For our 2016 Twixmas Winter Walking Holiday which we organise between Christmas and the New Year (27-30 December) we headed for Llangollen, North Wales. It’s a region we know very well, having organised guided walking holidays and walking weekends here since 2002, so we know what great walks there are for people to enjoy.
All the guests who’d booked on the Twixmas walking holiday arrived at the hotel accommodation in good time to settle in and appreciate the tranquil location of the hotel which sits on the side of the River Dee, just a 15 minute walk from the centre of Llangollen, and during the welcome evening have the opportunity to meet everyone on the holiday.
The weather for the following 3-days of guided walks was forecast to be mixed, but waking up the next day to crisp, clear blue skies was a real treat, and the weather for each of the walks was perfect, allowing for some great winter walking.
On the first of the 3 days of guided walks, an 8-mile linear walk, the Country Adventures minibus transported the group from the hotel, to the top of the well-known Horseshoe Pass, to start the walk along the Llantysilio mountain range. A fabulous walk along a good footpath, with a series of summits to reach in close succession (guide speak for a few descents and ascents!) and if the weather is like it was for us, clear 360 degree panoramic views of stunning scenery including the Snowdonia mountain range in the distance.
We really couldn’t have asked for better weather, snappy to begin with as you’d expect at Winter time but then warmed up perfectly as we crossed the elevated trail which included the summits of Moel y Faen (548m), Moel y Gamelin (577m), the ancient hill fort of Moel y Gaer (504m) and Moel Morfydd (549m).
From the heights of the Llantysilio Mountains and the top of Moel Morfydd, the group descended a scenic trail to make our return to Llangollen. With most of the days ascent accomplished there was still much scenery to enjoy as we headed into the valley and many interesting landmarks to see, such as Llantysilio Hall and the famous Horseshoe Waterfalls on the Llangollen canal.
In the evening once everyone had time to relax after a great days walk, we went out into the centre of Llangollen for evening dinner at The Corn Mill, which always offers tasty food in good settings and rounds off the day perfectly.
The next day’s 8-mile guided walk was a further opportunity to explore more of the regions famous landmarks featuring Llangollen Canal and the famous Pontyscllte Aqueduct, or ‘Stream In the Sky’ as it is also known. A grand feat of engineering, the aqueduct completed in 1805 is the longest and highest aqueduct in Great Britain, a Grade I Listed Building and a World Heritage Site.
No matter how many times the Country Adventures guides lead our customers on this walk, it’s always rewarding, there’s so much to see and enjoy, in stunning countryside. After leaving the landmarks of Llangollen Canal and the Aqueduct, our walking route for the day, ventured onto a section of the Offa’s Dyke long distance footpath, through woodland and then onto the wide open views under Trevor Rocks overlooking the Vale of Llangollen.
Along this section of the Offa’s Dyke trail overlooking the Vale of Llangollen, walkers are treated to an opportunity to explore the limestone landscape that adds to the varied landscape surrounding Llangollen, and at Country Adventures we always like to take people on some less obvious tracks to experience some hidden gems.
The day’s guided walk finally reached the foothill of Castell Dinas Bran, home of an iron age fort and more recently the medieval castle ruins that sit prominently overlooking Llangollen. A short zig zag ascent to the top of Castell Dinas Bran reveals the old castle ruins and an excellent viewpoint to take in the surrounding landscape.
To round off a memorable Twixmas winter walking holiday in Llangollen, complete with good accommodation, social evenings and 3 days of winter walking, we spent our last day walking a scenic route taking in Llangollen Canal and the historic market town of Llangollen. It was good to see the refurbished Chain Bridge re-opened to the public, which we crossed over the River Dee from the Llangollen Canal towpath and we were also treated to the Steam Engines in operation along the Llangollen railway line, which allowed some of our group to hop on the train for short ride along this impressive heritage railway.
Thank you to everyone on the walking holiday for making it a memorable Twixmas trip.
Read customer tour reviews of the Twixmas walking holiday.
Photo album from the Twixmas walking holiday.