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In the Beautiful Ceiriog Valley

Discover an earthly heaven in one of ancient Clwyd's truly green and pleasant valleys.

Distance 4.5 miles (7.2km)

Minimum time 2hrs 30min

Ascent/gradient 575ft (175m)

Level of difficulty Easy

Paths Sketchy paths and farm tracks, 3 stiles

Landscape Pastoral hillscapes and river scenery

Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 255 Llangollen & Berwyn

Start/finish SJ 157328

Dog friendliness Whole walk through sheep country, keep dogs on leads

Parking Roadside parking in village

Public toilets At village hall

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1 From the Hand Hotel, take the eastbound lane past the church and uphill with a conifer plantation on the right and the pastures of the Ceiriog below left.

2 At the far end of the plantation leave the road for a farm track on the left. This ends at a barn. Keep to the right of the barn and aim for a gate beyond it. Through the gate maintain your direction, over the shoulder of a grassy knoll, then aim for a stile in a fence ahead. Beyond this, the route bends left very slightly, before going over another step stile.

3 After crossing two streamlets, keep to the field edge and to the right of Ty'n-y-fedw farm. The track now enters the woods. Take the lower left fork, staying parallel to the river.

4 At the far end of the woods cross the field, keeping roughly parallel with the river, then aim for a gate at the top of the field. Through the gate, turn right to climb roughly south west along an enclosed farm road which crosses a country lane before continuing uphill through high pastures.

5 At a crossroads, turn right along a green track - part of the Upper Ceiriog Way. This heads south west towards the green hill known as Cefn Hir-fynydd

6 After about 300yds (274m) leave this track through a gate on the right. If you head west by the right edge of the rushy area and towards Pen y Glog's sparse crags, it will be easy to find the small stile in the next fence, then the wooden gate on the left soon afterwards. Through the gate descend past the rocks on the left. The sheep track then levels out through the bracken to pass beneath more rocks.

7 A solitary wooden marker post acts as a guide to the wide grassy track, which runs through the valley of Nant y Glog and along the low slopes of the hill, Pen y Glog.

8 After swinging right with the lively stream the track terminates by a lane to the south of Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog. Follow the lane past several attractive cottages and the village school to arrive by the Hand Hotel in the village square.

Lloyd George, the last Liberal Party Prime Minister of Britain, described the Ceiriog Valley as 'a piece of heaven that has fallen to earth'. For 18 miles (29km), from its source on the slopes of Mount Ferna in the Berwyns to its meeting with the Dee, the beautiful Afon Ceiriog meanders through oakwoods, rocky hillsides and fertile cattle pastures. Yet in 1923 city planners wanted to turn this little piece of heaven into a huge reservoir. If these planners had won the day, the locals living within an area of 13,600 acres (5,508ha) would have been evicted from their homes. Fortunately Parliament denied their whims.

While Glyn Ceiriog is the largest village, Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog is the most beautiful. Lying by the confluence of the Ceiriog and a tributary, the Gwrachen, it was a natural fording place for drovers bound for the markets of England. You'll be using some of their old roads on Walks 28 and 29. The village and its church take their name from the 5th-century missionary, St Garmon. The present church is early Victorian and, unusually, has two pulpits. A mound in the churchyard, known as Tomen Garmon, is believed to be a Bronze-Age burial mound and the place where the missionary preached.

The walk begins behind the church, and follows pretty pastures above the Ceiriog and woods full of bluebells before coming to the old Mill (Y Felin) at Tregeiriog. In the 19th century, author George Borrow revelled in the pastoral nature of this landscape. He spent hours standing on the bridge, watching pigs foraging by the riverbank while the old Mill's waterwheel slowly turned; a scene he said that 'was well-suited to the brushes of two or three of the old Dutch painters'.

From the old Mill the route climbs on one of those drovers' roads on to the small hills overlooking the valley. You can see many a mile of rolling green hills as a winding green track climbs towards some crags on the horizon. Here you enter a wilder world of rushy moorland with views down the valleys of Nant y Glog and the Gwrachen. After tramping through the bracken of the high hillside you join another green road which accompanies the Gwrachen. By now you may be following the footsteps of Owain Glyndwr, 15th-century Prince of Wales, who would have passed through Llanarmon when travelling between his residences at Sycharth and Glyndyfrdwy in the Dee Valley.

While you're there

The Ceiriog Memorial Institute in Glyn Ceiriog is a dedicated to the famous poet John 'Ceiriog' Hughes, the Robert Burns of Wales, and to other notable Welshmen. Founded in 1911, it exhibits a rare collection of local memorabilia. It is open daily between Easter and October, between 1pm and 6pm or by prior arrangement for group visits.

Where to eat and drink

The Hand Hotel, Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, is a free house that until the 1970s was just a farm licensed to serve beer. It's very popular and has a good 'country inn' atmosphere with oak-beamed ceilings and an open fireplace. They serve really tasty meals, ranging from the simple bar favourites to game dishes such as venison steaks.

What to look for

The pheasant, a colourful bird bred for game, has been increasing in numbers over the years, and is particularly numerous in the Ceiriog. When disturbed, they take off in rapid flight, flapping their wings frantically between long glides They will also complain bitterly about your intrusion, letting out a raucous cork cork cackling sound. The adult male is particularly impressive, with its long tail, dark green head with scarlet face patches and its speckled, reddish

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