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Best Walks in the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB

By Dave Roberts   

on June 16, 2018    No ratings yet.

Best Walks in the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB

The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB stretches from Prestatyn in the north to Llangollen in the south. It was originally just the Clwydian Range, which is now the northernmost section found between Prestatyn, Rhuthin Mold and Llandegla. It’s long and narrow and followed in it’s entirety by the Offa’s Dyke National Trail.  There are numerous small villages from which the walker can set off; including Dyserth, Llanarmon-yn-ial, Llanferres and Maeshafn. There’s also the country park at Loggerheads which is a popular base for exploring these hills. The highest point is Moel Famau, but there are other peaks in the Clwydian Range waiting to be explored such as Moel Arthur, Moel Fenlli and Moel Gyw.

Click on this link for a map of the Clwydian and Dee AONB – why the Ordnance Survey don’t include this information on their maps is beyond us – much more useful than an overkill of local trails.

The southern part of the AONB includes the Dee Valley which is surrounded by hills to all directions. To the north and east, there’s Llantysilio Mountain and the striking limestone escarpment of Eglwyseg mountain. To the south are the Berwyn hills, with some of the northernmost hills included in the AONB. It also includes the Chirk Castle and the Froncysyllte Aqueduct. The main towns for exploring this area are Corwen, Llangollen and Chirk.

Best Walks in the Clwydian Range

Moel Famau Direct Route

Height Gained – 300 metres ,  Distance – 6 km, Time –2 hours

This, by evidenced by the popularity of the walk on Mud and Routes, has to be our recommended route up Moel Famau. This is the highest point in the Clwydian Range, and used to be the highest for the entire AONB. That is now Moel Fferna in the newly added Northern Berwyn hills. Moel Famau is a popular little hill, especially on bank holidays,

Moel Arthur and Penycloddiau from Moel Arthur Car Park

Height Gained – 490 metres ,  Distance – 11.5 km, Time –4 hours

These hills are found to the north of Moel Famau and have the added interest of having hill forts on their summits. Sections of the walk are again along the Offa’s Dyke National Trail.

Foel Fenlli from Bwlch Pen Barras

Height Gained – 450 metres ,  Distance – 8 km, Time –2 hours

Foel Fenlli is yet another hill fort, this time directly to the south of Moel Famau. Foel Fenlli itself is only a very short walk, so the route includes Moel Famau for good measure.

Moel Famau Walk from Moel Famau Car Park

Moel Gyw from Llanarmon-yn-ial

Height Gained –370 metres ,  Distance – 8.8 km, Time –3 hours

The final summit on the Clwydian Range is Moel Gyw, which can be climbed from Llanarmon-yn-ial. It’s only 467m in height, but as a Marilyn is a prominent hill with extensive views. Again, the walk takes in sections on Offa’s Dyke National Trail.

Llanferres to Maeshafn Walk

Height Gained – 260 metres ,  Distance – 6.2 km, Time –2 hours

The area around Llanferres and Maeshafn used to be mining country, which is only now apparent in the few remains and in the names of places such as the Miner’s Arms pub.

Loggerheads to Cilcain – The Leete Path

Height Gained – 315 metres ,  Distance – 11 km, Time –3 hours

Loggerheads is now a popular country park, but at one point was a major centre for lead mining. During that time, the leat that the Leete Path follows was constructed in order to divert water that was disappearing into sinkholes during the drier months. It’s now a popular walk with the locals.

Dyserth to Cwm walk

Height Gained – 300 metres ,  Distance – 10 km, Time  3 hours

There’s always a waterfall walk, and the one for the Clwydian Range is in Dyserth at the north of the range. With views across Prestatyn and to the Irish Sea beyond, this is a walk with plenty of variety as well as a couple of country pubs.

Walk along Offa’s Dyke National Trail

Height Gained – 9000 metres ,  Distance – 285 km, Time –couple of weeks

The Offa’s Dyke National Trail stretches from Sedbury Cliffs in Monmouthshire to Prestatyn in North Wales and crosses the entire AONB from. Starting from the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Offa’s Dyke crosses Eglwyseg Mountain before heading across the  main spine of the Clwydian Hills and down to the sea at Prestatyn. Our full guide to Offa’s Dyke will follow soon!

Best Walks in the Dee Valley

Horseshoe Falls Walk

Height Gained – 30 metres ,  Distance – 1.3 km, Time –under an hour

Despite being built by Thomas Telford to feed the Llangollen Canal, the Horseshoe Falls are nevertheless popular with walkers and tourists alike. This walk starts from the Horseshoe Falls car park or from the nearby Llangollen Railway station at Berwyn.

Moel Tan y Coed (Velvet Hill) and the Horseshoe Falls

Height Gained – 270 metres ,  Distance – 5 km, Time –2 hours

Velvet Hill, or Moel Tan y Coed, isn’t marked on the OS Maps but that’s a glaring omission on their part. It’s a classic viewpoint over the Dee Valley and Llangollen and quite possibly one of the best short walks in North Wales.

Llangollen History Trail

Height Gained – 380 metres ,  Distance – 11 km, Time –4-5 hours

There’s plenty of history to be found around Llangollen, and this walk is perfect if you want to visit the best of them. It includes the Horseshoe Falls, Vale Crucis Abbey and Castell Dinas Bran. Allow a day for the walk if you also want to spend time at these fascinating locations.

Eglwyseg Mountain Walk from Trevor Rocks – Offa’s Dyke

Height Gained – 550 metres ,  Distance – 16 km, Time –5 hours

This is another walk along Offa’s Dyke along the limestone escarpment of Eglwyseg Mountain near Llangollen. The route follows part of the Llangollen Panorama Walk before heading along Eglwyseg Mountain as far as World’s End before following the Offa’s Dyke National Trail to the start.

Llangollen Canal Walk to Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Height Gained – 460 metres ,  Distance – 16 km, Time –5 hours

The Llangollen Canal is a popular walk, especially if it includes the world heritage site of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. The route also includes the Llangollen Panorama walk and sections along the Offa’s Dyke National Trail.

Chirk and River Ceiriog Circular Walk

Height Gained – 300 metres ,  Distance – 11 km, Time –3 hours

Nestling in the far south eastern corner of the AONB is Chirk Castle. This walk starts from Chirk and visits the eponymous castle and it’s grounds before returning along parts of Offa’s Dyke and the Afon Ceiriog.

The Llangollen Round

Height Gained – 2110 metres ,  Distance – 54 km, Time –13 hours plus – or a couple of days

This is a challenge walk along the Llangollen skyline, but could be completed over a number of days. It is held annually as a challenge walk in aid of Cancer Research.

It includes sections on Offa’s Dyke before crossing the summit of Cyrn-y-Brain, over Llantysilio Mountain, Moel y FaenMoel y Gamelin and Moel Morfydd before a respite along the Clwyidan Way to Carrog. It returns to Llangollen via sections of the North Berwyn Way and the hills of Moel Fferna and Vivod Mountain before finishing in Llangollen.

The Dee Valley Way

Height Gained – 680 metres ,  Distance – 21 km, Time –6-7 hours 

The Dee Valley Way takes in the best of the Dee Valley between Corwen and Llangollen. This includes Llantysilio Mountain, the Horeshoe Falls and the Llangollen Canal.

North Berwyn Way

Height Gained – 790 metres ,  Distance – 25 km, Time –8 hours+

The North Berwyn hills are a recent addition to this AONB, with the hills from Vivod Mountain to Moel Ffferna now part of this area. This is a route between Corwen and Llangollen taking in the best of these hills.

Liberty Hall Walk from Corwen

Height Gained – 450 metres ,  Distance – 13 km, Time –4 hours

Our final walk is another in the foothills of the Berwyn hills. This walk from Corwen is a straightforward walk to the former shooting lodge of Liberty Hall. There’s not much to see of this building any more, but the views that it was built to take advantage of remain.

Local Information and Recommended Maps and Guidebooks

Recommended Maps


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Dave Roberts

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