Special Interests

There is a traditional rhyme about the Seven Wonders of Wales … all can be a part or full day trip from Parc Grove.

Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham Steeple,
Snowdon's Mountain without its people;
Overton Yew Trees, St Winefride's Well,
Llangollen Bridge and Gresford Bells.
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For nature lovers, unusual and rare birds, mammals and plants are found in the nearby Berwyn National Nature Reserve and around Parc Grove.  For gardeners, nationally important botanical gardens are easily accessible, including the National Streptocarpus collection. Sheepdog Trials and Agricultural Shows give a taste of rural Welsh life to-day, whilst the castles and monuments, churches and houses of Medieval Denbighshire can be explored with Owain Glyndŵr’s Mount just 15 minutes walk across the field from Parc Grove. 

Go back in time to visit ancient hill forts and cairns or more modern engineering marvels such as the breathtaking Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a World Heritage Site.   Listen out for the nostalgic whistle and watch the steam from locomotives on the Llangollen Railway before taking the 5 minute stroll from Parc Grove to board a train to Llangollen, which is home to the famous International Musical Eisteddfod and the eccentric Ladies of Llangollen. 

Nature wild and domesticated

The River Dee is a Site of Special Scientific Interest … the good populations of lamprey, salmon and brown trout are a welcome source of food for local otters. Llantysilio Mountain rises above the northern side of the Dee …. Parts of the heather moorland are Special Areas of Conservation and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

 


To the north-west of Corwen, Hafod Elwy Moor National Nature Reserve is part of the Mynydd Hiraethog Site of Special Scientific interest  … the wide open heather moorland is attractive to birds such as merlins, hen harriers and the very rare black grouse.

In contrast the Fenn’s Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve on the Welsh border near Whitchurch make up the third largest raised lowland bog in Britain … dragonflies, butterflies bladderwort and mosses are of particular interest.

It’s easy to find 300 million year old coral fossils in the exposed carboniferous limestone of Eglwyseg Mountain a couple of miles from  Llangollen

Marvel at the skill of dogs and handlers at the Sheepdog Trials … the world’s second oldest trials take place a few miles away in the hillsides at Vivod.  A recent World Sheepdog Trials champion farms near Corwen and gives sheepdog demonstrations in the summer.

Nature has also been tamed in a number of Denbighshire gardens, which are open to the public under the Royal Horticultural Society National Gardens Scheme … thirty are within 20 miles of Parc Grove.

At least ten RHS Partner gardens (often with nurseries) are also within easy reach.

And a short pleasant drive in Denbighshire back lanes takes you to an unusual nursery which houses the National Streptocarpus collection.

History and Archaeology 

Medieval Denbighshire

Medieval buildings abound in north east Wales!

Ruthin and Denbigh are a few miles north in the tranquil Vale of Clwyd. Nantclwyd y Dre is likely to be the oldest timbered town house in Wales. Castles abound … Ruthin Castle guards the River Clwyd … climb a steep lane to the wonderful viewpoint at Denbigh Castle … and go a little further to visit Flint and Rhuddlan Castles close to the Denbighshire coast.

 


10 miles east of Llidiart-y-Parc lie the ruins of Castell Dinas Brân (Crow Castle).  A short steep walk from Llangollen, the ruins make a spectacular and unmistakable sight from all directions.  This medieval castle was built inside the ramparts of an Iron Age Hill Fort.


A couple of miles from Dinas Brân are the atmospheric ruins of the Cistercian Valle Crucis Abbey, while the origin of the nearby Eliseg's Pillar is shrouded in mystery.  


In contrast, Chirk Castle (a National Trust property) has been lived in for almost 700 years.  It offers a superb vantage point over the Cheshire Plain.  Don’t forget to find out about the story of the red hand on the huge iron gates, known locally as ‘the pretty gates,’ at the eastern entrance!

Llangar Church 15th century

Heading west from Llidiart-y-Parc, just outside Corwen is Llangar Church, which still has many of its original paintings, beams and pews; the nearby seventeenth century Rhug Chapel is a highly decorated private chapel.  

Ruthin and Denbigh are a few miles north in the tranquil Vale of Clwyd. Nantclwyd y Dre is likely to be the oldest timbered town house in Wales. Castles abound … Ruthin Castle guards the River Clwyd … climb a steep lane to the wonderful viewpoint at Denbigh Castle … and go a little further to visit Flint and Rhuddlan Castles close to the Denbighshire coast


Ancient Denbighshire

Further back in time, Caer Drewyn Iron Age Hill Fort is 3 miles from Llidiart-y-Parc at Corwen.  It is very well preserved, being made of dry stone walling rather than the more common earth banks and ditches.  A short walk rewards you with views towards Snowdonia.

A large part of the Berwyn Mountains is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to prehistoric Bronze Age settlements and stone monuments, together with medieval field systems.

The Brenig Archaeology Trail traces over 9,000 years of settlement in the area around Llyn Brenig, including Bronze Age burial mounds and 600 year old farmers' summer houses. The Visitor Centre provides plenty of background information.

A few minutes’ walk from Parc Grove, cup marks (possibly Bronze Age) are found on a stone in a depression near Owain Glyndŵr’s Mount.

Heading east to Llangollen, there are numerous Bronze Age remains scattered around Eglwyseg Mountain. (You can also find much more recent lime kilns dotted around the landscape). 

Just over the Welsh border in Shropshire is the well preserved Iron Age Old Oswestry Hill Fort.

Georgian and Victorian Denbighshire

Conditions in a Victorian prison are shown at Ruthin Gaol … find out about the harsh lives of prisoners including the Welsh Houdini (who escaped not only from Ruthin but also Dartmoor Prison).    

Life was also hard for up to 150 inmates (many young children) at the Corwen Union Workhouse … candles are now made here at a craft centre.    

For a more genteel way of life, you can learn about the remarkable lives of the Ladies of Llangollen by visiting the house and gardens of Plas Newydd.

The 300 year old National Trust property of Erddig Hall is just outside Wrexham … set in beautiful grounds, with working shire horses and carriage rides, it gives insights into the upstairs-downstairs life of Victorian times.  

Engineering Marvels


Not to be missed!  The western terminus of the Llangollen Railway at Carrog is just 5 minutes walk from Parc Grove.  Go back in time as you take a leisurely journey along the Dee Valley to Llangollen, where you can change transport and take a trip on the Llangollen Canal.  Many special events are held on the railway throughout the year. 


Starting at the Horseshoe Falls, the Llangollen Canal was built by Thomas Telford in 1805.  It is a World Heritage site with the highlights being the towering Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the long Darkie Tunnel at Chirk from which you emerge blinking in the sunlight onto the Chirk Aqueduct.  You can walk for many miles along the Vale of Llangollen or relax on a horse drawn barge from the Llangollen Wharf or try steering your own hire boat across the aqueducts.

 

Close to the source of the canal, the original Llantysilio Chain Bridge was built by a businessman trying to avoid road tolls in Llangollen 200 years ago! Awaiting restoration, winter floods have damaged several bridges here.


Driving through the area will take you over the famous Horseshoe Pass and along Telford's historic Stagecoach Route from London to Holyhead (now the A5) … completed in 1839, the standardised buildings and milestones along the road are considered to be the forerunners of modern motorways!

Llangollen Motor Museum (open March to October) lets you reminisce about the delights of cars in days gone by.

A pleasant trip in the Welsh Marches takes you to the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway, where narrow gauge steam trains make their way up the valley beside Afon Banwy. The railway has a number of events during the year. Bala Lake Railway (Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid), another narrow gauge steam railway on the western side of the Berwyns, travels alongside Bala Lake for 4½ miles.

Back at Parc Grove take a walk to Penarth and Moel Fferna Slate Mines where you can investigate the mine buildings, admire views across the Dee Valley and imagine the hard lives of miners in by-gone days.         

Arts, Crafts and Culture

For a week every July the Llangollen International Eisteddfod attracts competitors from all over the world who take part in music and folk dancing competitions, performances by internationally renowned musicians, and a street parade including some of the 4,000 competitors. 

Later in July the Llangollen Fringe Festival includes a wide range of performing arts with many workshops to encourage audience participation…. poetry, plays, comedy, bands and choirs.

Throughout the year there are opportunities to attend concerts given by the world renowned Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir, based near the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Video Here

Ruthin Craft Centre hosts galleries, craft shops, artist studios, exhibitions and workshops all year round.

The Anvil Pottery works out of a 200 year old smithy.  The bud vases in our dining room are a commission from the pottery.

Keeping alive local crafts, basket making and coracle making demonstrations and courses can be found at J Johnson and Son near Bangor-on-Dee.

The Denbigh and Flint Show at the Denbigh Showground gives a taste of rural life … with vintage machines and cars alongside livestock showing and horse show jumping.

See Local Events for other rural shows held during the summer and autumn.


The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was celebrated by 2,000 people walking to the top of Moel Famau to see the 202 year old Jubilee Beacon lit once more … we were rewarded with musical entertainment and a beautiful sunset.

 

Throughout the year there are opportunities to attend concerts given by the world renowned Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir, based near the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Video Here

 
 

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