What it's like
Nudging up against the border to the east and penetrated effortlessly by excellent roads that drop down from the English North West, the North Wales Borderlands offer wonderful yet easily accessible walking of all grades. The region is dominated by two mountain ranges: in the north, the Clwydian Hills form a lofty spine that stretches from Llangollen almost to the Dee Estuary coast; and in the south, wedged between the River Dee and the wonderful Lake Vyrnwy, lie the mighty Berwyn Hills – magical towering peaks that don’t really get the attention they deserve.
The focal point of the Clwydians is the highpoint of the range: Moel Famau; a shapely, heather-covered lump, crowned with a huge tower that’s visible from miles around. It was built in 1810 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of George III but gradually fell into disrepair until it was finally renovated into its current condition in the 1970s. The mountain lends its name to a Country Park that ring-fences 2000 acres of heathery moorland, and its summit also lies on the line of the Offa’s Dyke Footpath.
The Berwyn Hills are a very different proposition: rising to over 800m at their highest point and dominating the skyline for many miles around. They are more Brecon Beacons than Snowdonia, with broad whaleback ridges and soft peaty ground; and their biggest draw is their solitude – although the wonderful cascade of Pistyll Rhaeadr, the tallest waterfall in Wales, also pulls in a fair crowd.
- Loggerheads to Moel Famau Lovely riverside walking by the Afon Alun the good tracks to the tower.
- Cadair Berwyn Remote and demanding walking around Cwm Lluncaws from Pistyll Rhaeadr
- Castell Dinas Bran Link Llangollen with the ruined castle and Vale Crucis Abbey to make one of the best walks in Wales.
Must see and do
- Pont Cysyllte Aquaduct One of the most spectacular man made structures in the UK. Best by boat but must be seen, even on foot.
- Pistyll Rhaeadr There’s car parking and a great café at the foot of the falls – best after rain.
- Black Grouse Lek These magical dancing birds have been successfully reintroduced to the Berwyn Hills www.blackgrouse.info
Destination County : North Wales borderlands