racing, to the point where Esther mounted the statue of a horse.

It was a welcome relief to enter into the cool of Candy Wood knowing we were fast approaching Trefonen.

The post office serves coffee, while the pub is the home of Offa’s Dyke Brewery. We just wanted home and showers!

Llandegla to Trevor, Offa’s Dyke – Day 7

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Heading to Trevor we ran into our first bit of excitement of the day. The Horseshoe Pass was closed due to wildfires across the hillside. The air was thick with acrid smoke, while the emergency services detour us down the tint road to Pentredwr.

We eventually get to Trevor and leave a car at the Chapel car park – £2 charge, before heading back to Llandegla to start our walk.

This is my favourite stretch so far. Another coffee at the community cafe, an interesting chat with the community taxi driver who waits in the cafe for passengers off the bus in Llandegla and runs them to outlying villages.

I chanced on the local beers and ciders in the shop, and the volunteer told me that they try and source as much as possible locally.

We followed the road out of the village, through a field and up the rise, soon entering Llandegla Forest. This stretch is busy with cyclists from the Llandegla Cycle Centre. We paused frequently to check our bearings through the forest.

The wide expanse of moorland stretches out before us, fortunately some strategically placed railway sleepers help us through at a good pace. We hit the road and turn towards World’s End. A couple of climbers could be seen on the rocks.

We focused on the path as we walked along across the scree below the limestone crags. We didn’t want to slide downhill. We stepped to one side to let two mountain bikers pass. They were travelling at quite a pace, which gave us the confidence to walk a bit faster.

It was worth pausing for a few minutes to look back along the route.

Next came the Panorama Walk, with great surround views across the valley and Castell Dinas Bran on the hill.
It didn’t take us long to reach Trevor Hall woods and the descent into Trevor and a very welcome drink at the Telford Arms

Llandegla to Clwyd Gate, Offa’s Dyke – Day 6

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A short, easy walk over field and moorland purple with heather.

The day started with a coffee and bacon bap (roll) at the community cafe and shop. Friendly volunteers are happy to serve and stop for a chat. The only other customer was a young man who was ordering a full breakfast. We started talking, and it was pretty obvious he was in a dark place. Recently released from a mental health facility following an attempted suicide, he said that he had spent days locked in his house, afraid he may try again.
He then decided to walk the Dyke, it was something he had wanted to do for some time. He felt it would help overcome his dark thoughts.

Our conversation lasted for some time, until the cafe started to fill up. On our way out, we stopped to pay our bill, including his breakfast – who knows a small gesture may help him on his way.

Next stop was the Church of St Tecla, a friendly greeting here from the vicar, we are liking the lovely people of Llandegla. An attractive smoked glass window catches the eye. Made in Birmingham around 1799.

We were soon walking across fields and moorland. One lane diverts to Llanarmon yn ial, some 1.5 miles to the east. This village has accommodation at a community run inn and the church is well worth a browse.

Heading on towards Clwyd Gate we were in sight of our car when the skies open and we were soaked in minutes.