Exploring the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley

The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley have some of the most stunning landscapes found in the UK. It is a fantastic location for walking and cycling, and there are plenty of places of interests and hidden gems to discover in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The heather-covered moorland, ancient woods, limestone cliffs and steep river valley provide the perfect playground for families who want to spend some time outdoors when staying at our holiday parks in Prestatyn, Ruthin and other North Wales locations. If you are interested in our range of caravans for sale, North Wales is the perfect place to have a holiday home due to the range of activities and attractions on your doorstep.

So, what is there to do in the Clwydian Range?

Country Parks

Jubilee Tower at summit of Moel Famau

The Clwydian Range is home to three country parks; Loggerheads, Moel Famau and Ty Mawr. Loggerheads Country Park can be found below the limestone cliffs of the Alyn Valley where there are wooded gorges and secluded grasslands. The limestone has influenced the plants and wildlife found in this part of the Range, and Loggerheads is a Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest, so you can be sure to spot some interesting fauna and flora on a walk along the Alyn River.

Moel Famau Country Park has the highest point of the Clwydian Range, Moel Famau itself, which is 554m (1818ft) tall and means “Mother Mountain” in Welsh. The landmark is visible for miles around and offers spectacular views from the top at Jubilee Tower. Located in the centre of the Range, the heather moorland around Moel Famau is an important habitat, particularly for the rare black grouse.

Ty Mawr Country Park is located near Cefn Viaduct and the River Dee, and occupies a farm setting, making it a great attraction for families. You can see donkeys, pigs, goats, ducks and chickens thrive on the land, and in the spring and summer, the meadows are full of wildflowers bursting with colour.

Heritage Sites

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

The Clwydian Range is home to several heritage sites that are of national importance, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal. The canal crosses the Dee on the aqueduct, which is a pioneering piece of engineering. It is the tallest navigable canal boat crossing in the world at 126 ft tall and 1,007 feet long.

Another impressive heritage site in Chirk Castle, the last Welsh castle from the reign of Edward still lived in today. It was completed in 1310 and been occupied for the last 700 years. The imposing fortress stands among beautiful gardens and parkland that is home to wild animals and plants.

The Valle Crucis Abbey is also worth a visit, being one of North Wales best-preserved medieval monasteries. Founded in 1201, it has many remarkable features such as the towering west front with its rose window, the vaulted chapter house and monastic fishpond.

Places of Interest

Castell Dinas Bran

Though every inch of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley is worth exploring, some places do stand out. These include the country parks, historic sites and Iron Age hillforts.

Castell Dinas Brân, or the Crow’s Fortress, is one of Britain’s most dramatic and legendary strongholds. The stone castle is one of the few surviving Welsh-built castles, and certainly holds an air of mystery, helped by its remote location and the beautiful views of the surrounding landscape including Dee Valley and Eglwyseg Rocks. Exploring the ruins, you will find there was a gatehouse, keep, fireplaces, ‘en-suite’ toilets and other interesting features that show the castle was ahead of its time.

The AONB is home to several nature reserves, where visitors can see animals, birds and insects in natural and undisturbed habitats. The reserves found within the Range include Craig Fawr and Prestatyn Hillside, both located near the coastal town of Prestatyn. Near Mold is Moel Findeg Local Nature Reserve, which covers a small mountain range, where the underlying limestone rock is 350 million years old. Also near Mold is a Forestry Commission site, Coed Nercwys, which is home to a variety of tree species.

Activities

People horse riding in Clwydian Range

The pathways that crisscross over the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley are perfect for a variety of activities, and for people of all abilities. One of the best ways to explore the AONB is on foot, with short and long walks to choose from including the famous Offa’s Dyke Path. The diversity of walks available across the countryside gives you a chance to see the beautiful landscape close up, stop by pretty villages and climb the hills.

If you and your family are looking for a more challenging activity, cycling is a great option. The Clwydian Range is an excellent place to try out mountain biking, with challenging climbs, exhilarating descents and tricky paths to navigate. Thousands of riders head to the Range every year to try out the cycle routes, and there are family-friendly routes to try out such as the Prestatyn to Dyserth Way that follows an old railway line and is a wildlife haven.

Horse riding is a different way to explore the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and will also give your feet a rest! The winding tracks, splashing streams and quiet woods take you away from the hustle and bustle of the world, and you will enjoy the view much more from horseback! There are several riding centres in the area if you want to go horse riding, with instructors and guides to help.

Take a look at our other blog posts for attractions and activities to do in North Wales and contact us today to find out about our holiday homes for sale.

Image credit: Alan Richards, Andrew, Chris Gunns, Colin Neville

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