The valleys of Wrexham
Although the collieries and steelworks on which the town of Wrexham prospered are largely things of the past, this bustling town is still the largest in north Wales. The town desperately wants to be a city and has applied for the status three times since the turn of the millennium. A plan is afoot to establish a ‘city region’ encompassing Wrexham, Deeside and Chester.
Heading south, prepare to be gobsmacked when you reach Chirk, where Thomas Telford’s magnificent 10-arched aqueduct was built in 1801 to convey the canal more than 70 feet above the bottom of the valley. What’s more, alongside it is an even taller viaduct, built by Henry Robertson in 1840 to carry the railway. Both were used to carry coal from the once-thriving Flintshire coalfields.
The other main feature of Chirk is its 14th-century castle, which stands proudly overlooking the town and the Ceiriog Valley, an area described by Lloyd George as ‘a little bit of heaven on Earth’. Despite its stunning scenery and easy accessibility, the valley is something of a secret. It lies immediately south of the Vale of Llangollen, and has been dubbed ‘little Switzerland’ for its lush green hills, dotted with small farms.