is located in the north of Wales between the counties of Conwy
to the west, Flintshire to the east, the county borough of Wrexham to
the south and the Irish Sea to the north.
The northern coastline is the location for the traditional seaside holiday
resorts of Rhyl and Prestatyn,
both set on a low flat plain that lies between the Clwydian range of mountains
and the Irish sea. The terms "Sunny Rhyl" and "Sunny Prestatyn"
are not merely advertising slogans as the topography of the area actually
causes the high temperatures and above average hours of sunshine for these
and other north Wales coastal towns. The phenomenon known as the föhn
effect is cause for the high temperatures, and the distance from the mountain
ranges of Clwyd and Snowdonia contribute to the higher than average hours
Both towns have miles of golden sand and all the usual seaside pleasures
and attractions, including the Sun Centre at Rhyl. In addition, for those
who would like a fishing holiday, boats are available for hire or charter
from the harbour in Rhyl for anglers wishing to fish for sea bass in the
Heading inland from the coast the county consists for a large part of
the catchment area of the River Clwyd, the beautiful Vale of Clwyd, fertile
agricultural land bounded on the one side by the high moorlands known
as the Denbigh Moors and on the other by the Clwydian Range of mountains.
The Clwydian mountains are becoming ever more popular as a destination
for activity holidays with, among others, ramblers and mountain
bike riders. Indeed the moorlands on the boundaries with Conwy County
to the west have also become home to mountain bike trails around Llyn
Brenig (Lake Brenig).
Within the Vale of Clwyd itself are the historic market towns of Rhuddlan,
St Asaph, Denbigh, and Ruthin
with the towns of Corwen and Llangollen
in the Dee Valley to the far south of the county.
a small town with an old church, St
Mary's, and a big Castle.
Castle was one of the 'iron ring' of fortresses built across north
Wales by the English king, Edward I, as part of his campaign to conquer
the Welsh in the late 13th century. It remains as a monument to the
inability of the English, or should I say the Anglo-Normans to conquer
this part of the British Isles. (The Welsh rebellions continued into
the C15th). The massive twin-towered Gatehouse immediately catches
the eye, and a protected river dock forms one side of the defences
of this concentrically planned castle. But the Castle was to be supplied
with provisions by ship and yet it is 3 miles from the open sea. No
problem in the C13th ................1800 ditchers were drafted in
from the Fenlands of England and the River Clwyd was straightened and
deepened, and more or less turned into a canal for the 3 mile run to
the sea at Rhyl.
Venturing a few miles further south we come to the town of St Asaph
on the banks of the River Elwy, but again close to the River Clwyd. Indeed
the two rivers converge just a few miles after passing St Asaph. The town
is renowned for the Cathedral from which it gets it's name St
Asaph Cathedral. The historic Cathedral - one of the oldest Celtic
shrines in Britain was founded in the 6th century by Saint Kentigern.
He built his Church here in AD560 and when he returned to Strathclyde
in AD573 he left Asaph as his successor. Since that time the Cathedral
has been dedicated to Saint Asaph and the Diocese bears his name. The
church has had a troubled history and the present building was begun in
the thirteenth century. It is reputed to be the smallest ancient cathedral
in Great Britain - just 182 ft long and 68ft wide - but its contribution
to the Welsh nation has been outstanding with it being home in the C16th
to Bishop William Morgan who translated the Bible into Welsh. The town
itself is a convenient centre to visit the Vale of Clwyd , the Clwydian
range of mountains and the moorlands and lakes in the surrounding countryside.
There are beautiful riverside walks and, away from the bustling centre,
the peace and tranquility of the surrounding countryside.
From St Asaph we travel 5 miles south to the town of Denbigh via
the A525. The town of Denbigh, and indeed the history of Denbigh, are
dominated by the remains of it's hill-top Castle and town walls. Although
incomplete and in a ruinous state in many parts they are still an impressive
site and remain a monument to the tenacity of the Welsh in their battles
against the Anglo Norman invaders. They are well worth the walk up the
town hill and once there you will enjoy impressive views of the fertile
Vale of Clwyd and the rolling hills of the Clwydian range of mountains.
The Welsh rebellions of the late C13th, led by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, although
ultimately unsuccessful made the English King Edward 1 determined not
to have to fight again for the same land, and he set about extending his
already impressive iron ring of fortifications in Wales.
The lordship and castle at Denbigh were granted to Henry de Lacy, Earl
of Lincoln, one of King Edward's successful commanders. De Lacy began
to construct the present Castle and walled town in 1282 but was unable
to complete the works before the first Welsh incursion during the 1294
uprising led by Madog ap Llewelyn. After this uprising was put down de
Lacy continued with the construction making the Castle even stronger than
before, building the still impressive gatehouse, the great hall, living
quarters, and massive towers. The Castle endured attacks throughout its
history including the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War. In
1646 it took Cromwell's men several months to force Denbigh's garrison
to surrender, the Castle's inhabitants eventually succumbing to the Parliamentary
troops. Although time and battle have taken their toll on the Castle and
Town Walls there is still much to view and it is well worth a visit while
taking a holiday in Denbighshire.
Leaving Denbigh we head to Ruthin,
again on the A525. It is but 8 miles to Ruthin but take a short detour
after 3 miles to the small village of Llanrhaeadr located in a
by-passed road with an ancient Church and Holy Well from a by-passed time.
The church of St Dyfnog in Llanrhaeadr
is named after the C6th Saint Dyfnog, who established his church here
because of the Holy Well of Llanrhaeadr .... the water was believed to
have great healing properties. It is a beautiful little church in a peaceful
setting and well worth the 2 minute detour. On entry to the church the
famous C16th Jesse window is highlited against the general darkness of
the church interior...More > The Holy
Well is situated behind the graveyard at St. Dyfnog's, a short walk through
the woods leads you to a quiet, wooded dell. The water springs from the
hillside in several places and collects in a large spar like pool with
steps down into the water for the faithfull.
We then follow the long and winding road a further 5 miles until we arrive
at the ancient market town of Ruthin,
rich in history, it was burnt to the ground in the Owain Glyndwr rebellion
of 1400 and to this day there is still displayed the gibbet of the last
man to be hanged in the town square, and then down the hill to the Victorian
Gaol and the pitiful cells used by the inmates on their last night on
this earth. An easy town to navigate as it is said that where ever you
park you can find the town square by walking up the Hill. Best to follow
the signs to the Ruthin Craft Centre and Car Park, exit the Car Park and
walk uphill to St Peter's Square, the town square. The town is surrounded
on all sides by rolling countryside, and its closeness to the Clwyd Hills
make it an ideal base for ramblers and mountain bike enthusiasts. Indeed
the County Council have mapped out several mountain
bike trails in the Clwyd Range and to the West around Llyn
Brenig. More >
Over the hills and not too far away and we come to the Valley of the
River Dee and the towns of Llangollen
and Corwen with their many attractions for a holiday break in Denbighshire.
Llangollen is world renowned as the home of the International Musical
Eisteddfod. It is an inland tourist resort and historic town which has
much to offer including the Llangollen Canal, and the Llangollen
Steam Railway, and is ideal as a short break holiday or for a longer
stay. More >